Erb’s palsy is a birth injury that occurs when nerves that connect
the neck to the arms and shoulders become damaged. Erb’s Palsy is
also known as brachial plexus birth palsy. The term brachial refers to
the arms, while the term plexus is the name for a network of nerves. Erb’s
Palsy can affect or paralyze the muscles in the arms, shoulders, or hands.
The severity of the symptoms is dependent upon where the injury occurs.
Erb’s Palsy is avoidable because of the advances in medical technology,
but sometimes can occur as a result of
If someone in your family has been diagnosed with Erb’s Palsy and
you believe it may have been caused by medical malpractice, call us at
(215) 278-4449 for a
complimentary case evaluation.
Types of Erb’s Palsy
Depending upon where the nerves are affected, a different form of Erb’s
Palsy can occur. All of these types of Erb’s Palsy can result in
weakness or paralysis.
The following are types of Erb’s Palsy:
Erb-Duchenne Palsy – Affects the shoulder and elbow muscles and may result in paralysis
Klumpkes Palsy – Can cause paralysis of the forearm and hand
Radial Nerve Palsy – Affects the upper arm and radiates down to the wrist and can affect
movement of the hand and arm
Symptoms & Treatment of Erb’s Palsy
All types of Erb’s Palsy can cause weakness and may result in paralysis.
Some of the common symptoms include:
- Arm may be limp and held against the body
- Infant can’t move arm or hand away from the shoulder
- Weak grip
- Inability to rotate arm
- Complete or partial paralysis
- Loss of sensory function of arm
- Numbness and tingling due to nerve damage
- Muscle atrophy in the arm
When a case of Erb’s Palsy is less severe, treatment may be performed
through massage and range of motion exercises. Parental involvement can
be pivotal as continuing the treatment from home is important as well.
Physical therapy may be done improve flexibility. There can also be treatment
performed through electric stimulation.
If the case is severe or if treatment doesn’t show signs of improvement
within a few months, then surgery may be performed. These surgeries are
usually performed within the first few months of the infant’s life
and can, in some cases, repair the nerve damage and any shoulder dislocations
Causes of Erb’s Palsy
The most common cause of Erb’s Palsy is excessive stretching of the
infant’s head and neck during delivery. Oftentimes, this is caused
as part of shoulder dystocia which occurs when the infant’s shoulders
can’t get past the mother’s hip bones. Another cause of Erb’s
Palsy can be medical malpractice, where the physician didn’t notice
warning signs for shoulder dystocia during birth or even pulled too forcefully
on the infant during birth.
If you believe that your child may have suffered Erb’s Palsy as a
result of medical malpractice,
please give us a call without delay. Our Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyers are ready to help.