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Providence Erb’s Palsy Attorneys

Erb’s Palsy Attorneys Serving Providence and Rhode Island

At Mandell, Boisclair & Mandell, our Providence Erb’s palsy lawyers help children and their families seek justice following this devastating birth injury. Understanding the immediate and long-term complications that can arise from this result of medical malpractice, we are here to assist families in addressing these issues through swift and personalized legal action.

What Is Erb’s Palsy?

Erb’s palsy is an injury that occurs when the network of nerves near a baby’s neck and shoulder—known as the brachial plexus—is damaged during childbirth. This injury, which can lead to numbness, paralysis, and a lack of muscle control in the arm, shoulder, hand, and fingers, can be the result of medical negligence during the delivery process.

The impact of Erb’s palsy on a child can range from temporary weakness to permanent physical disabilities. The condition can also have long-term emotional and social repercussions for both children and their caregivers.

Early intervention and treatment are essential for improving quality of life for injured babies. However, recovery is often costly, involving immediate and sustained medical care, various forms of therapy, and the need for other types of specialized assistance.

If you suspect that your child’s injury was caused by medical malpractice, our Providence Erb’s palsy lawyers are here to help. Contact us at 401-273-8330 for a FREE and confidential consultation right away. Our firm fights for injured children—and their families—throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Common Causes of Erb’s Palsy

In the United States, two out of every 1,000 babies are born with Erb’s palsy. This is an injury caused by damage to the nerve network that controls movement and sensation in the arms and hands. The type and severity of the injury play a direct role in its complications and long-term impacts.

Brachial plexus injuries that may result in Erb’s palsy include:

  • Neurapraxia Injuries: These occur when the nerve is stretched but not torn.
  • Rupture Injuries: These occur when the nerve fibers are torn, but not to the point where they detach to the shoulder and spine.
  • Avulsion Injuries: These occur when the nerve roots are completely detached from the spinal cord.

After a nerve has been torn and subsequently heals, it may form scar tissue, known as a neuroma. Neuroma injuries can compress the remaining healthy nerve segments, obstruct signal transmission to the muscles, affect arm mobility and function, and cause great pain.

The leading cause of brachial plexus injuries during birth is shoulder dystocia, an issue that occurs when a baby’s shoulder becomes trapped behind the mother’s pelvic bone during delivery. This situation can quickly escalate, requiring immediate intervention by the attending medical team. Great care is required to reduce the risk of an excessive application of force to the baby’s head, neck, or shoulders. Excessive force when addressing shoulder dystocia can stretch or tear the brachial plexus nerves leading to the development of Erb’s palsy.

Risk Factors for Shoulder Dystocia

Certain conditions increase the risk of shoulder dystocia during childbirth. Large babies—a condition known as macrosomia—are at higher risk for this complication. Prenatal conditions, such as gestational diabetes, which can contribute to a baby’s larger size, must be considered when making a birth plan to help reduce the risk of complications.

Additionally, issues such as first-time labor and delivery, a history of previous deliveries involving shoulder dystocia, prolonged labor, or the use of assistive delivery methods such as forceps or vacuum extraction, can elevate the risk of shoulder dystocia. Failure to consider the mother’s history, reacting slowly to labor complications, and improper or forceful delivery may all be types of medical negligence or malpractice when they result in harm.

A Medical Professional’s Duty of Care

Medical professionals, such as OB/GYNs, other doctors, and nurses, have a responsibility to uphold a specific standard of care. When they fail to uphold this standard, serious birth injuries can occur. During labor and delivery, attending medical staff are expected to be cautious, placing the safety of mother and child first, even if pre-existing causes are not present. This includes monitoring closely for signs of distress and examining the mother at the first indication of potential complications.

If a baby’s shoulders become stuck inside the birth canal, medical professionals must use safe medical maneuvers to deliver the baby. This includes decisions to perform a timely c-section when necessary. Failure to do so may result in serious harm to the child.

When a doctor or nurse’s deviation from the acceptable standard of care results in harm, they may have committed medical malpractice. Having an experienced attorney investigate your baby’s injury can help your family determine how best to proceed.

From conducting thorough investigations to representing your interests in negotiations and court proceedings, our Providence Erb’s palsy lawyers are here to provide the support you need. If your child suffered harm during birth and you suspect medical negligence played a role, we encourage you to reach out for a complimentary case review to learn how we can help.

