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Medical Malpractice

Cerebral Palsy and Medical Malpractice

— December 17, 2021

All cases that involve medical negligence will need to be thoroughly investigated in order to determine if there is a case.

Injuries caused by medical malpractice can result in serious conditions, such as cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is a condition that can arise from complications during childbirth. Not all cases of cerebral palsy involve negligence, but some do. You may be able to recover compensation in this type of case. If you are eligible to file for a cerebral palsy medical malpractice case, an experienced medical malpractice lawyer can help you.

What is Cerebral Palsy?

According to the CDC, cerebral palsy is a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance. It is a common motor disability for children. Cases range from mild to severe. A person with mild cerebral palsy may only need some assistance with walking, while someone with a more severe case may not be able to walk at all. Severe cases often need lifelong treatment and assistance with everyday tasks.

There are four main types of cerebral palsy:

  • Spastic Cerebral Palsy: characterized by stiff movements 
  • Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy: problems with uncontrollable movements as well as difficulty moving hands, arms, feet, and legs. 
  • Ataxic Cerebral Palsy: associated with problems with balance and coordination
  • Mixed Cerebral Palsy: mixed symptoms

There is no cure for cerebral palsy, but treatments can help make symptoms more manageable in life.

Causes of Cerebral Palsy

Though the overall cause is generally unknown, cerebral palsy can be caused by genetic disorders that involve brain deformations.

Cerebral palsy can also be caused by illnesses and injuries that cause brain deformation. Some common causes include:

  • Gene mutations
  • Maternal infections
  • Fetal stroke
  • Bleeding into brain
  • Traumatic head injury
  • Lack of oxygen
  • Infant illnesses
  • Infections during pregnancy

Some birth conditions are associated with risk to cerebral palsy but don’t necessarily cause it. Here are some factors:

  • Birth weight
  • Birth time
  • Number of babies
  • Delivery complications

There are also several medical mistakes that can be made by doctors and surgeons that cause cerebral palsy. Any failure to diagnose or properly handle birth complications that cause cerebral palsy could be viewed as a form of malpractice if it is considered negligent.

Medical Mistakes Associated with Cerebral Palsy

Mother comforting premature baby
Image courtesy of PublicDomainPictures via Pixabay,

While not all cases of cerebral palsy are due to medical malpractice, there are some situations where a doctor’s negligence causes it. Some examples of ways doctors can be negligent during pregnancy delivery include but are not limited to:

  • Failure to attend to abnormal bleeding
  • Failure to diagnose and treat an infection
  • Failure to respond to abnormal heart activity
  • Misuse of medical tools during delivery

All cases that involve medical negligence will need to be thoroughly investigated in order to determine if there is a case.

Do I Have a Medical Malpractice Case?

If your child has cerebral palsy but did not develop it from a medical error due to malpractice, you will not be able to file a medical malpractice claim. There will need to be sufficient evidence against the doctor or nurse in order to have a case.

There are also time limits when it comes to bringing forth medical malpractice claims. Every state has different laws for how long you have to file, so it is best to familiarize yourself with your state’s laws. If you do not wish to settle your dispute in court, it is possible to settle the situation outside of court, but depends on the details of your case. 

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