An Illinois medical malpractice lawyer, who had previously retired from being a judge in Illinois, recently had to withdraw from an Erb’s palsy medical malpractice case that he had filed on behalf of his clients on February 20, 2015. The reason for his withdrawal? He became a judge once again.
The Erb’s palsy medical malpractice lawsuit alleges that the plaintiff was admitted to the defendant hospital on February 20, 2007 in order to have her labor induced. The obstetrician attempted a vacuum-assisted delivery but was unable to deliver the baby’s posterior shoulder through the birth canal, resulting in observed weakness in the newborn’s shoulder that was suggestive of Erb’s palsy. The baby allegedly suffered a brachial plexus injury and a fractured clavicle during delivery, resulting in permanent injuries.
The Illinois medical malpractice lawsuit filed on behalf of the child and the mother alleges that the standard of care required the obstetrician to perform a Cesarean section delivery that would have avoided the injuries to the newborn.
What Is Erb’s Palsy?
The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that conducts signals from the spine to the shoulder, arm, and hand. Brachial plexus injuries are caused by damage to those nerves (many brachial plexus injuries happen when a baby’s shoulders become impacted during delivery and the brachial plexus nerves stretch or tear). Erb’s palsy refers to paralysis of the upper brachial plexus (Klumpke’s palsy refers to paralysis of the lower brachial plexus).
The four types of brachial plexus injuries are avulsion (the most severe type, in which the nerve is torn from the spine); rupture (in which the nerve is torn but not at the spinal attachment); neuroma (in which the nerve has torn and healed but scar tissue puts pressure on the injured nerve and prevents it from conducting signals to the muscles); and, neuropraxia (the most common type of brachial plexus injury, in which the nerve has been damaged but not torn).
Symptoms of brachial plexus injury may include a limp or paralyzed arm; lack of muscle control in the arm, hand, or wrist; and, lack of feeling or sensation in the arm or hand. For avulsion and rupture injuries, there is no potential for recovery unless surgical reconnection is made in a timely manner. The potential for recovery varies for neuroma and neuropraxia injuries: most children with neuropraxia injuries recover spontaneously with a ninety to one hundred percent return of function. Many children who suffer brachial plexus injuries during birth improve or recover within three to four months after birth without treatment: if treatment is necessary, it may include physical therapy and surgery (in some cases).
If your child suffered a brachial plexus injury during birth, you should promptly find a medical malpractice lawyer in your state who may investigate your birth injury claim for you and represent you and your injured child in a birth injury lawsuit, if appropriate (you should not wait to see if your child fully recovers before contacting a medical malpractice lawyer to investigate your brachial plexus injury or birth injury claim).
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