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What is Erb’s palsy?

As an expectant or new parent in Massachusetts, you should be educated about some of the potential birth injuries that may occur during labor and delivery. Some injuries may not be visibly obvious immediately so your watchful eye at the time and after you are home with your baby is important. This can give you the best opportunity for taking action and seeking help as soon as a problem is suspected. One injury to learn about is called Erb’s palsy.

According to WebMD, Erb’s palsy is formally known as brachial plexus palsy. This condition is characterized by a weak or even paralyzed arm. The nerves that control the transmission of signals from the brain through the shoulder, down the arm, and to the hand are called the brachial plexus. A palsy is a weakness or paralysis. Erb’s palsy results when the brachial plexus neural network sustains damage during labor and delivery.

There are four levels of severity with Erb’s palsy. In the mildest form, a nerve is stretched but not torn. This is called neuropraxia. If your baby has sustained a neuroma, scar tissue has developed when a torn nerve attempted to heal itself. Ruptures and avulsions both involve tears but with an avulsion, the nerve is severed from the spine. A rupture is a tear in another location. The symptoms that you may notice will be more dramatic with a rupture than with a neuropraxia.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but general information about Erb’s palsy in Massachusetts.


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