A recent feature in The Chicago Tribune detailed the lifelong struggle of a child – now a man – diagnosed with Erb’s palsy shortly after birth. Today, the young man is now a junior at a university in Illinois, overcoming countless challenges following his birth injury in Florida that an Erb’s Palsy lawyer can explain impacts as many as two in every 1,000 babies, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
The story detailed how the mother and son first realized the uphill battle they’d both face: When he was 6-years-old and cried because he was unable to tie his shoe with a single hand. His mother, however, would not allow her son to use the word, “can’t,” and instead spent months teaching herself to tie her own shoe one-handed so she could teach her son. That kind of persistence paid off, and today, the 6-foot-6-inch shooting guard (whose parents – both former college basketball stars themselves – still live in Florida) is considered an inspiring success story. However, a birth trauma attorney recognizes that such heartwarming successes do not come easy.
Those who suffer from birth injuries like Erb’s Palsy can expect long-term difficulty impacting not just their physical ability, but social development, educational opportunities and career prospects.
How a Palm Beach Erb’s Palsy Lawyer Can Help
Following a diagnosis of Erb’s Palsy, your goal as a parent is first and foremost ensuring your child is able to achieve his or her highest potential. Often, this requires early intervention with extensive physical therapy and occupational therapy. Recovering compensation for these medical bills, as well as physical and emotional pain and suffering, future lost wages and loss of life enjoyment means thoroughly exploring whether a birth injury lawsuit is a viable option.
Erb’s Palsy is a type of birth injury, also known as Brachial Plexus Paralysis, resulting from birth trauma that usually indicates medical malpractice. It occurs when anywhere from one to all five primary nerves that supply feeling and movement to the arms is affected.
Among the symptoms a child diagnosed with Erb’s Palsy might suffer:
- Atrophy in arm muscles;
- Arm that is limp;
- An arm that lacks feeling;
- Non-functioning or paralyzed arm;
- Arm weakness.
In addition to regular physical therapy – often from the time the child is just a few weeks old – regular motion exercises are often prescribed. In the event the child has no major improvement within six months, physicians may even recommend some type of surgery (sometimes multiple surgeries). Even this won’t necessarily guarantee the arm will regain full function. The truth of the matter is it can take many years to know for sure the extent to which damaged nerves in the neck will impact the function of one’s lower arm or hand. In many cases, weakness and range-of-motion impairment lasts in the hand, arm and shoulder permanently.
An Erb’s Palsy lawyer in Palm Beach can help plaintiffs struggling with options to determine the best course of action so that they can give their child the best possible start in life. One thing that is typically fairly certain in Erb’s Palsy lawsuits is that it occurred as a result of birth trauma. What birth trauma attorneys must prove is that the medical care received was outside the scope of accepted standards for that medical care, which we do through expert witness testimony. These cases are challenging not only for that reason (as all medical malpractice lawsuits are generally more complex than typical personal injury lawsuits), but also because there are so many uncertainties with any birth injury as far as ascertaining long-term impact and damages.
In the case of the college basketball player, his mother explained her pregnancy and labor all seemed to progress normally until the very end. The baby’s shoulders were too broad to fit through the birth canal. The OBGYN allegedly jerked the newborn out by his right arm. The result was a disconnecting of nerves from the spinal cord.
It’s not clear whether the parents every filed a birth injury lawsuit against the physician, but the young man’s mother says there was “accountability” and that she has forgiven the doctor.
He now does everything left-handed, an wears a black protective brace on his right wrist while playing basketball. As he told the Tribune, “People ask me how I do it, and when I think about it, I really don’t know. I just always have had fun playing basketball since I was a kid.”
Your Erb’s Palsy lawyer can help you gather the information necessary to make as accurate a prediction as possible regarding long-term recovery and how much you should receive in damages to ensure your child has the best shot in life.
Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Now serving Orlando, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie and Fort Lauderdale.
Player born with limited use of one arm inspires NAIA power St. Francis, 2016, By David Haugh, The Chicago Tribune
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Infant Walker Ban Calls in Wake of Study Highlighting Baby Danger, Sept. 30, 2018, Palm Beach Erb’s Palsy Lawyer Blog