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Causes of Erb's palsy

Some babies born in North Carolina might suffer a birth injury known as Erb's palsy. It commonly results when there is a problem delivering the shoulder part of the baby and excessive pressure is placed on the shoulder, neck or head. About 2 out of every 1,000 babies delivered have Erb's palsy. Symptoms may include a limp or paralyzed arm, little to no movement in fingers and hands or a lack of sensation in those areas.

Babies that have higher birth weights are more prone to developing Erb's palsy. Doctors applying too much pressure while using forceps or vacuum devices when delivering babies can also cause this condition. Nerves may be torn when the brachial plexus is stretched too much. A baby suffering from Erb's palsy might be unable to flex and rotate his or her arm. In some cases, nerve damage may be permanent. In some cases, the condition can be treated with therapy or surgery.

Erb's palsy may occur when a medical professional does not recognize that it's necessary to perform a cesarean section because of the baby's size. When medical professionals fail to perform C-sections on too-large babies, it increases the likelihood of issues delivering the shoulder areas occurring as well as the misuse of birthing instruments.

When a baby or a mother is injured during delivery, there may be grounds for filing a medical malpractice suit against the responsible medical professionals. The injury could be costly, and in some cases, it might be permanent and significantly affect the mother's or child's quality of life. In determining whether medical malpractice has occurred, the court will focus on the standard of care. For example, if a doctor does not anticipate the necessity of a C-section when most other ones would have or uses the forceps with excessive force, the court may decide that most medical professionals would not have made a similar error.

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Daniel Pleasant Holoman LLP

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