Cerebral Palsy and Medical Malpractice

Is cerebral palsy preventable?

Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder stemming from damage to an infant’s brain.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that over 10,000 babies each year are born with cerebral palsy and more than 750,000 people worldwide live with at least one symptom of the disorder.  Cerebral palsy can cause a host of issues, ranging from problems with muscle coordination and movement to delays in speaking and swallowing. While several factors can lead to a diagnosis of cerebral palsy, at times the disorder can be caused by medical negligence.

Medical Errors Made During Pregnancy

Medical malpractice resulting in cerebral palsy can stem from actions taken during the pregnancy.  Medical errors during pregnancy that could lead to cerebral palsy include:

  1. Failure to treat infections:  Infections in the mother during pregnancy can quickly affect the developing baby.  If a doctor fails to detect or properly treat an infection, it could result in harm to the infant.  Infections can be bacterial, viral, parasitic, or fungal. Healthcare providers should routinely screen for infections and investigate if signs of an infection emerge in a pregnant woman.
  2. Medication errors:  At times, pregnant women will be prescribed medication during their pregnancy. Errors involving medication can lead to problems with the developing baby.  Potential instances of medical malpractice could include prescribing medication dangerous to the mother or child, improper dosing of mediation, or inadequate monitoring of the mother and fetus.
  3. Diagnostic errors:  Errors made in the diagnosis of a pregnant patient can lead to problems with the mother or baby.  Diagnostic errors could happen when a provider does not adequately review a patient’s records or fails to notice symptoms, does not address a patient’s concerns, or interprets test results incorrectly.

Medical Errors During Birth

It is believed that some 20 percent of all cerebral palsy cases result from brain damage occurring during the birth process.  Errors made during the birth can cause the infant to be deprived of oxygen, which can be a cause of cerebral palsy and other conditions.  Medical errors that might happen during birth include improper use of forceps, prolonged labor and the medical team’s failure to detect fetal distress, or untreated eclampsia or preeclampsia.  If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, contact a medical malpractice lawyer for assistance with your potential claim.

About the Author
Of all the different areas in medical malpractice, it is podiatry malpractice that has had a particular interest to me. With 42 years practicing law and representing hundreds of victims of malpractice, I have created a law practice in which my clients are comfortable knowing that their case is being handled with my personal attention, in the most professional manner, and without unreasonable delays.