Erb’s & Klumpke’s Palsy Attorneys
Shoulder Dystocia – Erb’s Palsy & Klumpke’s Palsy
Shoulder dystocia occurs occurs during the birth process when one or both of the babies shoulders get lodged behind the mother’s pelvic bone during birth. This can cause nerve damage to the brachial plexus ( a large network of nerves that run from the spinal cord to the arms and shoulders). When the nerves of the upper brachial plexus are damaged, it can results in Erb’s palsy. A baby with Erb’s palsy will often have movement in its fingers and hand, but cannot move its upper arm or rotate its lower arm. Some cases will heal on there own. However, some infants / people with this injury will never regain full function of their arm. It can also cause Klumpke’s palsy. Klumpke’s palsy is the paralysis of the wrist or hand.
Shoulder dystocia can occur in any vaginal delivery with any size baby – it is more common with a larger baby and when the mother is diabetic. The brachial plexus injuries are preventable by recognizing when the baby’s shoulder has been impacted and not pulling on the baby’s head once this occurs. They are often caused by a practitioner who uses improper delivery techniques or applies too much force to a baby’s neck and shoulders during delivery. Both shoulder dystocias and breech presentation can often times be foreseen, giving healthcare providers the opportunity to perform interventions to prevent birth injuries from happening in the first place. However, in the rare case where the shoulder dystocia is severe and the obstetrical maneuvers do not work, there may be no alternative but to pull on the head in order to save the baby’s life. Usually, though, there is ample time to take the steps to fix the dystocia.
If your child suffers from Erb’s or Klumpke’s Palsy as the result of a birth injury, we may be able to help you recover damages. Our medical malpractice attorneys will be able to determine from medical records whether it appears that some physician or other medical care provider error may have caused the injury.