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clair hemming

Posted 18 February 2016
by Clair Hemming

An introduction to Erb’s Palsy

Erb’s Palsy (brachial plexus palsy) is a condition which affects between 0.5 and 3 per 1000 live births.  In a typical maternity hospital which delivers 3,000 babies a year – this would mean up to 9 babies could be affected.

The condition is caused as a result of injury to the brachial plexus, a network of nerves in the neck which supply movement and sensation to the upper limb.  In most cases the injury is caused by medical staff during delivery and it can be avoided. It is often therefore the subject of medical negligence litigation.

If the injury is not too severe a reasonable recovery can be made, but sometimes the injury is devastating.  We recently conducted a claim for a young man whose arm was so badly affected the doctors advised that he should to all intents and purposes, be considered as a unilateral upper limb amputee.  This young man was inspirational in terms of how he refused to let his disability hold him back and is currently training hard to compete in swimming events in 2020 Paralympics.

The University Hospital of Wales where the claimant was born initially denied that their staff were negligent, but as we were preparing for Trial, they admitted liability.  Through negotiations with the Trust’s lawyers we reached a settlement on client’s behalf for the sum of £925,000, which is the highest reported paid damages award for a brachial plexus injury in the UK.

Tozers are the leading medical negligence solicitors in the country in Erb’s Palsy claims having conducted over 230 claims over the last 20 years.

At Tozers Solicitors LLP we act for clients as solicitors in Exeter, Devon, the South West and nationally.  Should you or a family member wish to discuss a potential claim, please call our specialist team for a free and confidential consultation.


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About the author

clair hemming

Clair Hemming

Partner and Solicitor

Partner and solicitor in the medical negligence department and a member of the Devon & Exeter Medico Legal Society and the Law Society Clinical Negligence Panel