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Erbs Palsy Awareness Week 2016

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    Joachim Stanley’s blog for Erb’s Palsy Awareness week, which is running between 3rd – 9th October 2016, led by the Erb’s Palsy Group to raise awareness of Erb’s Palsy and to provide information and support to those affected by Erb’s Palsy.

    By Joachim Stanley

Erb’s palsy is caused by damage to one or more of the brachial plexus nerves.  These nerves run from the spine through the neck and down the armpit on both sides, immediately behind the collar bones (i.e. to the front of the shoulder) and into each arm.

Frequently, Erb’s palsy is caused by trauma at birth, following shoulder dystocia. Shoulder dystocia occurs when a baby’s shoulder becomes stuck under, or behind, the mother’s pubic bone at the point of birth.   This happens after the baby’s head has been delivered.  This is a medical emergency, and if it is not dealt with rapidly and correctly, there can be immediate, serious and lasting injury to the child being born.

The Erb’s Palsy Group and raising awareness

The Erb’s Palsy Group are the only UK based group offering advice and support to anyone affected by Erb’s Palsy, either directly or indirectly, i.e. having a family member with Erb’s Palsy.

They offer a wealth of advice on issues such as medical treatment and state benefits and also assist with putting families in touch with other families affected by Erb’s Palsy to share knowledge and support.

Every year in October, the group run a dedicated week to raise awareness of Erb’s Palsy and to try and reach those affected by Erb’s Palsy who may need support and not know where to find it.

This year the group will be running a series of awareness raising measures across social media, including sharing information and facts.

Our experience

My colleagues and I in the Clinical Negligence Team act for a number of clients who have suffered Erb’s Palsy as a result of negligent medical treatment provided around the time of their birth, either failing to identify an increased risk of shoulder dystocia during pregnancy and consider alternatives ways to deliver, or failing to manage shoulder dystocia correctly when it occurs.

We are happy to assist with raising awareness of Erb’s Palsy and the support available to those who are affected by Erb’s Palsy. We have written several blogs previously on various topics related to Erb’s Palsy, including:

Coming up over the course of this week, I will writing further blogs on other topics related to Erb’s Palsy, with a particular focus on the role of the independent expert when considering whether shoulder dystocia was correctly managed, and also the potential for babies to also suffer brain injuries in addition to Erb’s Palsy if their birth is not correctly managed.

I hope that the various activities taking place across the UK this week are successful in raising awareness of Erb’s Palsy and providing support to those affected by the condition.

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