Erb’s Palsy Symptoms in Babies

Erb’s palsy is an injury affecting the group of nerves that run from the neck down through the shoulders and arms, known as the brachial plexus. If these nerves are stretched or damaged during birth, the child may experience weakness, numbness, paralysis, and other problems in the affected area.

If your baby suffered a brachial plexus injury during delivery, Sokolove Law may be able to help.

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Erb’s Palsy and Brachial Plexus Injuries

Erb’s palsy is a type of injury to the upper part of the brachial plexus nerves, which are critically important to your child’s ability to move and feel their shoulders, arms, hands, and fingers. One-to-two out of every 1,000 babies suffer from Erb’s palsy, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

What many parents don’t realize, however, is that the brachial plexus injury that led to their child developing Erb’s palsy could have potentially been prevented.

For instance, during difficult deliveries like breeches or in cases of shoulder dystocia (when the child’s shoulders become stuck in the birth canal), a doctor may tear or stretch the brachial plexus nerves by using:

  • Excessive force when pulling on the baby’s head while attempting to free the child from the womb
  • Medical instruments like forceps or vacuum extractors that can cause spinal cord and nerve damage

We have registered nurses on staff who can listen to your story and help you determine if you may be able to take legal action over your child’s injury.

If a medical mistake may have contributed to your child’s condition, you may be able to pursue compensation on their behalf.  Learn more about your legal options today.

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You may be eligible for compensation. We may be able to help.

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Signs and Symptoms of Erb’s Palsy

Brachial plexus injury symptoms in infants are usually noticeable as soon as the baby is delivered or shortly after birth. Erb’s palsy symptoms in children may vary depending on the type and severity of the injury they experienced.

Your baby may be showing signs and symptoms of Erb’s palsy if they:

  • Can’t or struggle to grip on the affected side
  • Can’t maintain a normal position for the arm
  • Don’t react to loud sudden noises (which could indicate a missing Moro reflex)
  • Experience muscle weakness or paralysis of the arm
  • Have a limited range of motion in the affected arm
  • Have a limp arm that may flop when the child is rolled from side to side
  • Keep their arm flexed at the elbow and held against their body
  • Lack spontaneous movement in their hand or arm

If your child is showing Erb’s palsy symptoms due to an injury at birth, Sokolove Law may be able to help, even if your child hasn’t been diagnosed yet.

We have registered nurses on staff who can listen to your story and help you understand what may have happened as well as what you may be able to do about it. Call (800) 995-1212 or fill out our contact form today.

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Pursue Compensation to Help With the Cost of Treatment

The costs of treating Erb’s palsy and other brachial plexus injuries can easily add up over time. Not only are there medical bills, there are also the potential costs of physical therapy and any other accommodations around your home to help your child live as normal a life as possible.

With the help of Sokolove Law, you may be able to pursue compensation that can cover the costs of your child’s treatment. In the last 40+ years, we’ve recovered more than $710 Million for families whose children suffered birth injuries as a result of medical negligence or malpractice.

Get a free case evaluation today or call (800) 995-1212 to learn more about your legal options and how Sokolove Law may be able to help.

Erb’s Palsy and Brachial Plexus Symptoms FAQs

What are Erb’s palsy or brachial plexus palsy symptoms?

Also known as brachial plexus palsy, Erb’s palsy typically affects the hand, wrist, arm, and shoulders. Depending on the severity of the injury, symptoms of brachial plexus palsy may include the baby:

  • Having a hard time moving their injured arm
  • Experiencing a limited range of motion in the lower or upper arm
  • Tucking their arm close to their body
  • Being unable to grip at all using the hand or affected arm

When will I begin to notice Erb’s palsy symptoms in my child?

Brachial plexus injuries such as Erb’s palsy are usually noticeable immediately or shortly after birth. The most obvious sign is a lack of movement in the affected arm. Contact us today if you’re seeing Erb’s palsy or brachial plexus symptoms in your child.

What does Erb’s palsy look like in children?

A child with Erb’s palsy will often keep their arm bent at the elbow and held close to the body. The arm that has been affected may also appear to flop when you turn the baby from side to side.

If this sounds like your child, you may want to contact us today, even if your child hasn’t received an official diagnosis yet. Our registered nurses can listen to your story and help you understand what may have happened.

Do the symptoms of Erb’s palsy go away?

Between 80-96% of children with Erb’s palsy make a complete recovery, especially if they show improvement in the first two weeks of their life, according to Paediatric Child Health. The chances of a full recovery increase if treatment is initiated within the first four weeks.

In more severe cases of Erb’s palsy, surgical treatment may be needed, usually if the infant hasn’t recovered by the time they’re 5 months of age.

What nerves are affected by Erb’s palsy?

Erb’s palsy often occurs due to a birth injury to the brachial plexus: a network of nerves that branch from the neck to the arms and shoulders. Stretching or damaging these nerves can result in Erb’s palsy.

How does a baby get a brachial plexus injury during birth?

A baby can suffer a brachial plexus nerve injury when the neck is stretched to one side during difficult deliveries. If a doctor pulls the infant’s neck away from their shoulder, the brachial plexus nerves can tear or stretch, which can leave the nerves unable to send signals of sensation, resulting in weakness or paralysis in the child’s hand, arm, or shoulder.

Sokolove Law may be able to help you pursue compensation if your child suffered a brachial plexus injury due to medical negligence or malpractice. Contact us today to learn more.

Author:Sokolove Law Team
Sokolove Law Team

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The Sokolove Law Content Team is made up of writers, editors, and journalists. We work with case managers and attorneys to keep site information up to date and accurate. Our site has a wealth of resources available for victims of wrongdoing and their families.

Last modified: September 8, 2021

View 9 Sources
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