Erb’s palsy claims

When considering making a claim for Erb’s Palsy compensation – or Obstetric Brachial Plexus Palsy – it is important you seek advice from a specialist medical negligence solicitor with experience of these complex claims.

Making an Erb’s palsy claim for compensation

There are a number of ways in which a doctor, midwife, nurse or other medical staff supervising or assisting your child’s birth may be negligent and be deemed to have caused your child to suffer Erb’s palsy.

Commonly, circumstances leading to shoulder dystocia and Erb’s palsy include:

  • Medical staff not recommending or performing a caesarean section, despite them being aware of likely birthing problems that might make this advisable.
  • Medical staff have failed to identify that there is an increased risk of Erb’s palsy resulting from the fact the mother has previously delivered a child where shoulder dystocia occurred. It may be that a midwife has not communicated to doctors important information which the mother has previously shared about her previous birthing experiences or medical history. This may be linked to a midwife negligence claim.
  • Occasions where medical staff use excessive force when attempting to undertake an assisted delivery of a child who becomes lodged in the birth canal. This may be linked to a forceps delivery claim if forceps are used.
  • Where the baby is expected to be large, yet medical staff fail to make adequate provision for the subsequent increased demands on the mother and child.
  • Where shoulder dystocia has been mismanaged. This may potentially involve flawed attempts to re- position the child.
  • Where negligence occurs during surgeries to correct weaknesses in the child’s arm. This may be linked to a surgical error claim.
  • Delayed diagnosis of Erb’s palsy causing delays in treatment which reduce the effectiveness of this treatment

Not all instances of Erb’s palsy will be due to medical negligence and warrant medical negligence compensation. This will only be so where the medical care provided by those professionals advising on and assisting in the delivery of your child have acted negligently in delivering care to you and your child.

Only a specialist medical negligence solicitor, such as those at Blackwater Law, with experience in representing parents in claiming Erb’s palsy compensation, will be able to advise you on whether you may be able to make a no win, no fee medical negligence claim.

Get expert legal advice

Call and get expert advice from Dominic Graham, specialist medical negligence solicitor. Find out if you can claim compensation.

CALL 0800 083 5500

Specialist Erb’s palsy claim solicitors

Blackwater Law are recognised as having a leading team of clinical negligence lawyers. The team at Blackwater Law are experienced in representing clients in a wide range of cases relating to birth injuries sustained by mothers and babies. Such is the team’s reputation in the field of medical negligence law, that they advise and represent clients across the country.

Blackwater Law medical negligence solicitors provide legal advice and representation on a no win, no fee basis in relation to all Erb’s palsy cases

To ensure your case for Erb’s palsy compensation is as strong as possible, Blackwater Law obtain expert medical opinion from medical specialists. Blackwater Law has a panel of medical experts across the county, able to provide opinion and medical evidence in support of your claim for compensation. These specialists will comment on the prognosis of your child’s Erb’s palsy, its severity and the likely extent of any recovery. This evidence is then used to support your Erb’s palsy compensation claim and secure you the maximum amount of compensation.

In the most serious cases of Erb’s palsy, where there will be only a partial recovery or none at all, your child may require on-gong professional care throughout their life. It may also be that their earning potential is limited due to their disability. These can be factored into your claim for Erb’s palsy compensation to provide financial security and peace of mind that your child will always receive the professional care they need.

  • Expert medical negligence solicitors
  • No win, no fee
  • Independently recognised specialists

No win, no fee Erb’s palsy claims

Understandably, when many parents first contact us to find out whether they may be entitled to compensation they are worried about legal costs that may be involved in making a claim. We are pleased to tell them that Blackwater Law medical negligence solicitors provide services on a no win, no fee basis.

No win, no fee means exactly that, if your case is unsuccessful, you do not pay us anything.

We hope that this is clear but we are of course happy to answer any questions you may have about this or anything else relating to your potential Erb’s palsy claim

Time limits on making an Erb’s palsy claim

Time limits do apply when making a medical negligence claim relating to Erb’s palsy. In cases of clinical negligence involving children however, time limits are more complex. It is therefore important that you contact a medical negligence solicitor as early as possible so that you can get free initial advice on whether you may be able to make a no win, no fee claim and how long you have left to do this.

What is Erb’s palsy?

Erb’s palsy occurs when a baby sustains serious nerve damage during birth. When the baby’s shoulders become stuck following the emergence of their head, improper application of force by medical staff can result in bruising, tearing or twisting of the brachial plexus. This network of 5 key nerves connects the neck to the arms and is responsible for facilitating movement and feeling therein. When any of the nerves within it are damaged, signals travelling to and from the brain are impaired, resulting in impairment or loss of movement and feeling.

Erb’s palsy risk factors

The risk of the baby suffering from Erb’s palsy are significantly increased if the child develops shoulder dystocia during labour. This is where the anterior shoulder of the baby cannot pass below the mother’s pubic symphysis, or requires significant assistance from a doctor or midwife to do so.

Other risk factors linked to Erb’s palsy include:

  • Where babies are considered large, or large for the mother.
  • Delivery assisted by medical staff using forceps.
  • Where the mother has previously given birth to a child that has suffered shoulder dystocia.

The severity of your child’s Erb’s palsy will be one factor in calculating the potential amount of compensation

Treatment of and recovery from Erb’s palsy

The extent to which a child recovers from Erb’s palsy depends on just how badly damaged their nerves are. Nerves that have incurred serious damage but remain connected can recover over time, assisted by treatment or surgery. That being said, scar tissue can develop at the site of injury, which in turn can further impede the delivery of electrical signals between the muscle and the brain and impair muscle movement. Where a nerve connection has been severed entirely (known as an avulsion), recovery is not possible and paralysis occurs in the muscle(s) it supplies.

Where a child is suspected to be suffering from Erb’s palsy, their arm-movement will be monitored over a period of time by a physiotherapist. If reduced movement capacity and range is observed, you should subsequently be briefed by medical staff on how to handle your baby, and given literature on various arm exercises aimed at strengthening their arm – it is highly important you do not initiate exercises until instructed by a physiotherapist.

Where your child’s physiotherapist feels that after an examination period adequate progress has not been achieved, he or she may refer you to a specialist centre for consultation on surgery. Roughly one in ten sufferers of Erb’s palsy stand to benefit from interventional surgery to aid the affected nerves’ recovery. Even where this surgery can be considered a success however, some weakness is likely to remain in the affected arm.

In cases where a full recovery is eventually made, a claim for Erb’s palsy compensation may still be possible where medical negligence has occurred. This can provide compensation for pain and suffering endured by the child, as well as potentially any lost earnings suffered by parents that have had to provide care or attend appointments.

Babies who do make a full recovery will subsequently be discharged by their medical professionals. Those who do not may be assigned an Occupational Therapist and remain under the supervision of a physiotherapist.

Early diagnosis of Erb’s palsy is critical as the earlier appropriate treatment (exercises) can begin, the more successful the recovery is likely to be.

In the most serious Erb’s palsy cases

Although rare, in the most serious of Erb’s palsy cases the child may suffer partial or total paralysis in the arm that they will have to live with for the rest of their life.

As your child grows into adulthood, they may face additional psychological and financial difficulties as a result of their condition. An experienced medical negligence solicitor will be aware of these associated conditions and will include consideration of these future factors within your Erb’s palsy claim. This ensures you and your child receive the maximum amount of compensation to assist you in future life.

Blackwater Law can help secure the financial compensation and support you and your child need, for now and in the future

Does My Child Have Erb’s palsy?

A paediatrician or midwife will usually assess your child after birth. Where abnormalities in arm function are observed, X-rays will likely be conducted and your child may subsequently be referred for a physiotherapy assessment – this should occur within 10 working days of referral.

There are a number of signs you can look for to determine if your child is suffering from Erb’s palsy:

  • They are unable to bend their elbow, or their hand is stuck in a “waiter’s tip” position; permanently fixed at a backward angle.
  • The affected arm may be limp.
  • Weakness, limpness or total paralysis of the hand.
  • Your child may exhibit symptoms of an associated condition known as Horner’s syndrome; where an eyelid may droop and the pupil on the child’s weaker side is slightly reduced in size.
  • Another associated condition known as Torticollis may occur, where the baby faces away from a weakened arm and struggles to remain facing forward for any significant period of time.
  • Your child has a reduced ability to grip with the hand of the affected arm.
Get expert legal advice

Call and get advice from Dominic Graham, medical negligence solicitor. Find out if you can claim compensation.

CALL 0800 083 5500

Blackwater Law successfully represented the family of baby Blake in making a midwife negligence claim after the community midwife failed to notice a severe medical abnormality.


 

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