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Cerebral & Erb’s Palsy Information
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from 2000-09 the number of emergencies during child birth increased 75 percent. Birth injuries can range from bone fractures and spinal cord injuries to facial paralysis. The most common motor disability stemming from birth injuries is cerebral palsy (CP) – a group of disorders characterized by muscle weakness or problems using muscles, according to the CDC.
Injuries stem from brain damage before, during or after birth. The CDC estimates that 1 in 323 children are living with CP and 4 in 1,000 babies are diagnosed with the condition after birth. Parents recognize symptoms in their child’s first year. Erb’s palsy is a form of brachial plexus palsy, a nerve disorder that affects the network of spinal nerves that run from the back of the neck to the shoulder and upper arm. The condition occurs in approximately 2 out of every 1,000 births. CP has no cure, and children who have the condition face life-long difficulties. Treatment can take an emotional toll on the child and on the family, and medical costs associated with treatment can grow quickly.
CP is caused by brain abnormality and not by a disease, so it does not grow worse over time. Through physical therapy, a child with mild forms of Erb’s Palsy often can gain use of an affected arm and manage pain associated with the condition. In some cases, nerves torn at birth cause permanent damage. Strokes, brain infections, genetic disorders and premature births all can cause CP and Erb’s Palsy. But sometimes physicians make mistakes during delivery that may damage a baby’s brain, muscles or nerves. A number of parents filed lawsuits against hospitals and doctors after their babies were diagnosed with CP or Erb’s Palsy, disorders that can affect a child for the rest of their lives.