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Two of the most common types of birth injuries derive from two distinctly different medical conditions called Erb’s and cerebral palsy. Both Erb’s and cerebral palsy frequently occur during birth delivery, although cerebral palsy can at times happen a little before or a little after the delivery of an infant.
An Overview of Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy represents a general condition that includes several disorders that impede an infant’s brain functionality and body movement, especially the arms and legs. Lack of oxygen right before delivery represents the leading cause of cerebral palsy. The oxygen starved brain begins to lose blood cells and the nerves that transmit electrical impulses. Obstetricians mostly focus on preventing cerebral palsy during birth delivery, but brain issues can occur before and after birth delivery.
What Causes Cerebral Palsy?
The causes of cerebral palsy range from genetic defects to the negligence of a health care professional. Delays in providing oxygen for a fetus typically results from the negligence of the treating physician and/or obstetrician. The failure to perform a cesarean section or an unreasonable delay to perform the birth delivery procedure can cause infant brain damage because of the lack of oxygen. Mothers who abuse prescription medications during pregnancy place the fetus in danger of contracting cerebral palsy. This is especially true for mothers who abuse pain killers. Head trauma and premature birth complete the list of the primary causes of cerebral palsy.
What are the Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy?
Most of the symptoms of cerebral palsy take time to materialize. Parents must pay attention to developmental milestones such as crawling, talking, and walking to discover the presence of cerebral palsy. Delayed developmental milestones or developmental milestones that never happen are indications of the birth injury. Other symptoms include decreased muscle tone, floppy arms and legs, poor posture and coordination, sudden involuntary convulsions, and sight and hearing difficulty
An Overview of Erb’s Palsy
Also referred to as brachial palsy, Erb’s palsy is a relatively uncommon birth injury that affects two percent of all infants. The injury to the brachial plexus diminishes the performance of the nerves that move from the spinal cord and through the arms. Brachial plexus nerves supply the arms and hands with the energy that creates movements. The birth injury occurs often during delivery, with too much pressure put on an infant’s head, neck, or shoulder. Difficulty delivering one or both shoulders through the birth canal represents a form of Erb’s palsy called shoulder dystocia.
Infants that weigh above average run the higher risk of contracting Erb’s palsy. The birth injury can also happen because the treating physician applied to much pressure on a vacuum device used to encourage birth delivery. Too much pressure stretches the brachial plexus far enough to tear or rupture sensitive nerves. The symptoms of Erb’s palsy include restricted or no movement in an infant’s hands and fingers. Babies afflicted with Erb’s palsy tend to keep the damaged arm close to the body. In extreme cases, Erb’s palsy can cause paralysis in one or both arms
Complications associated with Erb’s palsy are typically the fault of the physician or obstetrician who performed the birth delivery. Based on the higher than average size of an infant, the failure to recognize the need to perform a cesarean section can cause brachial palsy. Improper birth delivery techniques can cause shoulder dystocia, as well as a physician or an obstetrician applying too much pressure on a baby’s shoulder, head, and neck.
Whenever a brachial plexus nerve tears during birth delivery, there is a strong chance the damage to the arm, hand and/or fingers will be permanent. Although therapy can help rehabilitate damaged brachial plexus nerves, a trained health care professional must detect the signs of the disorder immediately after birth.
The lack of a diagnosis coupled with poor preventive birth delivery techniques might be legal grounds to file a medical negligence lawsuit. You should consult with an attorney who has gained considerable experience litigating medical malpractice cases.