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Birth Injury Guide: Cerebral Palsy

Can I sue if my child has cerebral palsy?

Each year, approximately 8,000 children will be diagnosed with cerebral palsy, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cerebral palsy is now the most common motor disability in children.  Injuries occurring at birth are a leading cause of cerebral palsy. Birth injuries can occur during pregnancy, labor, or delivery.  While some birth injuries happen spontaneously, other injuries are the result of medical malpractice.  

Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is a medical term that encompasses a number of neurological disorders that impact body movement and coordination.  Cerebral palsy is not always easily recognized at birth.  Concerns often arise as the child grows and fails to meet certain developmental milestones.  Milestones include the baby’s ability to hold its head up, roll over, sit up, suck properly, and more.  

Cerebral palsy symptoms range in severity, with some children being more afflicted than others.  Symptoms to look for include a lack of motor control, rigidity, and shaky arms and legs.  Vision and hearing impairments can be associated with cerebral palsy, as can difficulty with eating, swallowing, or speaking.  Any parent with concerns about their child’s development should address these issues with a physician as soon as possible.  

Cerebral Palsy and Medical Malpractice

Cerebral palsy can be caused by a number of medical mistakes that lead to a lack of oxygen to the baby’s brains.  Potential instances of medical malpractice include:

  • Delays in performing a medically necessary cesarean section;
  • Failure to identify and treat infections during pregnancy;
  • Failure to uncover a prolapsed umbilical cord;
  • Failure to use a fetal heart rate monitor during labor and birth; and
  • Negligence in using tools, such as a vacuum and forceps, when delivering the baby.

Cerebral palsy can lead to a lifetime of medical expenses.  Children with cerebral palsy may require medication, surgery, therapy, and adaptive equipment.  If you suspect your child’s disorder was caused by the negligence of a medical professional, contact a medical malpractice attorney right away.  You may be able to file suit against the negligent doctor to obtain coverage for your child’s medical and associated costs.  

Posted in: Medical Malpractice