Birth injury prompts mother to raise awareness of Erb's palsy

An expectant mother wants nothing more than to have a healthy baby. Mothers in Kentucky and around the country are aware that there are sometimes complications during birth that can cause injury to the baby if the physician and medical staff do not act promptly or correctly. A woman from Owasso, Oklahoma, understands this all too well, as her 14-month-old daughter is now suffering from Erb's palsy.

Before the diagnosis, the mother says she hadn't even heard of brachial plexus injuries. These injuries result in Erb's palsy, a condition in which the nerves are torn that control the shoulder, arm and hand. She wants other mothers to be aware of the condition and what might be ahead for their child.

The injury occurred during the baby's birth when the baby's head became stuck under her mother's pelvic bone. The baby was also in distress because the umbilical cord was around the baby's arm and neck. The physician pulled the baby's left arm in order to free her and deliver her. According to the woman, the physician saved her baby's life.

The diagnosis of Erb's palsy wasn't made until the little girl was 6 weeks old. She had physical therapy sessions each week and traveled to St. Louis Children's Hospital when she was only 8 months old to have a nerve graft surgery done. The surgery uses cadaver nerves to replace the torn nerves.

There are still some motions that the girl cannot do today, such as turning her hand upwards; however, she can lift things and pull things down. During a recent trip back to the hospital, she got a new brace that will help her gain more strength in her arm. She may have to have more surgeries.

Many birth injuries, including those that result in Erb's palsy could be prevented; however, every case is different. Birth injuries that are the result of medical negligence can result in personal injury lawsuits against the physician, medical staff and hospital to help the family receive compensation that will be needed for current and future care, as well as any permanent disability as a result of the injury.

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