When mothers in New Jersey like you give birth, you expect the best support. Unfortunately, not every birth goes as planned. If a doctor has diagnosed your child with Erb’s palsy due to a birthing injury, it is important for you to understand what this means.
OrthoInfo defines Erb’s palsy as a type of brachial plexus palsy. The brachial plexus is a nerve network. It is near the neck and controls all movement and sensation in the arms from the shoulder to the fingers. Palsy means “weakness”. Ergo, brachial plexus palsy is a weakness in the brachial plexus nerve network.
This is often caused during difficult birth. If a child becomes stuck in the birthing canal, doctors may need to help them move. Unfortunately, the baby is sometimes handled too roughly. Stretching out the infant’s neck can cause the brachial plexus nerves to become damaged. This can lead to:
- Limp or immobile limbs
- Loss of range of motion
- Tingling or numbness in any area of the arm
- Pain along the nerve network
Most of the time, Erb’s palsy affects the upper nerves of the brachial plexus. This means that affected children have a hard time moving their shoulder and sometimes elbow. Their wrist and hands are usually unaffected.
Fortunately, most children will recover on their own. However, nerve damage takes a long time to heal from. In many cases, it can take years for a child’s range of motion to return to what it once was. Sometimes, the damage may never fully recover. This can require therapy, which is expensive. This is why many parents seek compensation.