Cerebral palsy is one of the most common conditions that can be caused by birth injuries, occurring in 2.1 of every 1,000 live births. When it occurs as the result of negligence on the part of medical personnel, the parents may be entitled to compensation through a birth injury lawsuit filed against the medical providers.
Cerebral palsy refers to a group of movement disorders that are permanent and appear in early childhood. The condition is caused by an injury to the brain that occurs while the brain is developing, either before, during or shortly after birth. The damage caused to the brain affects the child’s muscle tone, muscle coordination and control, balance, reflex and posture. It can also cause problems with the child’s gross and fine motor skills and oral motor functioning, which can in turn affect speech.
The fact that a child develops cerebral palsy does not necessarily mean that a birth injury occurred. For instance, cerebral palsy can result from head trauma suffered as a young child. However, cerebral palsy is often caused by birth trauma, infections suffered during pregnancy, premature delivery or a lack of oxygen to the brain (also called hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy) suffered during birth. These birth injuries can result from medical malpractice.
Medical errors that can cause cerebral palsy include a failure to detect or treat infections during pregnancy, failure to detect a prolapsed umbilical cord, failure to correctly monitor fetal heart rate, failure to properly plan, schedule or perform a cesarean section when necessary and negligence in the use of forceps or vacuum during delivery.
If your child suffers from cerebral palsy and you believe it may be the result of mistakes made by medical personnel, it is important that you speak with an experienced birth injury attorney right away to learn about your rights.