Erb’s palsy and cerebral palsy can result in a medical malpractice lawsuit if it is believed that the condition was caused by medical negligence during birth. This can include improper use of delivery instruments, failure to monitor the infant’s vital signs during delivery, or delayed response to signs of fetal distress. The birth injury lawsuit may claim that if proper medical procedures had been followed, the infant’s condition could have been prevented. The outcome of such a lawsuit will depend on the specific circumstances of the case and the evidence presented.
What is Erb’s Palsy?
Erb’s palsy is a type of brachial plexus injury that affects the movement and feeling in the arm. It is usually caused by damage to the nerves in the neck during birth, typically from an awkward position of the infant’s head or shoulder during delivery. Symptoms can include weakness or complete paralysis of the arm, reduced grip strength, and decreased sensation in the arm and hand. Treatment options include physical therapy, surgery, and bracing.
What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy is a group of permanent movement disorders that impair a person’s ability to control movement and maintain balance and posture. It is caused by damage to the brain that occurs before, during, or after birth. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and may include muscle tightness or weakness, tremors, difficulty with fine motor tasks, difficulty with speech, and difficulty with balance and coordination. There is no cure for cerebral palsy, but various treatments such as physical therapy, medication, and surgery can help improve symptoms and increase independence.
Erb’s palsy and cerebral palsy cannot be prevented in all cases, but there are steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of these conditions. For example:
- Early and regular prenatal care can help identify and address potential risk factors for both conditions.
- Monitoring the fetus during delivery for signs of distress, such as a slow or irregular heartbeat, can help prevent birth injury.
- Using caution when using delivery instruments, such as forceps or vacuum extractors, can help reduce the risk of brachial plexus injuries like Erb’s palsy.
- Promptly addressing any complications during pregnancy or delivery, such as preterm labor or bleeding, can help reduce the risk of cerebral palsy.
It’s important to note that even with these preventative measures, Erb’s palsy and cerebral palsy can still occur in some cases.
Filing a Medical Negligence Claim
Proving that a doctor caused an infant’s cerebral palsy or Erb’s palsy can be challenging and requires strong evidence and an experienced legal team. To prove medical malpractice in these cases, the following must be established:
- Duty of Care: The doctor had a duty to provide a certain standard of care to the patient.
- Breach of Duty: The doctor failed to meet that standard of care.
- Causation: The doctor’s breach of duty directly caused the injury to the infant.
- Damages: The injury resulted in significant harm to the infant, such as cerebral palsy or Erb’s palsy.
To build a strong birth injury case, you may need to gather and present evidence such as medical records, expert witness testimony, hospital and physician notes and other relevant documentation. It’s important to work with an experienced medical malpractice attorney who can help you build a strong case and represent you in court.