Some injuries a baby sustains during birth will heal completely -- or improve significantly -- with time. Other injuries, though, will remain with a child for the duration of their life. Cerebral palsy is one such injury. If your child’s cerebral palsy birth injury resulted from negligence during childbirth, meet with an attorney to discuss your case today.
What is cerebral palsy?
The word "cerebral" refers to the brain, and the word "palsy" means paralysis or incapacity. As such, cerebral palsy is any of a number of neurological disorders that result in impairment of movement and coordination. Cerebral palsy can vary in severity, and does not worsen over time. Some children and adults with cerebral palsy may have mild impairment that affects their ability to move but does not require long-term care. Others, however, may have severe cerebral palsy that results in complete paralysis of limbs, prevents the individual from being able to communicate orally and requires the individual to have around-the-clock support. There is no cure for cerebral palsy, although different treatment options can help a child learn to live with physical and speech disabilities.
Causes of Cerebral Palsy
There are multiple causes of cerebral palsy, and sometimes, the exact cause of cerebral palsy in a specific child is unknown. However, what is known is that cerebral palsy occurs as a result of disturbance in the brain during fetal development. In rare cases, a child may develop cerebral palsy in infancy as a result of brain damage or brain infection, such as meningitis. Most commonly, cerebral palsy occurs before the child is even born or during the birthing process.
Factors that may lead to cerebral palsy in a developing fetus include an infection in the mother, a fetal stroke or fetal asphyxia, which is a lack of oxygen to the fetal brain.
Fetal Asphyxia and Childbirth
Lack of oxygen to a developing baby’s brain is one of the most common causes of cerebral palsy. Unfortunately, lack of oxygen is often recognizable when monitoring the fetus properly and may actually be the result of doctor negligence during childbirth. Lack of oxygen may occur because of a health complication of the mother (such as extremely high blood pressure), a birthing complication (such as the baby becoming stuck in the birthing canal) or due to the baby’s umbilical cord getting wrapped around the baby’s neck. When any of the above occurs, it is the doctor's responsibility to take action immediately. When a doctor fails to correct asphyxia with emergency action, serious harm such as a cerebral palsy birth injury may result. The longer that the levels of oxygen to the baby’s brain are low, the greater the chance is of the child developing cerebral palsy.
Recovering Compensation for a Child’s Cerebral Palsy
When cerebral palsy in a child would not have occurred but for the lack of action -- or a wrongful action -- of a healthcare provider, the parents of the child can file a claim for damages on the child’s behalf. A suit can recover financial assistance to pay for the child’s medical and future medical expenses, physical therapy or rehabilitative care, loss of future earning capacity, and more.
At Cordisco & Saile LLC, we understand how difficult it can be to know that your child faces a condition that he or she wouldn’t have had, had proper care been exercised. While filing a lawsuit can be difficult, we promise to guide you every step of the way. To learn more about negligence during childbirth and compensation that your family may be able to recover, call us at 215-642-2335.