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Posted 25 October 2018

Proud to Support Erb’s Palsy Awareness Week – Emily’s Story

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Not just a physical injury 

Emily suffered a Group II – III obstetric brachial plexus injury as a result of admitted negligence during her birth in 1996.

Initially recovery was good and Emily did not have surgery for her neurological injury. However, as she grew up she went on to develop the classical medial rotation contractures. Surgery to address these contractures was performed in 1997, 2000 and 2002.

In 2004 Emily started to develop pain in the injured shoulder, thought to be caused by recurrent impingement in the subacromial space within the shoulder joint. Consequently, Emilyunderwent a further 7 operations over the course of 8 years in an effort to relieve the pain but, whilst there would be initial improvement in her condition, each time the pain returned.

To manage the pain Emily was required to take a cocktail of drugs including, gabapentin, morphine and amitriptyline. These had significant side effects leading in particular, to fatigue and dizziness.

As well as the obvious physical limitations the psychological impact of Emily’s condition was significant, and she went on to suffer from severe recurrent depression, reduced self-esteem, problems with body image and anorexia nervosa. She also self-harmed.

These problems had a significant impact upon Emily’s education and, during her GCSE’s she had to study from home and halve the number of GCSE subjects she was taking.

To her credit, however, despite all these problems, Emily was able to obtain 2 A’s and 4 B’s in the subjects she took and obtained A-level results sufficient to go onto study Psychology at University.

Although the medical evidence indicated that Emily was likely to suffer from periods of severe pain for the remainder of her life (most likely over the winter months), she was able to complete her degree in 2018, obtaining a 2:1 and she is now looking for graduate employment.

For more information or advice, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our experienced team of medical negligence solicitors.


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