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Birth injury spotlight: how does Erb’s palsy occur?

Brachial plexus stretch injuries in newborns usually occurs during a difficult delivery. This birth injury can occur with a large baby, a breech presentation, or a prolonged labor. It may also occur when the person assisting the delivery delivers the baby quickly and uses force to pull the baby from the birth canal. This happened in a medical malpractice lawsuit filed by Levin & Perconti regarding the negligent delivery of the baby.

Often in this birth injury, the upper nerves are affected. The infant may not be able to move the arm, but may be able to move the fingers. If both the upper and lower nerves are stretched, the condition is usually more severe than Erb’s palsy. This is called “global” brachial plexus birth palsy.

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