The results of a birth injury can potentially affect a child for the rest of his or her life. Brachial plexus, or Erb’s palsy, is a physical condition with symptoms that vary in severity from case to case. This condition affects about one or two out of every 1,000 live births. Parents of children diagnosed with Erb’s palsy should consult a Kansas City Erb’s palsy attorney about possible legal recourse against a negligent delivery doctor or other medical professional who may have caused the condition.
Understanding Erb’s Palsy
During childbirth, the baby’s shoulders are the widest point of the body that must clear the mother’s birth canal. Doctors performing deliveries must carefully monitor the procedure and account for the mother’s anatomy and many other factors. If a mothers’ birth canal is too narrow to allow the infant to exit vaginally, a Caesarean section is often the best alternative. Erb’s palsy most commonly occurs when a doctor uses excessive force when extracting a baby from his or her mother, causing damage to the neck, shoulders, or upper arms as they clear the mother’s birth canal.
Like any nerve injury, the severity of a case of Erb’s palsy depends on the severity of the damage to the affected nerves. A child with completely severed nerves may be unable to use the affected arm, and the arm may appear limp, shriveled, or paralyzed. A moderate amount of nerve damage may leave the child unable to move the upper arm, but still able to wiggle or move his or her hands and fingers. Mild cases of Erb’s palsy may only limit range of motion in the upper arm, and may be corrected or improved with physical therapy.
Suing for Erb’s Palsy
Parents of children diagnosed with Erb’s palsy should think carefully about whether the condition manifested due to negligence. When doctors fail to uphold an acceptable standard of care in a given situation, they become liable for medical malpractice if their negligence causes patient injury. Erb’s palsy has the potential to affect a newborn baby for the rest of his or her life, so this liability can entail significant financial penalties for negligent doctors.
Suing for a birth injury that caused Erb’s palsy will follow the same framework as any other medical malpractice claim. The plaintiff and his or her Kansas City Erb’s palsy attorney will need to establish four facts in court to succeed:
- First, the plaintiff must prove to the court that an official patient-doctor relationship existed. This means the plaintiff agreed to treatment from the defendant, and the defendant agreed to treat the plaintiff.
- Second, the plaintiff must prove the defendant was negligent or that the defendant failed to meet the acceptable standard of care for the delivery.
- Next, the plaintiff must prove that the claimed damages and injuries were the direct results of the defendant’s negligence and not a different cause.
- Finally, the plaintiff must prove that actual harm occurred.
A medical malpractice case is a complex affair that typically involves a review process before a plaintiff receives an affidavit of merit for the case, so hiring a Kansas City medical malpractice attorney is key. A medical expert or medical board will review a plaintiff’s claim to determine whether negligence occurred and if the claim has merit. Once the overseeing entity awards the appropriate affidavit of merit, the plaintiff can proceed with the legal action.
Seek Justice and Hire a Kansas City Erb’s Palsy Lawyer
Parents of children diagnosed with Erb’s palsy in the Kansas City, MO, area can reach out to the attorneys at Dickerson Oxton, LLC for legal counsel. We have a solid history of successful medical malpractice cases in the area and don’t shy away from intense litigation. Reach out to our team to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our Kansas City Erb’s palsy attorneys, and we can let you know how we can help.