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Erbs Palsy Claims

Erb’s Palsy is a rare birth complication which can have life-long consequences for the individual affected.  While doctors, nurses, and midwifes go to great lengths to protect the health and welfare of mother and baby during the birth process, on occasions injuries can occur.  If such an injury is due to negligence on behalf of a medical professional, recourse may be considered.

Our team of specialist Erb’s Palsy solicitors have considerable experience with such claims, and successfully securing successful outcomes.

What is Erb’s Palsy?

Erb’s Palsy, or Erb-Duchenne Palsy, is the name given to a type of brachial plexus injury (BPI), whereby an arm becomes paralysed due to damage to nerves in the upper arm.  Erb’s Palsy is typically caused in child birth when, despite normal contractions, the baby is unable to progress through the pelvis as the either the head is too large to fit through the birth canal or the shoulders are having difficulty passing through.  This is referred to as dystocia. The risk of shoulder dystocia is greater if the mother has diabetes (including gestational diabetes), when labour is induced, when the labour is protracted, or an assisted delivery is required (forceps or a ventouse device).  Physicians will follow a set process in an effort to deliver the baby, including asking the mother to stop pushing, repositioning the mother, pressing on the abdomen, and performing an episiotomy.

If shoulder dystocia occurs, the midwife or consultant must take care not to further injure the baby, however if there is too much pulling nerves of the neck and shoulder can be damaged – typically C5 and C6 nerves, which form part of the brachial plexus.

The result of an injury of this type is muscle paralysis and loss of sensation in the arm affected.  Depending on the extent and type of nerve damage, recovery may be possible, however in some cases the damage is permanent.

The long-term implications, if permanent, can range in severity from minor impairment, which can be managed and improved with physical therapy, to flaccidity and looseness or stiff and contracted arm muscles which can be extremely painful.

Can I bring a claim for Erb’s Palsy?

To bring a claim for Erb’s Palsy medical negligence, it will be necessary to provide evidence that:

  • The standard of care you received fell below that of a competent physician of the same level, and;
  • This negligence caused injury to your son or daughter.

To prove your case, we will compile evidence including medical records, and seek expert medical opinion.

What may an Erb’s Palsy medical negligence claim cover?

Claims following a diagnosis of Erb’s Palsy due to medical negligence may cover two areas of loss:

  • Pain and suffering due to the injury;
  • Specific financial costs resulting from the injury caused. This may cover costs already incurred, such as transport, accommodation, and medical treatment, and expected future expenses, such as physical therapy and care costs.  The costs you receive will be based on the precise injuries suffered and the circumstances of the case.

Children with Erb’s Palsy may require specialist equipment to enable their mobility and every day functioning.  Further, modifications to the home may be required to facilitate their needs and such costs will be considered as part of the claim.

Why should I consider Lavelle Partners’ Medical Negligence Solicitors to handle my claim?

  • Lavelle Partners have successfully managed many cases involving children diagnosed with Erb’s Palsy due to medical negligence.
  • Our personal injury team, headed by partner, Avril Scally, who herself has over 15 years’ experience in medical negligence claims, place client care at the centre of everything they do.
  • From the first moment you speak to one of our solicitors, we will listen to your case carefully and with empathy and will only recommend advancing your case if we believe you have a valid case.
  • We have both the legal expertise and understanding of the real-life challenges faced by children and their families following such events.
  • Our solicitors will manage the process entirely on your behalf; compiling the information necessary for your case, including medical notes, and managing the submission of your medical negligence claim.
  • We will answer any subsequent questions and/or provide further information if required.

By allowing us to handle your claim on your behalf, you can focus on what is most important – your recovery and care, or that of your family member or loved one.

For further information on making a claim following medical negligence resulting in a diagnosis of Erb’s Palsy in Ireland, please contact Lavelle Partners in confidence on (01) 644 5800 or email Avril Scally at [email protected]

*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement. This statement is made in compliance with RE.8 of SI 518 of 2002.

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