Can Cerebral Palsy in Babies Be Caused by Medical Malpractice?

Brachial Plexus Injury

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Last edited 12/11/18

When Medical Malpractice Causes Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is a serious issue from insufficient oxygen flow to a baby’s brain during labor or delivery. This condition can be devastating in its own right if it was just an unfortunate circumstance that wasn’t anyone’s fault. But cerebral palsy in babies isn’t necessarily genetic. In many cases, medical malpractice or medical negligence triggers cerebral palsy in babies. Cerebral palsy can happen during delivery, a short time after birth, or even when a child experiences a traumatic event. If your child has cerebral palsy due to medical negligence or medical malpractice, then you might have a valid legal case to argue.

How Can Medical Malpractice Lead to Cerebral Palsy?

First, it should be established that there are times that medical personnel exercised full caution and care during delivery, yet there were negative outcomes that might not be medical malpractice. However, even doctors who exhaust the most reliable means to help you during labor and delivery can make simple medical negligence errors that can lead to cerebral palsy in babies.

Medical malpractice resulting in cerebral palsy can occur anytime between fetal development, delivery, or not too long after the baby is born. Cerebral palsy can result from hypoxia (lack of oxygen to the brain), asphyxia (when the body lacks oxygen), traumatic events during birth or premature delivery. In each instance, medical malpractice could be the cause, with mistakes made during various points.

Ways Medical Malpractice Causes Cerebral Palsy

1. Misinterpreting Data as Medical Malpractice

  • During your pregnancy’s early stages, you undergo several prenatal tests to determine how healthy your unborn child is. Misinterpreting data from these tests can take place, and you may not have been told about the possibility of your child developing a genetic or congenital disability like cerebral palsy. This form of medical malpractice can lead you to file a wrongful birth lawsuit as misinterpreted or withheld information can cost your child a healthy life. You may also file a wrongful life claim should a medical practitioner fail to detect a condition often diagnosed through an ultrasound, blood testing or amniocentesis. Doctors should relay any concerning test results or traits to you in a prompt manner so you can decide how to proceed.

2. Maternal Infections could be Medical Malpractice

  • Should you develop a maternal infection during pregnancy – which can be parasitic, bacterial, viral or fungal – this can affect your fetus and may cause cerebral palsy. A quick response is needed to address this infection and minimize or outright prevent damage to your baby’s brain tissue or other organs. Your doctor might be at fault for medical malpractice if they did not test you for common illnesses or did not treat your infection promptly and adequately. You can also hold your medical provider to account for medical negligence if they opted against testing your baby, even if infections were not suspected.

3. Diagnostic Errors are Medical Malpractice

  • Diagnostic errors can be ever-present through misinterpreting test result or not issuing a referral to a qualified specialist in the timeliest manner possible. Any failure to address symptoms with specific testing measures or address any other concerns you had may boost your case of medical malpractice against your medical provider. On the contrary, there may be system or administrative errors that have taken place. These include a failure to record all relevant medical conditions or a refusal to treat you due to age or other distinctions. There may also be disclosure breaches that could put your child at risk for cerebral palsy. This could include a failure to reveal alternative treatments as well as possible side effects.

4. Delivery Room Issues Could be Caused by Medical Malpractice

  • Several cerebral palsy cases center on issues that took place in the delivery room, with 20% of such cases happening due to brain damage during the birth process. In normal conditions, your placenta delivers oxygen to your baby until it can breathe on its own outside your womb. Different situations may trigger neurological damage in your baby caused by oxygen deficiency. Medical staff either failed to notice fetal distress that warranted an immediate C-section or used birth assistance tools such as a forceps improperly. If you have eclampsia or preeclampsia symptoms that doctors misdiagnosed or failed to treat with care due to medical negligence, you may experience seizures, and your child could suffer from cerebral palsy.

5. Care for Your Child After Birth Could be Medical Malpractice

  • In the ever-chaotic emergency room, physical harm to you or your child is also possible as administering medication could be a problem or there are blood-transfusion mistakes. Along the same lines, should your baby need surgery, he or she may be prone to errors on the operating table. During the procedure, damage may have been done to a particular area. Or, there was a failure to disclose or discuss alternatives to surgery. Rushing the process is ill-advised and all exploring all other options is a must before deciding how your child will receive treatment.

How to Determine if Medical Malpractice Took Place

It’s challenging to decipher whether medical malpractice is the reason your baby has cerebral palsy. However, help from experienced professional medical malpractice lawyers who can access your child’s medical records and determine discrepancies can make this process easier. If your baby suffered a seizure within his or her first 48 hours of life or your baby experienced head trauma, these signs require closer investigation. Closer inspection also becomes a necessity whenever signs of distress were evident, but the medical team failed to respond as soon as possible.

Promptness is urgent during a delicate situation such as the delivery and birth of a child. Any inconsistency or delay in treatment can lead to serious consequences for your child that may impact his or her long-term growth. You can seek compensation for medical malpractice for all the scenarios mentioned above or if the umbilical cord was compromised or an asphyxiated neonate wasn’t resuscitated. Given how expensive taking care of a child with cerebral palsy is, ranging from medical expenses to home care and rehabilitation, you should exhaust all remuneration your options. You can hold medical specialists liable for negligence and secure damages to ease your stress and offset expenses that come with such a damaging issue.

If you’re considering a lawsuit against your hospital or specialist for medical malpractice that caused cerebral palsy in your infant, you need all possible recommendations. The Safe Birth Project affords you all the necessary legal case help you need. Get in touch now!


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