Birth Injuries: Cerebral Palsy and Erbs Palsy

Cerebral palsy and Erbs (or brachial) oalsy are two of the most common birth injuries that could result at birth. Both cerebral and Erbs palsy are often the result of complications during child delivery itself, though cerebral palsy can sometimes occur before or some time after delivery.

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is the generic term for a number of disorders affecting a baby’s brain function and body movement. Cerebral palsy can be the result of an injury to a baby’s brain in the womb, during delivery, or some time after birth. There may be different causes like the lack of oxygen that could happen during the delivery of the mother.

There are several factors that could contribute to the birth injury of an infant. Some situations that can cause or contribute to the birth injury cerebral palsy include:

  • A treating physician/obstetrician’s failure to recognize the need to provide adequate oxygen to the baby, such as by cesarean section, or unreasonable delay in performing the procedure;
  • A mother’s use of a harmful prescription drug during pregnancy;
  • Prolonged bleeding in the baby’s brain after delivery, usually due to head trauma; and
  • Extremely premature birth.

For the common diseases and problems, they are easy to determine because of the fact that there are symptoms. However, this is not the case for cerebral palsy.

Erbs (or Brachial) Palsy

Erbs (or brachial) palsy is a birth injury that occurs in about two out of every 1,000 child deliveries, when a baby suffers injury to the brachial plexus. This consists of the group of nerves that are relevant for the travel of information in the limbs, including the person’s limbs. Erbs palsy happens most often during delivery when excessive pressure is put on the baby’s head, neck, or shoulder because of difficulty delivering the shoulder area (known as “shoulder dystocia”). The condition will most likely affect the infants that have weight above the above average, as recorded by medical statistics. The brachial plexus is simply stretched too far until important nerves are torn or ruptured. Symptoms of Erbs palsy can include paralysis or limpness in a baby’s arm, limited or no movement in hands and fingers, and loss of sensation in the hands and fingers. Often the baby will simply hold the affected arm very close to the body, and will appear to be unable to move the arm itself, the hands, or the fingers.

Complications from the condition known as Erbs palsy are typically the result of a treating physician/obstetrician’s:

  • Failure to recognize that a cesarean section should have been performed, based on the baby’s size
  • Failure to adequately deliver the baby in situations involving “shoulder dystocia”
  • Use of excessive pressure on the baby’s head, neck, or shoulder during delivery

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