Erb’s palsy can be a very unfortunate complication encountered during birthing and is often experienced in the first few hours after birth, classified as an acquired brachial palsy. Erb’s palsy results in the partial or complete paralysis of the arm of the baby after a difficult birth. This disability occurs when the brachial plexus (a network of nerves), which controls all upper arm and upper hand muscles, is damaged or compressed.
There are multiple reasons why a baby could suffer from Erb’s palsy during childbirth. It is one of the most common childbirth injuries that sometimes heals on its own in a few months. But sometimes, the nerve gets completely separated from the spinal cord, which means the child will have to live with a disability.
What was supposed to be a joyous occasion has turned into a lifetime of medical care and assistance. It can be extremely devastating for parents of a baby that suffers from Erb’s palsy. We have gathered some pointers for you to ride out this storm and help your child live a full life.
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Seek legal help
It is very difficult to identify if the baby suffered due to the traumatic events of the birth or because someone from the medical team was incapable of handling the case. If you think your child suffered from this injury due to the team’s negligence, you should read about Erb’s Palsy lawsuit settlements and see how the law can give you justice. Some of the common causes of Erb’s palsy due to the medical team’s negligence are:
- Attempting birth vaginally, whereas all signs pointed towards going for a cesarean.
- Failure to place the shoulders of the baby correctly during delivery.
- Use of forceps or vacuum to exert force when delivering the baby.
You can hire an experienced lawyer who can help you through the entire legal process. These settlements can financially compensate you for the emotional misery and the years of physical therapy and medical care your child will need.
Let go of the guilt
As a parent of a child with Erb’s palsy, you may feel that you are to blame for the injury. You may think that if you had done something differently, your baby would not have suffered this injury. You should not feel guilty for something that was not in your control.
This is especially true for mothers as they often blame themselves. It is important to understand that this is a childbirth injury. There is no right or wrong way of going through labor and delivering the baby. You need to let go of the guilt and be strong to help your child through treatment and therapy.
Get all the important information
From the time you find out that a child in your family has been diagnosed with Erb’s palsy, you may be filled with questions. You want to know what will happen next, how long it will take to recover, how serious the condition is, and whether there are any long-term effects. Your doctor can provide information on symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options. The following advice can help you prepare for these conversations:
Write down all your questions and concerns before every appointment you wish to discuss with your doctor.
- Ask about physical therapy services and follow-up care.
- Ask if any surgery will be required.
- Ask about therapies that may help reduce pain, stiffness, and muscle spasms.
- Ask about ways to prevent further complications.
Don’t expect immediate results from your baby’s treatment program; the brain needs time to heal itself.
Make sure your baby receives physical therapy as prescribed by their doctor or therapist. Physical therapists are trained to treat babies with nerve damage and other problems caused by birth injuries like Erb’s palsy. Physical therapy can help your child regain strength, motion, balance, and coordination. There are exercises designed specifically for infants who have suffered nerve damage at birth. Your child may need physical therapy several times a week for several months or years, depending on the severity of their disability.
Ask the village
They say, “it takes a village to raise a child.”
This may be true here. Support groups are extremely beneficial for parents who face a challenge they have no prior knowledge of. Reaching out to parents who have children suffering from Erb’s palsy can guide you better on how to raise a child with such a disability. Emotionally, it also helps to connect with someone who understands your experiences. It is also extremely comforting to know that you are understood.
Establish a support system
Parenting a child with Erb’s palsy will not be easy. You need all the support you can get. Having a strong circle of close friends and family can be a lifesaver. You can ask them to look after the child for an hour or two while you take a break. They can run errands, do grocery shopping, or do other tasks when you are too overwhelmed. Or they can simply be your shoulder to cry on.
Look at the brighter side
It will be extremely difficult but staying optimistic in this situation can help you keep your morale high through doctors’ appointments, hospital visits, treatments, therapies, and/or surgery. You should not let this one bodily weakness of your child stop them from living their life. Be the ray of hope for them and help them live their lives to the fullest they were born to do.
For parents of a child with Erb’s palsy, there are plenty of resources available to help them better understand their child’s condition and cope with the long-term challenges it presents. Many parents find that focusing on their child’s independence is one of the best ways to handle the challenges presented by this disorder. Thankfully, there are several compensatory measures available to help ensure that the child’s progress can be monitored by doctors and experts. There is no known cure for Erb’s palsy, but with proper therapy, structured exercises, and technology like customized orthoses, Erb’s palsy victims can regain as much function in their affected limb as possible.