Cerebral palsy is a highly preventable brain injury that affects many children every year. Often cerebral palsy is a direct result of a negligent action taken by an obstetrician or other medical professional assisting with labor and delivery. If you or someone you know has a child with cerebral palsy, seek out a seasoned medical malpractice attorney for valuable information on your rights as a parent of an injured child.
How Cerebral Palsy is Caused
Ensuring an infant is receiving enough oxygen at all times is crucial to a successful birth. Heart rate monitoring is one way labor and deliver staff ensure proper oxygen delivery. If the child is not getting enough oxygen, the monitoring system should alert the staff of fetal distress.
In the majority of cases, the medical team is able to respond to distress and restore oxygen flow based on repositioning, ordering a C-section, and other efforts. In some cases, however, the obstetrician or doctor in charge makes a bad call, potentially disrupting the child’s airflow even further. Hypoxia, or lack of oxygen, is the primary cause of cerebral palsy, which essentially is a type of brain damage.
If the parents of a child with cerebral palsy choose to bring in a lawyer for investigative purposes, the following questions will help guide the case:
- Did the labor and delivery staff attempt every maneuver possible to prevent harm and maintain health?
- What specific action or inaction caused the baby’s low oxygen?
- How could a physician acting within the accepted standards of care prevented the oxygen deprivation?
- Was faulty equipment to blame for slow response time?
- The Effects of Cerebral Palsy
The ways cerebral palsy affects the body can vary depending on which part of the brain suffered oxygen deprivation and damage. Most infants who contract cerebral palsy as a result of prolonged oxygen deprivation will experience some type of central nervous system damage and abnormal bone and muscle growth.
Generally, children who are diagnosed with cerebral palsy will experience problems with movement throughout their entire lives. A condition without a cure, cerebral palsy causes balance and coordination problems, muscle stiffness, speech problems, muscle spasms, and muscle weakness.
Proving Medical Malpractice
With little knowledge of the body and modern medicine, it can be nearly impossible for parents of children diagnosed with cerebral palsy to prove that a physician’s negligence caused their babies injuries. Parents who suspect malpractice often face resistance, placating or dismissive responses, and even blatant cover up measures when accusing doctors or nurses of wrongdoing. If you suspect a bad decision during labor and delivery may be the cause of your child’s cerebral palsy, talk to a skilled birth injury lawyer in your area for information on your rights to compensation.