According to the Cerebral Palsy International Research Foundation, cerebral palsy (CP) is the most common physical disorder that affects children. A child is born suffering from cerebral palsy, every hour in the United States alone. A low estimation of 500,000 people—infants, children, and adults—are currently suffering from some form of cerebral palsy with no hope of a cure.
With this many victims, shouldn’t CP awareness be a top priority for medical professionals?
What Caused Your Child’s Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy can be caused by several different factors. However, these factors result from one of two actions: damage to the brain inside of the womb, or damage to the brain outside of the womb. Although in many cases the specific cause of cerebral palsy is unknown, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that 85 to 90 percent of CP cases are congenital (occur before or during the birth). In these cases, CP is thought to be caused by maternal or fetal infections that affect brain development, hypoxia, or physical head injuries.
Unfortunately, many of these factors occur as a direct result of medical negligence. Malpractice that could result in infantile cerebral palsy include:
- Delayed diagnosis and treatment of maternal infections. Since the fetus relies on its mother’s blood for nutrition and sustainability, anything that affects her blood will also affect its blood. Some infections (meningitis, pneumonia, etc.) can target cerebral development and inflame or damage the fetus’ brain while it’s attempting to grow.
- Forceful delivery. Some deliveries are easier than others, but due to narrow birth canals, baby size, and unseen complications, some deliveries can be brutal—not only for the mother but also the child. In these cases, the doctor may decide to help pull your baby out the birth canal by grasping his head, twisting his neck and shoulders, and forcefully yanking him. Unfortunately, excessive force such as this can not only cause tears in your baby’s neck muscles and spine, but it can also cause swelling, bruising, and bleeding in his underdeveloped brain.
- Excessive forceps pressure. During a difficult delivery where your baby is stuck in the opening of the birth canal and is too far to reach manually, a doctor may choose to use forceps to help guide him out. Forceps are designed much like tongs. Therefore, if your doctor puts too much pressure on the forceps, he could unfortunately wind up crushing your baby’s extremely soft skull, in turn causing damage his brain.
- Negligent delay during fetal distress. When your baby shows signs of distress, it usually means that he isn’t getting enough oxygen or blood flow. This could be caused by anything from the mother’s low blood pressure to the baby’s umbilical cord being wrapped around his neck. No matter what the reason, your doctor needs to quickly assess the situation and decide the fastest way to get your baby out. The longer the distress the worse your baby’s risk. A lack of oxygen could cause asphyxiation (suffocation) and brain damage, while restricted blood flow could deny your baby’s brain the nutrients it needs to survive, resulting in a infantile stroke.
- Improper handling of the infant’s skull. Once your baby is delivered, he is still at risk for medical negligence. Since his skull is purposefully soft to aid in delivery, any excessive force, impact, or pressure when being handled can cause serious head and brain injuries. Being dropped, forcefully held down by the head, or having his head knocked into something by the doctor or nurses could spell disaster for his brain development.
Fighting for Your Child
If you feel that your baby was a victim of medical negligence resulting from delivery complications or medical negligence, you may deserve malpractice compensation. Our extensive experience with birth injury cases help you and your child get the justice and treatment settlement you deserve. Don’t allow your doctor’s mistake to cost your baby a lifetime’s worth of hardships. Contact us today for a free consultation.
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