When Medical Malpractice Results in Cerebral Palsy

Ava Lawson | April 16th, 2013 | Posted in Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit News

Birth Injury LawyerA serious disorder that affects both the brain and nervous system, cerebral palsy includes a group of neurological conditions that impacts a child’s physical and mental development. While there are many possible causes of cerebral palsy in newborns, in the context of medical negligence or doctor error, the condition may be caused by insufficient oxygen to the fetal brain during childbirth.

Causes of cerebral palsy

The causes of most incidents of cerebral palsy are difficult to determine, but many are the result of complications during pregnancy in which the brain is either injured or doesn’t develop normally. The following factors may contribute to problems with brain development in a fetus, leading to cerebral palsy:

  • Maternal infections such as meningitis
  • A disruption of blood supply to the developing  fetal brain (stroke)
  • Lack of oxygen to the brain (asphyxia) related to difficult labor or delivery
  • Infant infections that cause swelling around the brain

In situations where medical negligence is the contributing factor to a cerebral palsy diagnosis, and the condition is labeled a birth injury, the parents and child may be eligible for compensation through filing a cerebral palsy lawsuit. Instances of medical malpractice linked to birth injuries like cerebral palsy may include:

  • Failure to treat maternal infections promptly
  • Failure to address early signs of fetal distress or asphyxia
  • Failure to address umbilical cord prolapse
  • Untimely C-section, or failure to perform one when medically necessary
  • Mistakes in using instruments like vacuum and forceps

Signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy

A child with cerebral palsy will generally present symptoms of the disorder during the first three years of his or her life. These may include:

  • Crawling in an odd way
  • Has abnormal muscle tone
  • Has difficulty feeding and sucking
  • Favors one side of his or her body
  • Begins to crawl later than normal
  • Is easily startled
  • Exhibits poor coordination and/or balance
  • Shows difficulty swallowing
  • Muscles are rigid, or has floppy movements
  • Suffers from seizures

Cerebral palsy treatment options

Depending on the type and severity of CP, various therapies may be indicated to help the child attain optimum growth and development. As soon as the disorder is diagnosed, the infant or toddler may begin treatment for learning, speech, movement, hearing and social development. As the symptoms are often complex, a concerted effort of medical specialists is often required. A combination of orthopedic surgery, medications, and braces can help correct and improve some issues.

Since the brain damage can affect various functions, cerebral palsy may result in vision or hearing loss, food aspiration (the sucking of food or fluid into the lungs), gastroesophageal reflux, speech problems, osteoporosis, and cognitive delays. There is no cure for the birth injury, and victims will likely need medical care for the remainder of their lives.

File a cerebral palsy lawsuit

If you suspect your child´s cerebral palsy diagnosis resulted from medical malpractice during delivery or substandard care during pregnancy, you may be entitled to compensation in a court of law.  Balkin & Eisbrouch offer decades of experience in birth injury malpractice litigation and can determine your best options for pursuing legal recourse. Contact our law offices today for a free consultation with a birth injury lawyer. We´ll examine the facts and circumstances surrounding your case and, if we believe that medical personnel is liable for your baby’s injury, our team can file a cerebral palsy lawsuit on your behalf to recover damages for past and future medical expenses, rehabilitation, pain and suffering, and other losses.