Information for Parents of Children with Cerebral Palsy

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Are you the parent of a child with a disability? Did you know that medical malpractice could be the cause?

Was your child's birth injury caused by nature or medical malpractice? We can investigate.

Our law firm concentrates on the litigation of birth injuries nationwide. With an OBGYN, labor/delivery nurse and other experienced medical and legal professionals representing your rights, the MEDLAW Legal Team offers families and children the resources and experience necessary to successfully litigate healthcare negligence claims.

Our medical malpractice attorneys focus on the representation of families whose children have developed a disability as a result of negligent medical care.


Causes of Birth Injuries & Cerebral Palsy (CP)

Causes - Medical TreatmentIn most cases, the initial cause will never be known. There are known risk factors that can indicate the likelihood for CP, but they do not point to specific causes.

Most conditions are caused by a brain injury that occurred during pregnancy or birth (congenital), or in the months/years following birth (Acquired CP). Cerebral Palsy disorders are caused by faulty development of or damage to motor areas in the brain that disrupt the brain's ability to control movement and posture. A variety of conditions can lead to brain injury, including:

  • Genetic conditions and problems with the blood supply to the brain can affect how the child's brain develops during the first 6 months of pregnancy.
  • Oxygen shortage - if the oxygen supply to the brain is severely low at the time of birth, the infant may suffer a type of brain damage called hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy.
  • Rh incompatibility - a blood condition that causes the mother's immune cells to attack the fetus, resulting in jaundice.
  • Severe Jaundice in the child during the first weeks following birth.
  • Toxicity - drug or alcohol use during pregnancy can result in brain damage.
  • Kidney and urinary tract infections - these infections, if severe and prolonged, in the mother can lead to brain damage within the fetus.
  • Exposure of the expectant mother to certain infections including rubella, toxoplasmosis and cytomegalovirus.
  • Severe physical trauma to the mother during pregnancy.
  • Acquired cerebral palsy results from brain damage in the first few months to years of life and can be caused by conditions such as:

  • Brain infections - encephalitis, meningitis
  • Head injury - falls, automobile accidents, child abuse
  • Ten to fifteen percent of cerebral palsy cases are caused by a recognized brain injury, such as infection (e.g., meningitis), bleeding into the brain, and damage caused by lack of oxygen. Most causes are unidentified, and medical professionals can simply review present risk factors. Some of the errors made by healthcare professionals during delivery can include:

  • The failure to recognize and treat seizures following delivery;

  • Failure to order a C-Section in a timely manner;

  • Excessive use of a vacuum extractor;

  • Failure to detect a prolapsed umbilical cord reducing oxygen supply;

  • Improper use of delivery forceps;

  • Hospital staff may not properly read or respond to the babies vital signs;

  • Failure to declare fetal distress;

  • Failure to diagnose and treat jaundice or meningitis;

  • The following incidents may justify further investigation, or indicate the possibility of a medical malpractice claim:

  • The use of resuscitation (CPR) after birth;

  • Emergency delivery with forceps, or by c-section;

  • Special testing after birth, such as an MRI scan, CT scan or brain scan;

  • A specialist may not have been consulted when necessary;

  • More Information

    While most doctors, nurses, midwives, and hospital technicians provide a high standard of care for their patients, unfortunately, many families are harmed by medical mistakes. Parents of a child suffering from a birth injury should contact an experienced lawyer to research the cause of their child’s condition. Medical mistakes are responsible for many birth injury cases and it would be impossible for a parent, alone, to determine if medical malpractice caused their child's disability. It is only through the dedicated and thorough efforts of a legal and medical team that the cause can be ascertained.

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    Article Summary: Birth Asphyxia

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