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Risk factors for Erb's palsy and symptoms in newborns

Although parents in North Carolina anticipate the birth of their children with excitement, the birth process inherently imposes risks on the mother and infant. Erb's palsy is a type of birth injury, and its severity can range from temporary symptoms to lifelong disability. The condition results from nerve damage to the brachial plexus during birth. One to two infants per every 1,000 births experience some form of the injury.

A difficult birth, often involving a small mother and a large infant, introduces the chance for this nerve damage to occur. A woman who gained an excessive amount of weight during pregnancy also has an added risk of giving birth to a baby that incurs this birth injury. Breech births and a prolonged second stage of labor are other risk factors. Erb's palsy has also been known to happen when medical practitioners use birthing tools incorrectly.

Since the brachial plexus manages the nerve connections that control the arms, shoulders and hands, the symptoms of Erb's palsy will be apparent in those body parts. Sometimes an infant retains the ability to move his or her fingers will not be able to move the shoulder or arm. Early detection of the injury is essential for effective treatment. Mild injuries might heal on their own, but more severe nerve damage requires surgical intervention.

Birth represents a vulnerable time for a mother and infant. A parent who suspects that a negligent doctor contributed to a birth injury could consult an attorney. Because medical cases must present evidence that meets high legal standards, a lawyer could arrange for an independent medical review of the case. Medical testimony gained by an attorney could add weight to a lawsuit that seeks a settlement to cover treatment and long-term disability. A lawyer could strive to win compensation during pretrial negotiations or at a jury trial.

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Daniel Pleasant Holoman LLP

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