NY Hospital Sued for Causing Brachial Plexus Injury

Staff Writer | May 28th, 2013

New York Erbs Palsy LawyerA New York woman is suing a public hospital for negligence after medical staff allegedly “departed from accepted practices,” causing her newborn to suffer from Erb’s Palsy. The Caribbean American Family Health Center in the County of Kings (Brooklyn), New York, is accused of failing in its duty of care during the infant’s delivery.

Erb’s Palsy, a brachial plexus injury that has left the child paralysed in her right arm, was allegedly caused by a series of failures on the part of the Center’s healthcare professionals, including miscalculations of the baby’s birth weight, a  failure to conduct a sonogram prior to delivery, and a failure to consider a Cesarean section as an appropriate course of action.

According to court documents, hospital staff “failed and omitted to inform the plaintiff of the dangers and risks… and to make a timely diagnosis of the infant’s condition.” The lawsuit was filed in February at the United States District Court of the Eastern District of New York.

The brachial plexus is a bundle of nerves that begins at the neck’s base and runs through the shoulder and into the arm. It consists of primary nerves and cords, resembling the trunk of a tree spreading out into branches.

In the case of Erb’s Palsy, a brachial plexus injury means ruptured or stretched fibers originating from the upper part of the plexus. The condition generally affects the shoulder, upper arm, chest wall, and the thumb, index and middle fingers of the hand.

Causes of brachial plexus injury

In almost all cases, a brachial plexus injury is caused by the use of excessive force during delivery. Often, such force is used in an attempt to correct shoulder dystocia, which occurs when the baby’s shoulders emerge from the birth canal in an unorthodox fashion, causing the upper arm to get stuck on the pelvic bone, thus preventing proper delivery.

In attempting to get the baby out, doctors and midwives pull the baby’s head down, away from the shoulders, stretching the brachial plexus. If the stretching is to forceful, the nerves are torn, resulting in a brachial plexus injury that may lead to Erb’s Palsy and other birth injuries.

Physicians and midwives are taught never to pull on a baby’s head.

The long-term consequences of brachial plexus injury are wide-ranging, and include:

  • Decreased innervation, which means the body’s ability to supply nerves for movement, sensation and growth
  • Decreased strength and stamina, caused by smaller, weaker nerves
  • Dysfunctional arm movement
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Impaired bone growth
  • Joint dysfunction
  • Discrepancies in limb length

A New York Erbs palsy lawyer can help

Understanding these risks is vital, as you may qualify for a lawsuit if medical staff can be shown to be responsible for Erb’s Palsy, or any other brachial plexus injury. If you believe your child has been the victim of medical malpractice that resulted in a brachial plexus injury, you should contact an attorney for legal advice.

A New York birth injury lawyer can help you establish liability, and advise you of the pros and cons of filing a lawsuit against the healthcare professionals responsible for your child’s delivery. If your child has suffered a brachial plexus injury in the Bronx, Manhattan, Staten Island, Queens, Brooklyn or Long Island, contact The Sanders Firm at 1-800 FAIR PLAY for a free case evaluation.


  1. Birth Injury.org, Long Term Complications of Brachial Plexus Injuries, http://birthinjury.org/brachial-plexus-longterm-complications.html