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If your child suffered a birth injury, such as Cerebral Palsy or Erb’s Palsy, and you want to speak to an experienced medical malpractice lawyer, please call The Carlson Law Firm today for a free consultation.
What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral Palsy is the most common childhood motor disability and about every one in 323 children has been identified with cerebral palsy according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Each year, about 10,000 babies born in the United States will develop cerebral palsy, and for many of those children, it could have been prevented.
Cerebral palsy can sometimes be caused from an abnormally long or difficult labor or if the umbilical cord cut off oxygen to the baby, leading to a brain injury from oxygen deprivation. The amount of time the child endured the injury will determine how severe the disability is, so time is critical when doctors are responding to complications.
Causes Of Cerebral Palsy.
In most cases, children who have cerebral palsy were born with it, quite often as the result of a lack of oxygen to the brain or body, premature birth, or trauma during the delivery process. It’s important to understand that just because a child is born with cerebral palsy doesn’t necessarily mean that medical malpractice occurred; even under the best of circumstances and the highest prenatal care and proper delivery procedures, things can go wrong. However, when medical malpractice is believed to be the cause of a child’s development of cerebral palsy, the common causes include:
Failure to detect and/or properly treat infections such as meningitis during pregnancy.
Failure to properly monitor the fetal heart rate during labor and delivery.
Failure to detect the existence of a prolapsed umbilical cord during pregnancy.
Failure to plan and schedule a cesarean section procedure when the size of a baby prevents it from safely passing through the birth canal.
Making negligent and unreasonable errors when using instruments such as vacuum and/or forceps while delivering a baby (could be using them when not necessary or not using them when necessary).
Can Cerebral Palsy Be Prevented?
Prior to a baby’s birth, the doctor should be able to diagnose the mother for potential infections, risk factors or complications during childbirth in addition to determining the baby’s size and proper course of delivery to ensure the safest possible birth. If a doctor failed to diagnose or plan around certain conditions, they may be liable for injuries or responsible for malpractice.
Even during childbirth, if it is apparent the baby has experienced oxygen deprivation, there are still steps the doctor could take to prevent cerebral palsy. One treatment option would be through hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which is a type of therapy that puts the baby in a decompressed chamber full of 100 percent oxygen to flood the tissue and brain that may have not received enough oxygen.
While some cases of cerebral palsy cannot be prevented, some cases can be prevented if the doctor acts fast enough.
Can Cerebral Palsy Cause Other Disabilities?
Since cerebral palsy is a brain injury, other areas of the brain can be affected. Some children with cerebral palsy have trouble with hearing, sight, and speech problems. Children may also have problems with bladder control and problems with muscles. Children with cerebral palsy should be regularly observed by an occupational therapist to prevent other problems.
What Kind of Care is Involved with Cerebral Palsy?
Once a child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, the parents are typically introduced to a team of professionals who can help clearly explain what the child needs. This meeting will likely draw up what’s called a Life Care Plan. A Life Care Plan is an itemized list of needs that the child will have during certain time frames of his or her life, involving accommodations that need to be made in the home.
How the Carlson Law Firm Can Help
Treatment for cerebral palsy over a lifetime could be expensive if the child requires extensive medical care, therapy and rehabilitation. If you or your child has cerebral palsy due to medical malpractice or negligence, contact one of our offices today. The Carlson Law Firm has a team of dedicated and experienced lawyers ready to help you.