Cerebral palsy and Erb’s palsy are two forms of birth defects that may be caused by medical malpractice. Mistakes made before, during or shortly after delivery can cause oxygen loss to the infant’s brain or injuries to the nerves surrounding the infant’s shoulder. These injuries can result in serious conditions such as cerebral palsy and Erb’s palsy.
Cerebral palsy refers to a group of disorders caused by damage to a baby’s brain. Symptoms of cerebral palsy vary from child to child, depending on the severity of brain damage.
The most general signs of cerebral palsy include lack of muscle coordination; stiff muscles and exaggerated reflexes; problems swallowing, sucking and speaking; tremors; and problems walking. Some babies experience seizures and other neurological disorders as well.
Although the symptoms of cerebral palsy do not worsen as the baby gets older, there is no cure for cerebral palsy. In the most severe cases, infants with cerebral palsy will require a lifetime of care.
Erb’s palsy, also called brachial palsy, is caused by an injury to the brachial plexus, the nerves surrounding the shoulder. It is not a type of cerebral palsy, because it does not involve injury to the brain. Infants with Erb’s palsy suffer from weakness or paralysis of the arm. The degree of impairment depends on the part of the arm that is affected and how much damage was done.
If the upper part of the arm is the only part of the arm affected, it is called a brachial plexus injury and if the entire arm’s movement is affected, it is called brachial plexus paralysis.
Erb’s palsy can be caused by several different factors during a difficult delivery. Excessive pulling on the baby’s shoulders during childbirth can lead to injury of the brachial plexus. Larger than average babies have a higher risk of suffering brachial plexus injuries. Breech birth also puts babies at risk.
In some cases, the injuries can’t be prevented. But, in other cases, the injuries may have been prevented if the doctor, nurse, midwife, or other health care providers detected distress and made some different decisions.
The Connecticut medical malpractice lawyers at Berkowitz and Hanna LLC represent parents of infants who suffer birth injuries. For more information contact Berkowitz and Hanna LLC today.