Cerebral palsy and birth injury: Can victims find justice?

Victims of medical malpractice can pursue justice through a civil suit. This can result in monetary awards to help cover the high cost of continued medical care and rehabilitation needs.

Cerebral palsy is a chronic condition that is often caused by injury to the brain. Depending on the cause of the injury, justice for victims may be available through a civil suit.

Cerebral palsy: What is it and what are common causes?

Medical experts at Mayo Clinic state that this disorder is most often the result of "insult to the immature, developing brain" prior to birth. The experts at Boston Children's Hospital, the medical facility affiliated with Harvard University; state that cerebral palsy can be caused by the following:

  • Premature birth. A baby is considered premature if he or she is born before completing 37 weeks of gestation.
  • Low birth weight. Babies that are less than 5 pounds 8 ounces shortly after birth are considered to have a low birth weight.
  • Neurological trauma. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that head injuries suffered by infants and young children during the birthing process and motor vehicle accidents can increase the risk of developing CP.

Neurological trauma during delivery can result from the improper or overly aggressive use of medical devices like forceps or vacuum during delivery.

The CDC also states that birth complications which result in a disruption of oxygen to the infant can increase the risk of developing cerebral palsy. Examples can include the detachment of the placenta, uterine rupture and problems with the umbilical cord during the birth. Proper monitoring before and during labor and delivery can reduce the risk of these risks.

Cerebral palsy: The result of medical malpractice?

If a medical professional failed to properly monitor or intervene during the labor and delivery of the infant, and this failure led to injuries that contributed to the development of CP, compensation is likely available to the victim. This could happen if the infant's heart rate was not properly monitored or if it became apparent the infant was in distress and accepted medical interventions were not taken.

The symptoms associated with cerebral palsy may not be apparent until the child's preschool years. Whether noticing these signs at birth or later in life, parents who are concerned their child may be the victim of medical malpractice leading to the development of cerebral palsy are wise to seek the legal counsel of an experienced birth injury lawyer. This legal professional will review the details of your case and advocate for your rights, working to better ensure your legal rights and any potential remedies are protected.