Cerebral palsy (CP) is a medical term that describes a variety of disorders and impairments that a child may experience as a result of damage to the brain during pregnancy or labor and delivery. The symptoms a child with cerebral palsy experiences vary depending on how badly the child’s brain was affected and the portion of the brain that experienced damage.
Cerebral palsy sometimes results from mistakes that doctors or other medical professionals make when providing prenatal care or when delivering a baby. If a health care provider’s negligence causes cerebral palsy, the care provider may be held legally liable.
An experienced birth injury lawyer at Joye Law Firm can help victims of cerebral palsy caused by negligence recover the compensation they deserve. Call Joye Law Firm at (888) 324-3100 or fill out our online contact form for a free and confidential claim evaluation.
Causes of Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy occurs when a part of the brain is damaged, affecting the central nervous system and interfering with the brain’s ability to control the body.
Damage to the brain can occur for many reasons, including:
- A maternal infection during birth that impairs the proper development of the baby’s nervous system and brain. Infections that can lead to cerebral palsy include cytomegalovirus, rubella and toxoplasmosis.
- Rh incompatibility. If a blood condition in the mother causes the immune system to reject the baby as a foreign object, this can cause CP.
- Oxygen deprivation during birth that leads to brain cell death.
- Stroke occurring in the mother or baby during birth, cutting off oxygen to the brain.
- Untreated jaundice.
- Brain bleeding, which can be caused by external trauma to the baby such as the aggressive use of forceps or a vacuum extractor.
- Prolonged labor that results in the compression of brain cells, brain bleeding or deprivation of oxygen to the brain.
- Preeclampsia or placental abruption causing an interruption of oxygen flow to the brain.
- Umbilical cord prolapse.
- Overuse of Pitocin, a labor-inducing drug.
These and other causes of cerebral palsy may be divided into two broad categories: injuries to the brain and central nervous system that result from oxygen deprivation and injuries to the brain and central nervous system that result from external trauma.
If the negligence of a doctor or other medical professional is responsible for either type of cause – such as by failing to recognize a drop in oxygen, waiting too long to order a Caesarean section or using the forceps too aggressively – then the doctor or care provider could be held responsible for causing the child’s cerebral palsy.
Consequences of Cerebral Palsy
Although each case is different, some of the problems and symptoms that a child with cerebral palsy may experience include:
- Cognitive impairment
- Learning disabilities
- Behavioral disorders
- Speech problems and communication abnormalities
- Muscle twitching
- Difficulty controlling muscles
- Unsteady gait
- Impaired balance
- Muscle spasms
- Scissor or toe walking
- Abnormal tension or resistance to movement in the muscles
- Joint deformities
- Bone deformities
Cerebral palsy is non-progressive, which means the level of impairment should not get worse. The level of impairment can usually be classified by the time a child reaches age 6. While there is no cure, there are various therapies to help a child reach his or her full potential.
For children with mild CP, it may be possible to grow up and live a relatively normal life, with some limited health issues and some minor difficulties with motor function. For those with severe CP, however, permanent, round-the-clock care may be required for the rest of the child’s life.
Holding Doctors and Care Providers Responsible for CP
Doctors and other medical providers can make mistakes in providing prenatal care, in the labor and delivery process or when providing treatment of a baby immediately following a difficult delivery. These and other medical mistakes may cause a child to develop cerebral palsy.
Taking legal action and getting full and fair compensation can be difficult, especially for families trying to cope with the realities of treating the symptoms of cerebral palsy.
Our South Carolina birth injury attorneys at Joye Law Firm can help you through the confusion and strain that come with a cerebral palsy diagnosis related to medical negligence. Respect, compassion and care are what you can expect from our lawyers and staff. Since 1968 we have helped injured people recover not just the money they are entitled to, but also their lives.