Erb’s palsy is a medical condition that affects the brachial plexus. The brachial plexus is composed of nerves that are connected to the shoulder and arm muscles. Erb’s palsy can leave the infant in partial or total paralysis. This medical condition usually manifests itself due to another medical complication that occurs during the delivery of the infant like shoulder dystocia. Shoulder dystocia happens when the public bone of the mother impedes the infant from passing because their shoulders get stuck and cannot pass. An immense amount of nerve damage can come to the infant due to this occurrence.
Once the delivering physician has seen that the infant is having trouble to pass due to their shoulders, they must try and maneuver the infant’s head and gently try to dislodge the infant’s shoulder from the mother’s pubic bone. If the physician applies too much force to the baby’s head, it brachial plexus can become damaged, resulting in Erb’s Palsy. When medical negligence is present during the birth of an infant, many birth injuries can surface. Speaking with a malpractice birth injury lawyer in Orlando if the infant acquired Erb’s Palsy as a result of poor care needs to be done.
The presence of Erb’s Palsy could have derived from natural causes, but it can also come because of medical negligence. Erb’s palsy can surface due to a variety of medical negligence. The birthing process of an expectant mother is very delicate. It requires years of practice, training, and education. Not just any physician can birth an infant. A specific technique is mandated in order to reduce the possibility of injuries and fatalities.
Shoulder Dystocia and Its Risk Factors
Shoulder dystocia is pretty hard to detect beforehand, but there are certain risk factors that have been associated with shoulder dystocia occurrence that should be taken into consideration. If doctor’s spot any of the following risk factors, they should take those into account when delivering the infant:
- More than 40 weeks that the mother is pregnant
- Mother gaining more than 35 pounds throughout her pregnancy
- Presence of obesity in the mother
- Gestational diabetes being acquired during pregnancy
- Baby is breached
- Baby predicted to be more than 8lbs. 14 oz. in weight
In addition, mothers who have epidural injections to relieve the pain of natural birth might not be able to feel the baby move or not have the pushing sensations. When this happens, it might be difficult for the mother to birth the infant on her own and she may require the help of birthing tools like forceps and vacuum. If these tools are not used appropriately, the infant can suffer from shoulder dystocia and the Orlando physician can be found guilty of medical malpractice.
Forms of Medical Negligence that Can Cause Erb’s Palsy
Erb’s palsy is a condition that ranges in severity. For the most part, it is a medical condition that will be with the infant for the rest of their life. Because it is so severe, learning how it occurred is vital when constructing a case of medical negligence. Erb’s palsy can derive from the following medical negligence:
- Too much force is applied: When a physician applies too much force on the infant’s head during delivery, it can cause them damage to the nerves of the arms, head, and shoulders. Sometimes, when complications arise, physicians get nervous and apply too much force by pulling on the infant. Gentle pressure must be applied on an infant because their heads are so delicate.
- Forceps and vacuum usage: When a mother is having difficulty delivering her baby, the physician might use extraction tools like vacuum and forceps to help her during the process. Complications like prolonged labor, incorrect positioning of the infant, misalignment, among others, could be reasons for the physician to decide to use these tools. Extra pressure is applied to the infant’s head when these tools are used, placing the infant at a greater risk for injury. If a physician lacks the skill to use these tools, even more danger lies in front of the infant. Proper training should be provided to physicians using these tools before they attempt to do so on their own. Extensive damage can be done to the infant’s head and surrounding nerves.
- Shoulder dystocia: Shoulder dystocia is a condition that can surface rather quickly during a delivery and is when the shoulder of the infant stays trapped under the mother’s pubic bone. Ideally, doctors who deliver infants should be trained to handle this complication. They must know how to properly maneuver the infant in a gentle way to reduce the risk of injuries.
- Infant being born breached: When an infant is in breech position, the physician will most likely order a C-section to be performed. If the infant does not turn on their own, they might try to manipulate it to turn. If an infant is born feet first, doctor’s must know how to deliver an infant this way because extra strain is placed on the infant’s shoulders, neck, and head when they are delivered feet-first. If no C-section is scheduled, the physician might be liable for medical negligence.
Every delivery case is unique which is why the medical professionals that will deliver the infant must be familiar with the specifics of that case. If the mother is exhibiting risk factors signs, they need to take that into account and perform additional tests to ensure that there will be no need for a special birthing procedure.
What Damages Can I Recover if my Infants Erb’s Palsy Was Cause by Medical Malpractice?
Many damages can be recovered for a victim that suffered an Erb’s Palsy malpractice because it is a condition that is in constant need of care and attention. The well-known damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Losses of earnings
- Losses of earning capacity
- Follow-up appointments
- Physical Therapy
- Medical equipment to aid the infant
- Surgeries to correct the issue
- Psychological treatment
- Medication fees
The longer the effects of an injury will last, the more the victim of the medical negligence in Orlando will receive. In the case of birth injuries, quite a bit of compensation is provided to the victims when the case has been proven.
Other Methods of Delivery When Shoulder Dystocia is Present
Once a physician has noticed that the infant is suffering from shoulder dystocia, other methods of delivery can be adopted to reduce the chances of the infant acquiring Erb’s palsy. Some of those methods include:
- Performing an episiotomy that is deep
- Performing the McRobert’s maneuver
- Deciding to perform a cesarean
- Using birth assisting tools like forceps and vacuum
- Changing the position of the mother
- Applying Suprapubic pressure
For the successful and healthy delivery of the infant and well-being of the mother, the physician needs to decide upon the best method and course of action for the specific case. Every case is unique, and at the spur of the moment, decisions that might affect the infant’s life will be made. If the decision that is chosen is not the indicated one, the infant can suffer Erb’s Palsy. During the delivery of an infant, the actions or the inaction’s that the delivering physician takes will seal the fate of the infant and mother. If another doctor would have acted differently, then the current physician that did not act as the other doctor might be deemed of having committed medical negligence in Orlando and be a potential malpractice lawsuit defendant.
Erb’s Palsy Medical Malpractice Statistics
- Obstetrician malpractice accounted for 1,129 medical malpractice payouts in 2002
- The average payout for these claims was $497,121
- Registered nurses accounted for 264 obstetric related malpractice
- Shoulder dystocia accounts for 50% of Erb’s palsy cases
- Nurse anesthesiologists accounted for 8 obstetric related malpractice
- Nurse midwives accounted for 281 obstetric related malpractice
- Nurse practitioners accounted for 15 obstetric related malpractice
- Erb’s palsy affects between 0.2 to 2 babies per 1,000 births
Erb’s Palsy Medical Malpractice Orlando Lawyers
In every aspect of an infant’s life, Erb’s Palsy will affect it. Not only are the physical impairments present, but the infant might develop psychological and emotional trauma as a result. The financial struggle of the infant’s family will be increased because this medical condition requires an entire life of care. Erb’s palsy occurring because of a medical negligence is enough grounds to pursue a medical negligence claim with an attorney at Percy Martinez Law Firm that emphasizes on Erb’s Palsy malpractice.