What is Erb’s Palsy?
Erb’s palsy is an injury to the brachial plexus, a network of nerves that connect the arm and neck to the spine. A brachial plexus injury results in weakness or loss of movement of the arm. Erb’s palsy develops as a result of a birth injury and is often tied to medical negligence.
The U.S. Library of Medicine lists three main ways a difficult delivery can result in Erb’s palsy. In some cases, the baby’s head and neck have pulled to one side during the trip down the birth canal. It can also occur due to pressure on the arms during a feet-first delivery. In others, it results when a doctor pulls on the baby’s shoulders during a head-first delivery. These kind of birth injuries are less common due to improved delivery techniques and the use of cesarean sections. Most modern cases of brachial plexus injury can be linked to medical malpractice.
While most babies will fully recover in about 6 months, some have more severe cases. The baby may have to undergo surgery to repair the damage. If the nerve roots are separated from the spinal cord, recovery becomes difficult and it is likely that the child will face permanent paralysis as a result of the birth injury.