Erb's Palsy Essay

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The birth of a child is a miraculous and joyous experience for most parents in Royal Oak, and throughout Michigan. A moment of jubilation can quickly turn to one of fear, however, when parents or doctors notice that something is not right. There are a number of conditions, which may present shortly after an infant’s birth. Erb’s Palsy, a type of nerve injury, is one such disorder that commonly affects children across the U.S. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons reports that as many as two out of every 1,000 babies suffer from this condition. Among other factors, it is believed that doctor errors during birth commonly contribute to causing Erb’s Palsy.

What is Erb’s Palsy?

According to the American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine, Erb’s Palsy is a type of injury to the brachial plexus nerves. This group of nerves, which originate in the lower cervical and upper thoracic area of the spinal cord, progress through the arm pit region and
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Infants who suffer from this condition often display a number of signs, including having weakness, loss of feeling or lacking reflexes in their affected arms. In some cases, infants with Erb’s Palsy can move their fingers, but not their upper arm or shoulder on the affected side. Often, their impacted arm is bent inward towards their bodies.

What causes Erb’s Palsy?

Often, Erb’s Palsy is caused by difficulties during birth, including prolonged labor and breech presentations. According to the Mayo Clinic, Erb’s Palsy may occur when an infant’s shoulders become stuck in the birth canal. The risk factor for Erb’s Palsy may increase in cases when a doctor must pull an infant’s head away from his or her shoulders during birth to help the shoulder pass through the birth canal. Furthermore, the use of forceps or vacuums during delivery may also cause an infant to suffer this type of nerve damage.

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