Every October the Erb's Palsy Group raises awareness about Erb's Palsy through an awareness week. Through social media, events and fundraising they aim to increase peoples knowledge of Erb's Palsy, and provide information and support to those affected.
This year we look into some powerful case studies of those affected by Erb’s Palsy, how it has impacted both their own life as well as their families, and how their stories can help inform and support others.
Could you tell us about Erb’s Palsy and how it has impacted your life?
With my Erb’s Palsy I've had quite a number of operations. I've just had my 16th operation this year for various reasons. The main thing that we were trying to get rid of was the pain that I was experiencing, that was ruining my life. The last ten years I would say that I've just been in constant pain. What I would say is my Erb’s Plasy has made me a lot more adaptable. Finding new ways of doing things. It has made me a much stronger person as well, and working through all that.
Is there anything you have learnt about yourself through your journey?
I would probably say I've learnt that I’m a lot stronger than I give myself credit for. What I’ve had to deal with, especially when I was a teenager. My life was a very, very dark place at times and it was really difficult to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Looking back on it now, and just how strong I had to be to get through it, and work through it, and keep pushing on despite my injury, and not letting it define me.
What does life look like now for you, and any future ambitions?
Finishing university three years ago, straight into full time work, which was a bit of a shock to the system from the university life. A job in human relations. I've worked in the NHS, and I have now moved into food catering for schools. I'm doing my CPD qualification to get that next level up. Recently bought a house and moved in. Back in January 2021, I had shoulder reconstruction which was very difficult, but the future looks brighter now that that's been done. Being able to re-engage the arm.
Is there any advice you would give to the families of those with Erb’s Palsy?
For children, especially teenagers, you know being a teenager anyway is a really difficult time to go through when you're changing as a person, finding who you are, and when you're trying to balance that with Erb’s Palsy as well, it can be very, very dark and very lonely and you don't know or you don't think anybody fully understands. My advice to teenagers with it is, do talk to people you know. Talk to your family, they will understand. Don't try and deal with it all on your own because it's an enormous thing and it's really overwhelming sometimes. For parents, don't push like my mum did. Just let them lead the way a little bit. Just be there for them, and just let them talk. Let them rant sometimes because it's really difficult to try and communicate how you're feeling at certain points when you're feeling really low. I know I joke about my mum, but she was brilliant. In my really low moment she was always there for me, to cry to, have a rant to, everything. So just be there.
What difference has bringing a legal claim made to your life?
My mum put in the claim when I was very, very young. We then settled the claim when I was 18 or 19, when I was a lot more stable. We could kind of predict my future a lot more of what I would need as an adult moving forward, especially since having my shoulder reconstruction in January. For me, having my settlement claims there took a whole pressure off of having time off work so that I had money to fall back on if I needed it. If my sick pay ran out, I was still able to cover my bills, my rent, and it's allowed me to pay for private physios following surgery, because the NHS only gives you 6 sessions. It’s that ability to go and get things to help you adapt in cooking, in cleaning. It just makes your life so much easier having that to fall back on and not having to worry about the cost.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about bringing a legal claim?
Definitely do it, it's worth going down the avenue to see what you are entitled to and what you can do to make your life easier for yourself, or if you're doing it as a parent, your child's life easier. I can't thank them enough to for starting the claim when I was really, really little. Don't settle while the child is too young because you don't know how they’re going to grow, what they’re going to experience as a teenager. Especially how it might affect them later on in life.
How has the Erb’s Palsy community helped you?
Karen Hillier is absolutely fantastic. She runs the group. She was always there, especially for my mum, for support, anything she needed. Especially since they've started up, the Facebook Group page was a real source of comfort for me at times. Seeing adults who add things on there about how they struggle sometimes and what they do. Being able to connect with people and share stories has been a real help. I'm not the only one. I'm not on my own. I think that's the greatest bit of help that I could have had, because it is very isolating at times.
To raise awareness of this condition and to support the Erb’s Palsy Group we are running a series of articles and videos sharing the stories of some of those impacted by Erb' Palsy, to raise awareness of this condition. To see all these case studies please visit our Erb's Palsy Awareness Week page.
We have over 25 years’ experience in bringing clinical negligence claims for compensation on behalf of Claimant’s with Erb’s Palsy. We have developed a wealth of knowledge in relation to this condition.