Experienced Medical Malpractice Representation

The excitement of having a baby can quickly turn to sadness, anger and fear when a doctor’s mistake causes a birth injury. Erb’s palsy is a serious delivery complication that is totally preventable, but frighteningly common. Two hundred out of every 100,000.00 births result in this type of shoulder injury.

Schwartzapfel Lawyers P.C. is a respected personal injury and wrongful death law firm. Injury and wrongful death recovery is all we do so we can devote our substantial resources, experience and skills to helping injured clients throughout New York City and the surrounding region. Our firm has more than 30 years of experience in medical malpractice. We know how devastating a preventable birth defect is for the children and their families – that’s why we do all we can to help.

Our lawyers pursue a medical malpractice claim so your child has the resources he or she needs for the greatest chance at recovering functionality, good health and a normal quality of life. Our New York City Erb’s palsy lawyers are just as aggressive toward the doctors and hospital responsible for your child’s injury as we are compassionate to your family.

What is Erb’s Palsy?

Erb’s palsy occurs when the baby’s brachial plexus, the network of shoulder nerves, is injured during delivery. The condition typically happens when the delivery is obstructed by the baby getting its shoulder impacted under the mother’s pubic bones, a condition known as shoulder dystocia. Erb’s palsy occurs when the doctor fails to employ the appropriate maneuver to safely release the shoulder.

The doctor instead exerts excessive traction tugging and pulling on the baby’s head under mistaken belief that it will release the shoulder. Instead, the doctor’s excessive force results in the stretching or avulsing the nerves of the brachial plexus causing Erb’s Palsy. The nerves responsible for transmitting signals to and from the arm, hand and finger, are thereby stretched, pinched and damaged. Erb’s palsy may result in:

  • Partial or total paralysis of the baby’s shoulder, arm and hand
  • Loss of feeling in the affected arm and hand
  • Weakness in the arm or hand
  • Inability to grip with the affected hand
  • Stunted muscle, blood vessel and nerve development
  • A misaligned or “winged” shoulder blade
  • Limp arm, often held against the side of the body with bent elbow
  • Reduced fine motor coordination
  • Lack of muscle control in the affected limb
  • Pain and discomfort

The severity of symptoms depends upon the degree to which the shoulder nerves were damaged. Your baby may require surgery to correct the problem. Even then, your child may have a permanent disability.

Risks of Brachial Plexus Injuries

Brachial plexus injuries are preventable if doctors manage risks during the mother’s pregnancy and the child’s birth. Factors that contribute to Erb’s palsy include:

  • Breech, feet first, delivery
  • Larger than normal baby size
  • Mother’s history of delivering large babies
  • Mother’s excessive pregnancy weight gain
  • Mother’s smaller size
  • Maternal diabetes
  • Long and difficult delivery
  • Use of forceps during delivery

Your obstetrician should screen you and your baby for risks during your pregnancy and recommend a Cesarean section (C-section) if your baby is at heightened risk of Erb’s palsy. In addition, your obstetrician is responsible for making sound decisions during a long, difficult vaginal birth to avoid injury to your baby. Unfortunately Erb’s palsy is a predictable and preventable birth injury that should not occur unless the doctor is negligent.

Help Your Baby Recover for Childbirth Injuries

Call Schwartzapfel Lawyers P.C. at 1-888-575-6410 to schedule your free birth injury claims evaluation at our Manhattan, Bronx, Deer Park, Jericho or White Plains office. We take your case on a contingency fee basis, so there is no risk in calling.