Erb’s palsy: causes, risk factors and treatment

As an expectant Washington mother, you may have heard that you should “expect the unexpected” when raising children, but when it comes to your delivery, itself, you are probably hoping for a smooth, predictable process. Unfortunately, though, some deliveries are far more difficult than others, and in some cases, difficult deliveries can lead to long-term complications. At Elk & Elk Co., Ltd., we understand that difficult deliveries can lead to a number of serious medical conditions, among them Erb’s palsy. We also recognize that this and a number of other conditions caused by tough deliveries can, in some instances, leave you and your child facing a lifetime of hardship.

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Erb’s palsy, or brachial plexus birth palsy, as it is also known, is a nerve condition that affects one or two out of every 1,000 babies born. In most cases, it results from a physician stretching an infant’s neck to one side during the delivery process. While the severity of Erb’s palsy can vary, many affected infants will experience immobility to some degree.

For example, some infants with Erb’s palsy may be unable to move their shoulders, while others may be unable to move their fingers or arms. In some cases, infants may simply exhibit weakness in these areas, while other babies may experience partial or total paralysis in them as a result of the condition.

Once your child receives an Erb’s palsy diagnosis, it may take some time (in many cases, up to two years) for his or her condition to improve, and his or her best bet at recovering may come through daily physical therapy. More severe cases, however, may warrant surgery or other invasive medical procedures. If your child has suffered a birth injury, contact our birth injury lawyers in Seattle today for a free case evaluation.