Cerebral Palsy and Medical Malpractice — Is There a Connection?

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. CP is the most common motor disability in childhood. According to The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), as many as 10,000 children (1 in 323) are diagnosed with varying degrees of CP each year.

The brain damage that leads to CP can happen before birth, during birth, within a month after birth, or during the first years of a child’s life, while the brain is still developing.

Unfortunately, CP can also be the result of preventable medical malpractice.

At the law firm of Diez-Arguelles & Tejedor, we help families affected by this kind of malpractice. Our qualified experts will tell you if you may be able to sue those responsible for your child’s CP. We’ll tell you if you can obtain monetary damages to cover the long-term costs of treatment. Monetary damages may be available for your child’s own personal losses, as well.

What causes cerebral palsy?

CP can result from many different causes related to improper development of the brain. CP related to brain damage that happened before or during birth is called congenital CP. The majority of CP (85%–90%) is congenital. While in many cases the specific cause is not known, risk factors include:

• If the child’s birth weight was less than 5.5 pounds (2,500g)
• If the child was born prematurely, before the 37th week
• In the case of multiple births, particularly if a baby’s twin or triplet dies before or after birth
• If the child is born from pregnancies resulting from certain infertility treatments.
• If the mother passed an infection onto her child during pregnancy
• If the child suffered jaundice and it was left untreated for too long
• If the mother suffered a medical condition such as thyroid problems, seizures, or intellectual disability
• When birth complications occur, such as detachment of the placenta, uterine rupture, or if the umbilical cord disrupted the supply of oxygen to the baby

What does a diagnosis of cerebral palsy mean for my child?

With early care and assistance, children with cerebral palsy can achieve their full potential. Many young people with CP do lead independent and active lives. However, they need a lot of care from a number of professionals, including the treatment of a physiotherapist to help with movement and in some cases speech therapists and psychologists.

Was my child’s cerebral palsy the result of medical malpractice?

Unfortunately, many children with cerebral palsy were injured during the birth process, sometimes as the result of a healthcare provider’s failure to perform a timely c-section. When a c-section is unnecessarily delayed, especially for mothers who have been diagnosed with hypertension, a placental abruption, or fetal distress, this can cause brain damage to the baby. CP may also be the result of the misuse of forceps or errors in medication.

While not every case of CP is caused by medical malpractice, cases can include:

• Failure to offer the appropriate pre-natal tests that determine the health of an unborn child
• A lack of information on the consequences of giving birth to a child with genetic or congenital defects
• The improper diagnosis and treatment of maternal infections, including bacterial, viral, fungal, or parasitic
• Lack of testing for a variety of common illnesses during pregnancy
• The inappropriate use of medication or incorrect prescription and/or the failure of medical personnel to consider the risks of medications the mother is already taking
• The inadequate monitoring of the mother and child when anesthesia is used during surgery
• Failure to provide any necessary treatment to the mother or child in a timely manner
• Errors that occurred on the operating table

Many events related to pregnancy, labor, or delivery may give rise to a claim for medical malpractice. Although it can take up to 18 months to reach an official CP diagnosis, an attorney may be able to help you throughout this process.

The law office of Diez-Arguelles & Tejedor has recovered more than $50 million for our clients in medical malpractice claims alone. If you or a loved one is the victim of medical malpractice there is a legal deadline for filing these lawsuits, so call NOW toll free 1-888-888-3773. The consultation and calls are FREE.