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When considering making a claim for Erb’s Palsy – or Obstetric Brachial Plexus Palsy – compensation, it is important that you seek advice from a specialist medical negligence solicitor with experience of these complex claims.
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:
Not all instances of Erb’s Palsy will be due to medical negligence and warrant Erb’s Palsy compensation. Compensation is only viable when the medical professionals advising and assisting in the delivery of your child have acted negligently when delivering care to you and your child.
Only a specialist medical negligence solicitor with experience in representing parents in claiming Erb’s Palsy compensation – such as those at Blackwater Law – will be able to advise you on whether or not you can make a no win, no fee Erb’s Palsy claim.
Blackwater Law are recognised as having a leading team of Erb’s Palsy lawyers. The team at Blackwater Law are experienced in representing clients in a wide range of cases relating to birth injuries sustained by both mothers and babies. Such is the team’s reputation in the field of medical negligence law, they advise and represent a large number of 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 claims
To ensure your claim 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 who are able to provide opinion and medical evidence in support of your claim for Erb’s Palsy compensation.
These specialists will comment on the prognosis of your child’s Erb’s Palsy, its severity and the likelihood 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 ongoing professional care throughout their life. It may also be that their earning potential is limited due to their disability. These circumstances can be factored into your claim for Erb’s Palsy compensation in order to provide financial security and the peace of mind that your child will always receive the professional care that they need.
Understandably, when many parents first contact us to find out whether they may be entitled to compensation, they are worried about the legal costs that may be involved in making an Erb’s Palsy 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 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.
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.
The risk of the baby suffering from Erb’s Palsy is 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:
The severity of your child’s Erb’s Palsy will be one factor in calculating the potential amount of compensation
The extent to which a child recovers from Erb’s Palsy depends on just how badly damaged their nerves are. Nerves that have suffered serious damage, but remain connected, can recover over time – assisted by Erb’s Palsy treatment or surgery. That being said, scar tissue can develop at the site of injury, which could further impede the delivery of electrical signals between the muscle and the brain, and therefore 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, as well as provided literature on various arm exercises aimed at strengthening their arm. It is vital that you do not initiate exercises until instructed sufficiently by a physiotherapist.
In cases where your child’s physiotherapist feels that adequate progress has not been achieved after an examination period, they 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 when surgery is considered to be a success, 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 hospital 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 – the earlier that appropriate treatment (exercises) can begin, the more successful the recovery is likely to be.
Although rare, in the most serious cases of Erb’s Palsy, the child may suffer partial or total paralysis in their arm – which 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 compensation claim.
This ensures you and your child receive the maximum amount of compensation to assist you with your future lives.
Blackwater Law can help secure the financial compensation and support you and your child need, for now and in the future
A paediatrician or midwife will usually assess your child post 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:
It seemed like we were the only case that Jason was working on, and that can’t be true, but that’s how he made us feel.
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.