Video: Brachial plexus injuries/Erb's Palsy from birth

 

Early diagnosis and treatment is important

 
February 1, 2013

Video transcript:

Hi Robert Painter, and today we are going to be talking about a birth injury called Erb's palsy, or also known as a brachial plexus injury.

Now the brachial plexus refers to a bundle of nerves that is found in on both sides of our bodies, really in the armpit area. Now during the birth process those nerves can get injured, and those can have devastating effects because the brachial plexus takes care of the motor, or the movement, function, in our arms, as well as the in sensation we have in this whole area - and even into the chest to some extent.

Now brachial plexus injuries occur in about one to two out of every thousand births in the United States. Now in many of the cases, it is noticed right at birth, but sometimes it is up to the parents or loved ones to spot this.

One of the most telltale signs ofa brachial plexus injury, or Erb's palsy, is what's called the waiter's tip deformity. If you can just think about a waiter holding his hand like this, just looking for a tip. If you see the baby holding his or her hand in this fashion, then you have a good idea that there is a brachial plexus injury, or Erb's palsy.

Now the way these can happen - and I will say that, unfortunately, they are almost always avoidable - but during the birth process, the baby might be breach, it could be a really prolonged labor, or even a rather large baby. And during the birth process, the doctors and nurses are helping to bring the baby out, and sometimes brachial plexus is stretched or other times, in more severe cases, it is even torn.

Now when the nerves are damaged because of stretching, a lot of times immediate physical therapy can help restore some of the function. But in other cases, where the nerve is torn or damaged in some other fashion, then actually surgery will need to take place.

Physical therapy and surgery have the best chances of success if they are done really close to birth, so that means that if you see this type of problem you need to get this baby into the doctor as soon as possible. And again, unfortunately, those types of therapies that the baby will need cost a lot of money. And these are often avoidable injuries, so the people who cause those injuries need to be held accountable.

If your baby was injured at birth and has a brachial plexus injury or Erb's palsy, then I encourage you to call a medical practice attorney as soon as possible. As I mentioned, it is very important that these types of injuries get evaluated and treated very quickly. But also in terms of the legal case, it is essential to have an attorney who is familiar with handling these cases because they are really fraught with a minefield hurdles.

We here at Painter Law Firm handle these cases very frequently and are available to speak with you at 281-580-8800 or at www.painterfirm.com.

Robert Painter

Robert Painter is a medical malpractice lawyer at Painter Law Firm PLLC.

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