Erb’s Palsy Claims
Brachial plexus palsy, also known as Erb’s palsy, is a disorder caused primarily by birth trauma, which is defined as excessive traction on a baby’s head, neck, or shoulders during birth or delivery, causing nerve damage in the neck.
What is Erb’s Palsy disorder?
Erb’s palsy (or Erb–Duchenne palsy) is a form of brachial plexus palsy. One or two in every 1,000 babies present with this condition. It is often caused when an infant’s neck is stretched to the side during a difficult delivery.
Recovery of movement and feeling in the affected arm occurs in most cases, often with daily physio and exercises. However, parents will play an active role in helping their child recover maximum function in the affected arm.
Have you been affected as a result of medical negligence?
- Our team of medical negligence solicitors has over 30 years of collective experience handling cases for those who have suffered as a result of medical misdiagnosis or medical negligence.
- We are accredited as medical negligence specialists by Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA) and the Law Society of Ireland.
- AvMA, a nonprofit dedicated to patient safety and justice, has given Coleman Legal its seal of approval. On their website, they provide helpful advice on how to choose a specialised solicitor for your medical negligence claim, which may assist you in making your decision.
How can this type of injury be caused during childbirth?
Brachial plexus injuries in newborn babies usually occur during a very difficult delivery, often when the baby presents as large, in a breech position, or following long labour. It can also happen if a birth becomes complicated and the midwife or delivery team must deliver the baby quickly and exert some force/pressure to extract the baby from the birth canal.
If you’d want to seek compensation for a birth injury to your child, please schedule a call back request with one of our Erb’s Palsy Claims Solicitor 1800 844 104 or email us at [email protected]
Erb’s palsy treatment
Because most newborns with brachial plexus birth palsy recover on their own, a doctor will re-examine the child frequently to check on nerve recovery. Nerves tend to grow and recover very slowly, and it can in fact take up to 2 years for a recovery. There are both non-surgical and surgical treatment options for Erbs and Brachial Plexus palsy.
A doctor may suggest surgical treatment if there has been no improvement over the first 3 to 6 months of non-surgical intervention. In microsurgery, surgeons will often use microscopes and small specialized instruments. It should be noted that nerve surgery does not typically fully restore the normal function of the affected body-part and is usually not helpful in older infants.
As with all medical negligence cases, the process can be lengthy, and it is important to take those initial first steps of gathering information, and seeking the advices of a legal representative, who can point you in the right direction as to how to deal with your potential medical negligence claim.
How do I make a medical negligence claim?
Consult our medical negligence solicitor
It is advisable for you to speak to an experienced team of Medical Negligence Solicitors as soon as possible if you believe that you were not provided with an adequate or appropriate level of medical care, which resulted in you sustaining an injury or illness.
We obtain your medical records
After the consultation with your medical negligence solicitor, he/she will request access to your medical records and engage an independent medical expert to assess your records. The purpose of engaging an independent expert is to establish whether there was any negligence on the part of the medical professional.
The medical negligence litigation process
Where the independent medical expert is of the professional opinion that medical negligence did occur, upon your instructions, your solicitor will commence the process of issuing legal proceedings in Court against the medical professional and/or hospital.
Time Limits for a Medical Negligence Claim
The legal time limit to make a medical negligence claim is two years from the date of injury or date of knowledge that the injury or illness resulted from medical negligence. For children/minors, the time limit expires two years after their 18th birthday.
You may contact a solicitor to discuss your case to advise of the Statute of Limitations applicable to your case.
Contact our Birth Injury Team
Quite often, parents may find themselves reluctant to contact birth injury solicitors in the early course as it may feel like prematurely acknowledging that their child has an illness from which they might not recover.
If you believe that your child have suffered as a result of medical negligence, Coleman Legal can advise you as to whether you may have a case against another party and will support you through the entire process.
- Negligently handled births
- Problems not detected during pregnancy
- Failure to detect serious abnormalities pre-birth
- Errors during Ante-Natal care Injury or death due to medical instruments and/or anaesthetics or inadequate suturing
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Birth injury claim important FAQs
What are the essential criteria of a successful birth injury claim?
The existence of a duty of care, the breach of that duty, and a causal link between the breach and the resultant injury, loss, or damage to the Plaintiff are required for a successful birth injury claim. In such cases, it can be difficult to prove a causal connection between the alleged breach of duty and the resultant injury, loss, or damage.
Establishing a breach of duty:
In birth injury claims the alleged negligent care may arise as a result of failings in the antenatal care, care during the intrapartum period, care during the process of delivery, care in the resuscitation techniques employed, or lack of care in the neonatal period. Any or all of these elements of the care provided could give rise to a potential allegation of breach of duty.
What is the time limit for a birth injury claim?
The current law in Ireland requires that a person must take an action for medical negligence, which includes a birth injury claim:
Within two years of the date of the event giving rise to the injury (Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004). This requires a Plaintiff in a medical negligence claim to act expeditiously.
However, birth injury compensation claims can be made by parents of children who have suffered a birth injury at any time up until the child’s eighteenth birthday acting as a “next friend”. Thereafter the child has two years to make a birth injury compensation claim in their own right.
However, we recommended that as soon as you believe your child has suffered a birth injury where an element of negligence was shown by a member of the medical staff, that you contact our experienced birth injury team, who can assist you in the first steps in pursuing a birth injury compensation claim. You should act expeditiously to avoid Defendant successfully arguing that the case should be dismissed because of delay.
What factors could give rise to the possibility of a Birth Injury Claim?
Birth injury compensation claims may be applicable when your child has suffered an injury during
1) The antenatal care,
2) Care during the intrapartum period,
3) Care during the process of delivery,
4) Care in the resuscitation techniques employed or
Lack of care in the neonatal period, and there is an element of negligence by one or more of the medical staff.
Heavier than average babies and those born prematurely are more susceptible to injury and nursing staff are aware that they must take greater care of these infants, however, any breach of that lack of care either during or immediately after the birth may lead to a birth injury compensation claim.
How can I prove a breach of duty?
It is imperative to engage an appropriate expert to furnish his/her opinion on the level of care provided, such as an obstetrician, gynaecologist, neonatologist, etc. Usually, such experts are from the United Kingdom.
When we have received your instructions, we liaise with Senior Counsel on your behalf and consider the appropriate expert.
We then send him/her all of the obstetric, neonatal, and follow on paediatric medical records together with a detailed statement of events (prepared by the parents) and a letter of instructions summarizing the relevant facts and issues of the case requesting them to furnish their opinion on whatever specific areas are of concern.
In addition, it is worthwhile requesting the Hospital Protocols for the management of High-Risk Pregnancies, management of Foetal Distress in Labour, and Neonatal Management of Newborns. These protocols can assist in establishing or undermining a Plaintiff’s case at the outset.
Establishing a causal link between the disability and intrapartum events:
As above, it is essential that expert reports and opinions are sought from experts in paediatric neurology and/or paediatric neuropathology and/or neonatology to seek to establish a causal connection before pursuing a birth injury claim.
A legal representative would usually be looking out for the following:
1) Evidence of foetal distress in labour
2) The cord blood pH
3) Condition at birth
4) Encephalopathy in the first 72 hours of life
5) The evidence available from radiological investigations, including MRI scanning
6) Hypoxic-Ischemic injury to organs other than the brain
*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.