Birth Injury

Erb’s Palsy

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Erb’s palsy is most often caused during birth. Applying too much force to the baby’s head while trying to pull out a baby stuck in the birth canal can damage the nerves of the brachial plexus, and this may occur if the baby is too large to fit through the birth canal.

The medical name for the baby’s shoulder getting stuck in the birth canal is ‘shoulder dystocia’,  an obstetric complication that occurs in thousands of deliveries each year in the UK. It has the potential for causing significant, lifelong injury to babies, leaving them with a potentially serious disability. Our specialist team have helped many families to claim for compensation which can fund specialized adaptations to your home. Call us now to find out if they can help you too.

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CHRISSIE'S MUM WAS ADMITTED TO HOSPITAL FOR AN INDUCTION OF LABOUR BUT HER BIRTH WAS NOT MANAGED APPROPRIATELY.

Chrissie’s Story

Chrissie suffered an Erb’s Palsy when her birth was not managed appropriately. Chrissie’s mum was admitted to hospital for an induction of labour. Unfortunately, during the delivery there was an undiagnosed shoulder dystocia (where, in effect, Chrissie’s shoulder became stuck in the birth canal). To compound matters, when the shoulder dystocia was eventually identified the midwife managing the labour did not undertake the appropriate techniques to free the shoulder. As a consequence, Chrissie suffered a severe injury (a brachial plexus palsy), as well as a fracture to her right clavicle.

Chrissie’s Injury

As a result of the brachial plexus injury, Chrissie required extensive surgery. Whilst improving function, unfortunately she was left with permanent disability. She has very little use of her left arm which impacts on all aspects of her daily living and her employment prospects in the future.

The hospital admitted liability and Chrissie was awarded damages of £400,000.

Brachial Plexus Injuries

Erb’s palsy is a form of brachial plexus palsy. It is named after one of the doctors who first described this condition, Wilhelm Erb.

The brachial plexus is made up of five large nerves which come out of the spinal cord between the bones in the neck (the vertebrae). These nerves give movement and feeling to the arm. We represent these nerves with the symbols C5, C6, C7, C8 and T1. Shortly after coming out of the neck, the nerves come together and then divide among the muscles and tissues of the arm. The brachial plexus runs from the neck and passes under the collarbone to become the major nerves of the arm, at about the level of the armpit. If someone damages these nerves, it can lead to serious injuries.

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Suggested Treatment

One or two of every 1,000 babies have Erb’s Palsy. Most infants with brachial plexus birth palsy will recover both movement and feeling in the affected arm. Sadly, about 20% of the time, the injury is so severe that paralysis of the arm and shoulder is permanent. If there is no sign of recovery or improvement, you should seek the advice of a specialist, who may suggest surgery to repair the nerves of the brachial plexus.

Find out more about Erb's palsy compensation today

The effects of Erb’s palsy can be devastating, and if you or your child have been affected by this condition, an experienced lawyer may be able to help you obtain compensation.

Call us today for a free initial discussion of your Erb’s palsy claim.

0800 044 8488