As an expectant mother prepares for the upcoming birth of her baby, the last thing she expects is for her baby to get injured during the birth. After all, this should be a joyous moment, and soon-to-be parents are trusting that their medical teams are exercising caution and following protocol throughout the process. Alas, injuries do happen, and some can be difficult or impossible to recover from. Others may improve with treatment, but it can still be a long journey ahead.
One common type of birth injury is called Erb’s palsy, which is named after Dr. Wilhelm Erb, the first doctor to recognize this condition. The Boston’s Children Hospital describes Erb’s palsy as an injury to the upper portion of the brachial plexus. The brachial plexus is a network of nerves near the neck that affect movement and feeling through the shoulder, arm, hand, and fingers. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, it has been reported that approximately one to two of every 1,000 babies have sustained a brachial plexus injury.
Erb’s palsy occurs when the baby’s neck is stretched too far on one side during a difficult vaginal delivery. Weakness in the biceps and shoulders may result, and to prevent shoulder dislocation, atrophy and stiffness, a baby may begin physical therapy as young as three weeks old.
Sadly, many cases of Erb’s palsy will not resolve with just physical therapy, and often require more aggressive therapies, including surgery. KidsHealth.org lists the following as some of the common treatment options for severe cases of Erb’s palsy:
- Nerve transfer
- Nerve grafts
- Tendon transfer
- Muscle transfer
Although therapies and treatments are meant to help prevent further injury and permanent disabilities, just like with the majority of other serious birth injuries, a full recovery is never guaranteed. New parents already have a lot to juggle with when it comes to a newborn baby, and it can be particularly stressful when it’s their first baby and they are just beginning to navigate through these new changes. Adding a birth injury on top of everything can be emotionally draining for the entire family, as this type of injury can be very painful for a young baby. It can be especially difficult to deal with a situation of this magnitude if you realize that your baby’s Erb’s palsy could have possibly been prevented. For example, some births may have simply been too risky for a vaginal delivery, and in these situations, the medical team may have been able to avoid brachial plexus injuries by performing C-sections instead.
The bottom line is that there is no way to know for sure what could have happened if another approach was used during your baby’s birth, but oftentimes, it may boil down to a neglectful decision that the doctor made. You may already be working with a medical malpractice lawyer on a lawsuit, and then the monetary compensation you may be waiting for could be what you’re counting on to cover mounting medical bills and other expenses. You may be dealing with these expenses now, while still waiting for the case to settle, which can be a time-consuming process overall.
As your attorney may have already told you, settlement dates tend to be unpredictable. When there is so much uncertainty around your lawsuit finalizing, but you need that money as soon as possible to take care of bills and expenses, you can turn to USClaims. We offer an alternative to those waiting on cases to settle; this is a process known as pre-settlement funding. Contact us today to learn more about how the process works and to see if your case is eligible.