Erb’s Palsy Symptoms

Erb’s palsy affects arm mobility and strength. Early diagnosis and intervention can greatly improve outcomes, making it important for parents to be aware of potential symptoms. These may include:

  • Lack of Movement in the Arm or Hand: One of the most noticeable signs of Erb’s palsy is the inability or reduced ability of the child to move their arm or hand. This can range from minor difficulty to complete paralysis.
  • Decreased Grip Strength on the Affected Side: Children with Erb’s palsy often exhibit significantly weaker grip strength in the hand of the affected arm.
  • Abnormal Arm Posture: An unusual positioning or posture of the arm—such as it being held against the body—or diminished newborn reflexes can indicate nerve damage.

When diagnosed swiftly, Erb’s palsy may improve with treatments including physical therapy, occupational therapy, and, in some cases, surgery, which can help to improve nerve function and muscle strength.

If you suspect medical negligence contributed to your child’s condition, you might be entitled to compensation to cover physical injury, medical expenses, ongoing care, therapy, and more. The Providence Erb’s palsy lawyers at Mandell, Boisclair & Mandell have been providing support and legal representation for babies and their families for close to 50 years. We are committed to helping families navigate the complexities of birth injury claims, working to ensure injured children have access to the resources they need to make the fullest recovery possible.

A woman in labor awaits delivery

Long-Term Complications Linked to Erb’s Palsy

Erb’s palsy often produces immediate consequences. It can also affect a child’s muscle development, bone growth, and more. The extent of nerve damage plays a pivotal role in determining the severity of long-term effects, which can range from minor challenges to substantial disabilities.

Long-term complications of Erb’s palsy may include:

Persistent Weakness in the Affected Arm

Ongoing weakness is a common outcome of Erb’s palsy, which may limit a child’s ability to perform tasks that require strength and dexterity. Activities such as lifting, carrying, or even simple tasks like tying shoelaces can become challenging, necessitating adaptive techniques or devices.

Reduced Fine Motor Skills

Fine motor skill impairment affects a child’s ability to execute tasks requiring detailed hand movements, such as writing, buttoning clothes, or handling small objects. This can impact educational progress and independence, making supportive educational and occupational therapy essential.

Emotional and Psychological Effects

Beyond physical limitations, children with Erb’s palsy may face emotional and psychological challenges, including social isolation, frustration, and reduced self-esteem. Professional counseling and support groups may be necessary for both the child and family to foster resilience and emotional well-being.

Damages Available Through Legal Action

Pursuing legal action for Erb’s palsy can result in compensation for medical expenses, physical therapy, surgery, adaptive equipment, and related financial concerns. Legal action can also help families obtain compensation for the child’s pain and suffering, along with the impact the injury has and will continue to have on the child’s and family’s quality of life.

At Mandell, Boisclair & Mandell, our Providence Erb’s palsy attorneys strive to secure the compensation necessary for immediate medical needs, emotional and physical struggles, and the long-term care and support injured children may require. We advocate tirelessly for our clients, helping to ensure they have the resources they need to access the best possible sources of rehabilitation, education, and emotional support.

How Mandell, Boisclair & Mandell Can Help

Navigating legal options following a birth injury can be overwhelming for families already coping with the challenges of an injured child. Having a knowledgeable Providence Erb’s palsy lawyer by your side can help you better understand your rights and options.

At Mandell, Boisclair & Mandell, our attorneys have distinguished themselves through their experience, empathy, and unwavering commitment to our clients’ rights and well-being. We are proud to offer:

  • Experienced Medical Malpractice Representation: Our attorneys bring decades of experience with claims related to OB/GYN malpractice. Our legal team excels at uncovering medical evidence, selecting the right experts, and effectively litigating these complex cases.
  • Comprehensive Case Investigations: We are thorough in our approach to gathering evidence, consulting with medical experts, and preparing each case for both negotiations and trial. Our comprehensive investigations ensure that every aspect of your claim is supported by solid evidence, helping to improve the chances of a favorable outcome.
  • Unmatched Results: Our track record speaks for itself, with many significant verdicts and settlements that have helped families receive necessary resources for medical treatment, rehabilitation, and future care. We are dedicated to achieving the best possible outcome for your family.
  • No Fee Promise: Understanding the financial strain that Erb’s palsy can place on a family, we operate on a contingency fee basis. This means you pay nothing unless we secure a settlement or win a verdict in your favor, alleviating the financial risk of pursuing your case.

Beyond our legal experience and proven results, we offer compassion and understanding to every family we represent. Through accessibility and responsiveness, we’re here to provide support both in and out of the courtroom, ready to answer your questions and provide reassurance when you need it most.

Contact Our Providence Erb’s Palsy Lawyers to Learn About Your Options and Rights

If your child sustained an injury during labor or delivery, Mandell, Boisclair & Mandell is here to help your family seek justice. Contact us online or call 401-273-8330 to schedule a FREE claim evaluation with one of our Providence Erb’s palsy attorneys today. We fight for children and their families throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts.