What is Erb’s Palsy?

Birth injuries, although rare do occur and vary in their severity. Here, medical negligence solicitors Blackwater Law discuss Erb’s Palsy.

What is Erb’s Palsy?

Erb’s Palsy or Obstetric Brachial Plexus Palsy occurs when the nerves in a baby’s arm are damaged. It is thought to affect up to 2 babies in every 1,000 born.

Erb’s Palsy often occurs due to shoulder dystocia during birth and can have a long lasting impact on the affected child.

Nerves in the brachial plexus provide movement to the arm, hand and fingers, so an injury to this area often results in the child being unable to move the affected shoulder or upper arm.

The extent of the injury can vary but usually affects the spinal cord’s ability to send messages to the fingers, hand, wrist or even the entire arm.

What causes Erb’s Palsy?

Erb’s Palsy generally occurs as a result of a difficult labour but certain risk factors include:

  • Large size of baby/high birth weight
  • The use of forceps or ventouse during the delivery
  • Extended labour in the later stages
  • If the baby is in the breech position

In instances where it can be proven that Erb’s Palsy has directly resulted from negligence on the part of the midwife or hospital it may be appropriate to pursue a Erb’s palsy claim as part of a wider birth injury to baby claim.

Can Erb’s Palsy be treated?

If your child has Erb’s Palsy it is important to seek medical advice as early as possible. In some instances it may be recommended for surgery, although this is thought to have a higher success rate if the surgery is completed when the child is younger than six months old – typically conducted between 3-6months of age.

Other non-surgical treatment may include physical therapy including exercises to help develop more strength and flexibility in the affected arm.

Get expert advice

Call today and speak to Dominic Graham, specialist medical negligence solicitor. Find out if you can claim compensation.

CALL 0800 083 5500