Cerebral Palsy Due to Birth Trauma
Cerebral palsy refers to a number of different neurological disorders arising from damage to the area of the brain that controls body movement and muscle coordination. In addition, those who suffer with the disorder have trouble with their posture and balance. There are varying degrees of the disorder. Some people are hardly affected at all and others are debilitated to a degree that requires them to have life-long care.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), cerebral palsy is the most common motor disability and affects one in every 323 children. Unfortunately, there is no known cure. Some causes of cerebral palsy are not known. There is speculation that it could be caused by abnormal brain development during gestation due to a genetic defect for which there is no prevention. Another cause may be a maternal infection that affected the normal development of the brain. One known cause is a traumatic birth injury, which is almost 100 percent preventable.
Birth Injuries and Cerebral Palsy
Although not all cases of cerebral palsy are due to birth injuries, many are caused by medical malpractice that occurred during labor and delivery or shortly before birth that result in a perfectly normal fetus being injured to a degree that the baby is born with cerebral palsy. Some major types of birth injuries include, but are not limited to:
- Failure to properly monitor the fetal heart rate and failure to note when the fetus is in distress resulting in oxygen deprivation.
- Failure to plan for a cesarean section when a baby is too large or extremely overdue, or a delay in performing a medically necessary C-section when it is noticed the baby is in distress.
- Prolonged labor where the baby is stuck in the birth canal and deprived of oxygen.
- RH incompatibility factor between the mother and the baby.
- Premature birth.
- Carelessly using forceps or a vacuum extractor during delivery that causes damage to the baby’s head and brain.
Cerebral Palsy Symptoms
There are different types of cerebral palsy, but some symptoms all have in common include:
- Lack of muscle tone and spastic movements.
- Abnormal reflexes.
- Lack of motor control.
- Speech problems.
- Developmental delays.
When cerebral palsy is due to a birth injury, there may be other types of neurological damage resulting in problems with speech, hearing and sight. The affected baby may even suffer from bladder control and epilepsy. As the child develops, psychological disorders may become apparent. The only good news is that it is not a progressive disorder so it will not get worse.
Cerebral Palsy Treatment
There is currently no known cure, but studies are ongoing in search of one. Depending on the severity and what muscles are involved, surgical intervention along with physical and occupational therapy may help. There are various medications that may alleviate symptoms.
Medical Malpractice Claims
Although it may seem straight forward to parents of a child with cerebral palsy, proving the cause of the disorder is due to medical malpractice is complicated and difficult to prove. A Davis Levin Livingston birth injury lawyer will meet with you and review all the facts of your case. The attorney will gather evidence and have a professional review the medical records. Medical experts may be consulted to determine if the disorder was preventable and caused by medical malpractice. If you have a valid claim you may be able to collect damages including all medical costs for your child for the child’s entire life. There may be other compensation available to you depending on the nature of your case.
Time is an important factor and the law requires you to file your compensation claim within a certain period of time after you discover the injury. Consult our attorneys as soon as possible and do not take the risk that you will be shut out of the courthouse because you filed your claim too late.