Erb’s palsy refers to a paralysis of the arm caused by injury to the C5–C6 nerves which form part of the brachial plexus. Shoulder dystocia is often a cause of Erb’s palsy and occurs when the obstetrician applies too much force during deliver of the baby from the birth canal. Excess force can result from the use of forceps or a vacuum extractor, or simply by the doctor applying too much pressure to the baby’s head while pulling the baby from the womb.
If malpractice is suspected, it is important to consider if drugs were used to induce labor, or if the birth weight of the baby exceeded 8 1/2 lbs., or whether the mother has a small pelvis, or whether the infant was mal-positioned in the birth canal at delivery in a breech position. If you suspect malpractice, consult an attorney who has the resources and know-how to determine if malpractice occurred and will work to help you and your family obtain justice.