Erb’s palsy more common than Down syndrome

Just as every woman in Pittsburgh experiences pregnancy differently, each will have different delivery experiences. Even an easy pregnancy can turn into a difficult delivery. The size and position of the baby can make labor and delivery more complicated for the mother-to-be as well as the delivery doctors and nurses, and can sometimes lead to birth injuries. For instance, excessive pulling during a head first delivery or pressure put on the infant’s arms during a feet first delivery can cause injuries to the nerves that control the shoulder, arm, hand and spine—injuries known as Erb’s palsy.

Many people have never heard of Erb’s palsy, also referred to as brachial plexus injuries. Yet it is more common than Muscular Dystrophy or Down syndrome. It is estimated that Erb’s palsy occurs in as many as five out of every 1,000 births. Those who have been affected by the debilitating injury worked to raise awareness of Erb’s palsy recently during International Brachial Plexus Injury Awareness week. The most important thing to remember is that treating this injury quickly is essential to minimize the lasting effects. Patients will need to have the injuries assessed by a brachial plexus specialist immediately, who should inform them of the best treatment options and recommended treatment facilities.

Sometimes the birth injuries associated with Erb’s palsy are unavoidable, but they can also be the result of a negligent doctor or nurse. If your child was injured during labor and delivery, you may want to speak with an attorney. You may be eligible for compensation to pay for present and future medical expenses and/or other damages.

Source: The Tampa Tribune, “Understanding brachial plexus injuries,” Lizbeth Vazquez, Oct. 25, 2013.