Several weeks ago, we talked about brachial plexus palsy, a birth injury that occurs when the nerves of the brachial plexus, which control the muscles of the arm, have been damaged during the birthing process. Erb’s palsy, also known as Erb-Duchenne palsy, is a type of brachial plexus injury that occurs typically through shoulder dystocia, which we have discussed in prior postings. Erb’s palsy occurs when the upper group of the arm’s nerves, particularly the upper trunk C5-C6 nerves, are severed.

As stated by the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health (NLM NIH), “Erb’s palsy is initially frightening,” as the “infant’s arm hangs limply from the shoulder” because the injury has caused weakness in the muscles. However, there is good news–most babies who are born with Erb’s palsy will recover on their own. According to the NLM NIH, “the rate of complete recovery is 80% to 96%, especially if improvement begins in the first two weeks.” Other infants who have not recovered within five to six months may recover fully with surgery. “Only the rare child is left with a significant disability.”

Risk Factors

The major risk factors for Erb’s palsy (and many types of brachial plexus injury) include:

  • Large fetal size
  • Maternal diabetes
  • Shoulder dystocia

As we have mentioned before, there are no telltale risk factors for what might cause shoulder dystocia.


According to NLM NIH, “there are no published . . . studies addressing treatment for BPI.” However, the affected arm is generally immobilized during the first week, and following this, the baby will undergo various motion exercises and possibly be fitted with a splint. For those who do go on to become physically disabled from Erb’s palsy, many websites recommend physical and occupational therapy, both of which we have discussed in depth in the last few weeks.

If your loved one has suffered complications from Erb’s palsy or other forms of brachial plexus injury, call us for help. We will talk to you and review your case for free. The Tyrone Law Firm specializes in representing those who have suffered a devastating injury, such as birth injuries or traumatic brain injury resulting from the negligence of another. Our personal injury firm here in Atlanta has a very successful record of trying such cases.

Nelson Tyrone handles Brain Injury, Spine Injury and RSD/CRPS cases throughout the United States. He involves only the top medical, rehabilitation and life-care plan experts in the field. His results on behalf of clients include several of the largest settlements and verdicts on record, and he was recently able to obtain a $13.9 million verdict, one of the largest in the state of Georgia, for a birth injury client in 2014.

You can reach us at 404-377-0017 or via email at If we can’t help you, we will do our best to put you into the hands of lawyers who can.

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