Erb’s Palsy Disorder Claims *
Erb’s palsy is an injury that occurs when the nerves in a baby’s upper arm are damaged during birth. Erb’s palsy is a form of obstetric brachial plexus disorder; the nerves in the brachial plexus give movement and feeling to the baby’s arm, hand and fingers. Erb’s palsy can happen when a nerve is stretched unnaturally as the head and shoulders pass through the birth canal. As it affects the spinal cord’s ability to send messages to the arm, the infant usually can’t move the affected shoulder or arm.
The most common types of Nerve Injuries:
Compression or stretch injury causing temporary disruption of nerve conduction, yet the complete nerve stays intact. This injury will usually heal on its own.
The nerve is damaged but partially remains intact.
There is a complete nerve transection, surgical repair is probable.
The nerve is itself is torn. A rupture injury will not heal on its own.
Avulsions are the most severe types of nerve injuries. The nerve has completely torn away from the spinal cord. The affected nerve can’t be reattached to the spinal cord.
Causes of Erb’s Palsy:
Erb’s palsy often occurs during a difficult labour. The brachial plexus nerves are stretched when the baby is passing through the birth canal due to the baby’s head being turned in one direction while their arm is being pulled in the opposite direction.
If the baby comes out face-first, the shoulder may be excessively pulled during birth. This happens when the baby is larger than the birth canal.
Erb’s palsy may also occur if the baby is breech. This is caused when the baby’s arms need to be pulled backward over their head so he or she can fit through the birth canal. In some cases, the baby’s shoulder may be dislocated, while the excessive stretching causes a nerve injury * to the brachial plexus.
Even though most erb’s palsy injuries * occur during birth, it should be noted that erb’s palsy can also occur as a result of major trauma such as a physical knock or pressure to the neck during the baby’s first few months of life.
Erb’s Palsy Symptoms:
Erb’s palsy can be identified if the baby shows weakness or cannot move the affected arm.
There are a number of symptoms that parents can look for after their baby is born:
- The infant struggles to move their arm or has pain when moving.
- The infant keep their arm against their body with a bend at the elbow.
- The baby struggles to grip objects with their hand on the affected side.
- Impaired circulatory, muscular and nervous development.
- Arm numbness.
- Partial or full paralysis of the arm.
The settling process varies as each individual case will be unique, meaning that there is no quick and simple answer to this question.
The following may be taken into account when assessing each case:
- Impact the injury has on the quality of life of the child.
- Future earnings lost as a result of the injury.
- Medical cost for treatment of the injury.
- Future medical costs, if long-term treatment is needed.
- Out of pocket expenses, such as travel costs.
- Psychological injuries.
Making a Claim
1. Speak with a Solicitor
If you feel that you were not provided with appropriate medical treatment throughout the pregnancy or the birth of your child which resulted in injury due to the actions or in-actions of a medical professional. Speaking with a medical negligence solicitor * following the injury is imperative. Medical negligence is a complex topic in Irish law. Speak to a medical negligence solicitor when bringing a claim forward. This ensures that no essential steps are missed throughout the legal process. Bringing a claim forward without having spoken to a solicitor can delay your claims procedure. A solicitor can help to determine your birth injury time limit claim.
2. Medical Records
In order to make a claim *, it must be established and proven that the injury sustained was caused by the medical negligence * of the doctor tasked with your pregnancy, delivery and/or aftercare. Therefore, after having spoken with you about your case, your solicitor will then request access to your medical records.
At this stage, the solicitor will have your medical records assessed by an independent medical expert. This will help determine whether the doctor who performed the procedure had, in fact, administered substandard medical care and if negligence * was the cause of the injury and if your injuries/outcome could have been avoided if the appropriate level of medical care had been adhered to.
3. Letter of Claim
If the independent medical expert has concluded that medical negligence has occurred then your solicitor will draft a Letter of Claim to the medical practitioner who treated you / delivered your baby. A Letter of Claim will outline the nature of your case and invites the medical practitioner to settle your case.
The next steps involved are heavily dependent on your case and response to your Letter of Claim and will determine whether your case will be brought to court or settled outside of court. Your solicitor will be on hand every step of the way to guide you through this process.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR CASE
At Tracey Solicitors, our dedicated birth injury solicitors * have years of experience in helping parents deal with birth injury claims. We understand the injuries (physically and emotionally) that you have sustained and have supported and helped many people in similar situations proceed with medical negligence claims * in Ireland over the past 30 years. For a confidential discussion, call us on 01 649 9900 and tell us about your case or reach out via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.