Newborn babies are highly susceptible to injuries during childbirth procedures, and one of the most common types of birth injuries seen in the United States is nerve damage, particularly to the brachial plexus nerves in the neck, shoulders, and arms. A baby’s shoulders are the widest part of the body that must clear the mother’s birth canal, and an attending doctor must reposition the baby as necessary to clear the birth canal safely. When doctors use excessive force or fail to recognize the need for a cesarean section procedure in time, the baby may suffer damage to the brachial plexus nerves resulting in a condition called Erb’s palsy.
If your child was diagnosed with Erb’s Palsy as a result of medical negligence, the attorneys at Clifford Law Offices can help. Our firm has helped past clients recover millions in compensation for their birth injury claims and other civil actions, and we can put our resources and experience to work in your Erb’s Palsy case. We can help Chicago residents understand their options for legal recourse following a negligent birth injury that causes permanent damage to a child.
Erb’s Palsy Issues
Only about one or two babies out of every 1,000 births in the United States develop Erb’s Palsy from birth injuries. These injuries most often occur when an infant’s neck is twisted or stretched to one side during a difficult delivery procedure. Luckily, infants are very resilient and likely to recover from soft tissue injuries and even moderate nerve damage with daily physical therapy and other treatments. However, a child with Erb’s Palsy may be unable to use one of his or her arms with a full range of motion. The child may also experience developmental delays in the affected area.
Some infants who sustain severe brachial plexus injuries may require surgery for nerve grafting procedures. Others may only require a few months of physical therapy. The outlook for these injuries typically hinges on the severity of an injury. Mild cases of Erb’s Palsy may improve after just a few months of physical therapy. Severe cases may cause permanent damage including loss of function in the affected arm, involuntary muscle spasms, and psychological distress later in life from the resulting disability.
Pursuing a Lawsuit for Erb’s Palsy
When a baby develops Erb’s Palsy due to the negligence of an attending doctor or another medical professional during childbirth, the baby’s parents may have grounds for a medical malpractice claim against the responsible party. A medical malpractice lawsuit functions similarly to a personal injury claim, with some notable exceptions. First, the plaintiff must be able to prove that an official doctor-patient relationship existed between the plaintiff and the defendant. Next, the plaintiff must show how the defendant failed to meet the acceptable standard of care for the situation.
Standard of care refers to the acceptable level of treatment a patient should receive for a particular condition. During childbirth, attending doctors must account for the baby’s and mothers’ vital signs, preexisting conditions, and structural issues that could potentially impact the childbirth procedure. If another reasonable, similarly skilled doctor in the same situation would have acted differently, it is likely the defendant violated the standard of care.
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Plaintiffs in a medical malpractice lawsuit for Erb’s Palsy may be able to secure compensation for the medical expenses related to treating the condition as well as other damages for the long-term effects of Erb’s Palsy, including physical disability and psychological suffering. The attorneys at Clifford Law Offices in Chicago understand how devastating birth injuries can be for new parents, and we can help you understand your options for legal recourse. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.