Very few people have heard of Erb’s Palsy and the awareness week is designed to change that by raising public awareness.
Also known as Brachial Plexus Paralysis, Erb’s Palsy is often a birthing injury, caused by trauma at birth and generally with larger babies that get stuck during the birthing process.
Affecting one to five of the primary nerves that that run from the spinal column in the neck down to the fingers, Erb’s Palsy can range from partial to complete paralysis.
The Erb’s Palsy Group and Our involvement
The Erb’s Palsy Group is the only UK charity offering advice, information and support to families affected by Erb’s Palsy. The organisation work to support one another and act as a network to provide information with a focus on increasing awareness and understanding of the condition. The group receives no Government funding and relies entirely upon donations in order to carry out their work. As all the work carried out is undertaken by volunteers it ensures that all money raised through fundraising activity for the group goes straight towards supporting children and families affected by Erb’s Palsy.
Ison Harrison are only one of three law firms in England and Wales who are recommended by the EPG (Erb’s Palsy Group) to act on behalf of families who have children who suffer from the condition as a result of medical negligence.
Each baby’s injury is different. The damage to each nerve can range from bruising to tearing. Depending on the severity of the injury the paralysis can range from partial to complete.
The brachial plexus is most often injured when it is subjected to an excessive pulling force, and it is generally associated with larger babies that get stuck during the birthing process, (Shoulder Dystocia). If excessive force or force applied in the wrong direction, is used before the baby is dislodged, the brachial plexus may suffer nerve damage. Brachial plexus nerves are crucial to the strength, movement and feeling in the arms.
Treatment and Prognosis
Swift diagnosis and treatment is important. Children who suffer from Erb’s Palsy usually have to undergo hours of physiotherapy daily and those with a severe injury can need several operations to restore some function to their arm. The injury for some children will have been so severe that they will live with some impairment for the rest of their lives.
Impact of Erb’s Palsy
Erb’s Palsy doesn’t just affect the child it affects the whole family. For parents, coming to terms with the fact that your child has sustained an injury can be extremely difficult. You may feel very alone and angry about what has happened. The Erb’s Palsy Group (EPG) is a fantastic source for support and advice. As your child grows you may find it hard to explain what has happened to them or others and you may have concerns about the future. The Erb’s Palsy Group can provide you with resources and put you in touch with other parents who share your concerns and experiences.
As your child grows older the EPG is a great way for them to meet children just like them and they can receive invaluable support from the Erb’s community.
Erb’s Palsy should not be precluded your child from achieving their goals however, they may require some extra support or adaptions.
Importance of raising awareness
Increased public knowledge of the condition can ensure that expectant mothers are aware of the risk factors for shoulder dystocia so that they can make informed decisions about the mode of delivery. It can also ensure that those affected are able to access support and resources. In most cases Erb’s palsy is an avoidable injury so raising understanding and education amongst doctors and midwives is extremely important.
How you can help or obtain support
You can help by increasing your knowledge of Erb’s Palsy and sharing it with others. You can also help by donating or raising funds for the charity.
You can receive support by contacting the Erb’s Palsy Group chairperson Karen Hillyer on 024 7641 3293 or email email@example.com
Visit the Erb’s Palsy Group website – www.erbspalsygroup.co.uk
Alternatively you can receive advice about making a Clinical Negligence claim by contacting a member of the team on 0113 284 5000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.