New Jersey Erb’s Palsy Lawyers & Birth Injury Attorneys – Helping victims in Essex, Monmouth, Ocean, Middlesex County & Throughout NJ
Erb’s palsy, typically a birth injury, is caused when there is excessive force placed on the baby’s head, neck or shoulders during childbirth. The result is a paralysis of the baby’s arm caused by injury to the arm’s main nerves. The condition can lead to atrophy of the shoulder muscles and loss of function if not properly diagnosed.
The majority of Erb’s palsy cases are preventable and, in most cases, are caused by the negligence of a physician, nurse, or midwife. If baby’s injury is the result of a preventable hospital error, an experienced medical malpractice lawyer can help you hold the responsible parties accountable for their negligence.
Erb’s Palsy: Causes and Severe Effects
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), as many as two out of every 1,000 babies are afflicted with Erb’s palsy. Many times, Erb’s palsy is the result of a medical mistake. Erb’s palsy can be caused by:
- Shoulder dystocia: Sometimes, a baby’s body becomes stuck in the uterus or birth canal. A baby’s nerves can be damaged when a doctor pulls too hard on the baby’s arms or shoulders during an obstructed childbirth.
- Misdiagnosis before childbirth: A physician, nurse, or midwife should be able to identify the risk factors and warning signs for shoulder dystocia by monitoring the mother and the baby’s vital signs prior to childbirth. These risk factors include a mother who is obese, a mother at an advanced age, an undersized mother, a mother suffering from diabetes, an oversized baby, or a prolonged labor. If these risk factors are present, the doctor may have a duty to recommend a C-section delivery.
- Negligent intrapartum care: An obstetrician must make appropriate decisions when delivering a child. The doctor has a responsibility to protect the health and wellbeing of both the mother and the child.
- Aggravated assault: An act of violence, such as a fistfight or gunshot, can result in severe traction on the arm.
The most common effect of Erb’s palsy is paralysis of the arm, forearm, wrist, and hand. The effects of Erb’s palsy can be devastating, leading to:
- Medical bills: An injury to the brachial plexus can require multiple neurosurgeries to repair nerve damage.
- Physical therapy: A person suffering from Erb’s palsy may need assistance if their hands and arms do not function properly. Often, a child with Erb’s palsy requires years of physical therapy in order to adequately adjust to his or her condition.
- Cosmetic deformities: An arm affected by Erb’s palsy may be noticeably shorter and smaller than the unaffected arm, necessitating costly cosmetic surgery later in life.
- Pain and suffering: A person with Erb’s palsy may be in store for a lifetime of pain and suffering brought on by arthritis.
- Decreased quality of life: If you suffer from Erb’s palsy, you may never be able to play a musical instrument or participate in sports.
- Lost future wages: A person suffering from Erb’s palsy may find his or her future employment opportunities diminished.
- Brain damage: In extreme cases, the baby can be deprived of oxygen, resulting in traumatic brain injury.
- Permanent disability: If Erb’s palsy is not properly diagnosed and treated, it can lead to lifelong problems, including atrophy of the shoulder muscles, arthritis, and complete loss of function.
A related injury is Klumpke’s palsy, which can afflict a child who is pulled with too much force during childbirth. While Erb’s palsy affects the upper brachial plexus, Klumpke’s palsy or Klumpke’s paralysis results from lower brachial plexus injuries in childbirth. Klumpke’s palsy can cause paralysis of the nerve muscles in the fingers and hands.
Count on Edison, NJ Erb’s Palsy Lawyers at Lombardi and Lombardi to Protect Your Legal Rights
Successfully filing an Erb’s palsy claim can require specialized medical knowledge. You need an experienced medical malpractice attorney who can investigate the causes of your child’s injury and obtain necessary medical records, including the child’s birth or delivery records and the mother’s delivery records.
Contact the medical malpractice lawyers at Lombardi and Lombardi P.A., today for a free, confidential consultation about your Erb’s palsy claim. Our skilled attorneys have been helping the families of children injured during the birthing process since 1975. We know how to effectively negotiate with insurance companies, as evidenced by the more than $400 million in settlements and verdicts that we’ve secured for our clients throughout New Jersey, including Middlesex, Monmouth, and Ocean counties.
Call us or reach us online to schedule an in-person consultation at our Freehold office.