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Mother says hospital was negligent in causing child's Erb's Palsy

The Brachial Plexus Palsy Foundation says that babies can suffer harm to a group of nerves that run through the neck, down to the tips of the fingers. Excess tension placed on these nerves in a difficult childbirth may damage these nerves. A Brachial Plexus injury may present itself with partial to full paralysis of the arm, wrist and hand. When these tragic injuries occur due to negligence during childbirth, families may face a tough road as a newborn seeks to recover.

Brachial Plexus injuries may commonly be called other names, including Erb’s Palsy and Klumpke's Palsy. The injury may be caused by a stretching of the bundle of nerves. More severe cases may involve a rupture or what is called an avulsion of the nerves. When a rupture occurs, scar tissue may form at the rupture. An avulsion is a technical term for cases where the nerves are actually pulled from the socket.

Obviously, there is a range of severity in this type of birth injury. Our Newark readers can probably imagine how a parent may feel if this kind of birth injury arose due to medical negligence.

Some babies begin to show signs of improvement. But, the foundation says that if a baby does not begin to show function in the fingers, the hand or wrist on the side of the injury in the first month of life, surgery may be indicated.

Severe cases can result in loss of function in the arm, wrist and hands in varying degrees, and the disability may be permanent for some victims. A mother on the West Coast is suing the hospital where her child was born roughly two years ago. She says that the medical center chose the wrong staff and failed to properly monitor the staff’s competency in dealing with difficult birth issues.

The woman’s 2-year-old daughter suffers from Erb’s Palsy. The mother says that the injury is permanent and was caused by hospital negligence. She is seeking damages, including funds for future medical expenses to help in getting treatment for her daughter’s birth injury.

Source: Courthouse News, “Baby's Disability Blamed on Kaiser Negligence,” Barbara Wallace, Jan. 2, 2014

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