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Erb's palsy can cause arm paralysis in infants

Although most Kentucky parents expect the delivery of their child to go as planned, birth injuries can occur. One injury that can be caused by a difficult delivery is called Erb's palsy. Also known as brachial plexus birth palsy, it can cause an infant's arm to be partially or fully paralyzed.

The brachial plexus, a group of nerves located in the neck, provide mobility and feeling to the arm area, including the shoulder and fingers. If an infant's neck is stretched to the side during the delivery, damage can be caused to this group of nerves. In many cases, this injury can be overcome with daily physical therapy exercises. In the meantime, the infant may have trouble moving the affected shoulder or raising his or her arm.

Brachial plexus birth palsyy can be caused by a prolonged labor, a breech presentation or if the baby is particularly large. Symptoms can include weakness or loss of feeling in the affected arm and partial or total paralysis of the affected arm. A pediatrician generally will make the diagnosis after a physical examination. While the injury often healson its own, the pediatrician may continue to examine the arm to see if the nerves are recovering. The pediatrician may also teach parents exercises that can help keep the infant's arm healthy and limber while the nerves are recovering, especially if the infant cannot move the arm. Otherwise, surgical treatment may be needed.

A birth injury can cause an otherwise healthy infant to suffer serious complications that could have a negative impact on his or her life. If it occurs due to a doctor's negligence, such as an improper use of forceps, the parents may want to meet with a medical malpractice attorney and discuss their options.

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