Erb's Palsy FAQ - Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C.
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Erb’s Palsy FAQs

  1. What is Erb’s Palsy?

    Erb’s Palsy is a stretch injury of varying degrees to the nerves in the neck and shoulder region. It is preventable and it is usually the result of medical malpractice.

  2. What causes Erb’s Palsy?

    Excessive lateral traction on the baby by the delivering midwife doctor or obstetrician. Erb’s Palsy is often associated with a difficult delivery. Traction exerted to free the baby during those deliveries can cause injury to the shoulder region.

  3. Is Brachial Palsy the same as Erb’s Palsy?

    Brachial Palsy is another name for Erb’s Palsy; the nerves located in the shoulder region are known as the brachial plexus which is where the term Brachial Palsy originates.

  4. What is shoulder dystocia?

    Shoulder dystocia occurs when the baby’s anterior shoulder becomes stuck under the mother’s pubic bone after the head has already emerged.

  5. What are the complications associated with Erb’s Palsy?

    Erb’s Palsy causes a number of serious symptoms including:

    • Paralysis of the shoulders arms or hands;
    • Reduced muscle control in the shoulders arms or hands;
    • Loss of sensation in the shoulders arms or hands;
    • A misaligned or “”winged”” shoulder blade;
    • Stunted growth of the arms or hands;
    • Reduced strength in the arms or hands;
    • Reduced fine motor coordination.
  6. Are there treatment options for Erb’s Palsy?

    Erb’s Palsy may require extensive physical therapy and corrective surgeries depending upon the extent of the injury.

  7. Can doctors prevent Erb’s Palsy?

    The answer is yes — by employing appropriate measures to safely release the impacted shoulder none of which involve traction on the head.

  8. Can shoulder dystocia be anticipated?

    At times yes. While not every delivery complication can be foreseen there are some known predictors for the type of difficult delivery that leads to Erb’s Palsy. Doctors are trained to look for these potential risk factors and anticipate potential delivery problems. The common risk factors include:

    • Large pre-birth weight of the baby;
    • A mother’s history of delivering large babies;
    • Pre-existing maternal diabetes;
    • A mother’s excessive weight gain during pregnancy;
    • An abnormally long gestation period.

If you have other questions about your loved one’s birth injuries contact the New York lawyers of Schwartzapfel Lawyers P.C. With more than 150 years of combined experience our attorneys are well-prepared to handle all your legal needs. Call us at (516) 342-2200 or fill out our online contact form for a free case evaluation. We will fight for you!”””