Can Erb’s Palsy be fixed?
Erb’s Palsy is a condition caused by damage to the main nerves responsible for movement and sensation in a baby’s arm. The condition is also known as Brachial Plexus Paralysis and is usually the result of trauma to the baby’s arm during birth.
Exactly how serious the damage is and what effect it will have on the baby will vary from case to case. Where the nerve is simply bruised, the effects may be mild and recovery relatively swift. However, if the damage is more serious, such as if one or more of the nerves are torn or completely severed, the impact can be more serious and extensive treatment may be required to minimise the long-term effects.
Treatment for Erb’s Palsy
Getting the right treatment during the first year of the child’s life is usually crucial to give them the best chance of making a good recovery and minimising the long-term impact of Erb’s Palsy.
Depending on how serious the nerve damage is, there are various types of treatment that may be used to repair the damage and encourage the body to heal itself.
If the nerves are badly torn or completely severed, surgery may be required to repair the damage. This will typically involve taking a non-essential nearby nerve and grafting this into the affected area to replace the damaged nerve.
This type of surgical treatment can be highly effective if carried out correctly, allowing the child to recover a significant amount of movement and sensation in the affected arm.
Exercises to help a child increase their range of movement, prevent stiffness and pain and stimulate sensation in their arm can all have a positive impact. Some children will only require these exercises during the first year of their life while others may need to carry on with them for several years.
Many babies with Erb’s Palsy benefit from carrying out physiotherapy exercises in water. This can help them to improve their symptoms without causing stress on their body due to the support provided by the water. This can help to avoid issues such as spasms that can otherwise occur during physiotherapy for Erb’s Palsy.
Parents will often need to learn specific techniques designed to help them protect their baby’s arm during feeding, changing and other daily tasks. They will also normally need to learn some physiotherapy exercises to use at home themselves, helping to continue their child’s recovery between sessions with a trained physiotherapist.
Funding treatment for Erb’s Palsy
Medical treatment for Erb’s Palsy is available through the NHS, but some of the treatment and on going support your child needs may have to be funded privately. Because Erb’s Palsy is often caused by medical negligence during a child’s birth, many people choose to pursue birth injury compensation to help pay for the care and support their child needs.
Erb’s Palsy claims can be complicated and confusing, so it is advisable to speak to a specialist birth injury solicitor when considering making a claim. They will be able to help assess the likelihood of a successful claim and how much you might be able to secure as a settlement. They will then be able to guide you through the claims process, giving you the best chance of achieving a positive result.