Cerebral palsy is the most common of all childhood disabilities, affecting about two to three live births out of 1,000 in the United States.
It is a common example of a birth injury that can happen when medical professionals are not properly vigilant during labor and delivery. Cerebral palsy results when there is insufficient oxygen or physical trauma to a baby’s brain. Although there are treatments for the symptoms of cerebral palsy, there is no cure.
What is Cerebral Palsy?
The actual term “cerebral palsy” refers to a group of disorders that affects a person’s brain (cerebral) and the way that they use their muscles (palsy). These neuro-muscular deficiencies are all marked by a lack of muscle control and coordination, making many basic motions impossible. Children with cerebral palsy may not be able to walk, talk, eat or play in the same ways as most other children. As a form of brain damage, the manifestations of cerebral palsy vary from person to person. The part of the brain that is damaged determines which part of the body is affected by abnormal muscle tone. Complications can include:
- Complete lack of muscle control
- Difficulty with speech
- Impaired fine motor skills, such as grasping or manipulating objects
- Impaired gross motor skills, such as walking or moving arms or legs
- Mental retardation
- Muscle spasms.
Cerebral Palsy Caused By Medical Malpractice
The factors that lead to cerebral palsy are often preventable. This is especially tragic when cerebral palsy is the result of a mistake by doctors, nurses, support staff, technicians or hospitals. Medical professionals owe a duty to monitor the health of their patients and the health of their patients’ unborn children to the best of their ability. An obstetrician’s failure to detect possible birth defects or other complications during a pregnancy may make him or her liable for a child’s subsequent cerebral palsy. It is also a physician’s responsibility to anticipate and manage problems that arise during birth in the most effective manner possible.
When an expectant mother goes into labor, doctors and their medical team must timely and attentively monitor the birth’s progress and the fetus’s status. This is commonly done by frequent vaginal examinations and electronic fetal heart monitoring. A lack of progress or an abnormal heart rate signals fetal distress, and the medical team should react appropriately. It is also necessary for the treating doctor to monitor the infant’s position and be ready to perform a Caesarean section (C-section) if necessary. Delays in action can lead to complications like cerebral palsy.
The birthing process often includes the administering of medications. Any drugs used during labor must be correctly given to prevent injuries to the fetus. Overdoses of certain drugs can affect breathing in the mother, which then affects fetal oxygen supplies. Some deliveries are so difficult that vacuum extractors or forceps are needed. If used improperly or with excessive force, these tools can cause significant trauma to the soft tissue of the infant’s skull and damage to the brain.
Legal Help for Cerebral Palsy
If a doctor’s mistake occurred before or during the birth of your child, you may be entitled to damages for your child’s cerebral palsy condition. Keep in mind that any medical malpractice lawsuit, including cerebral palsy litigation, is very complex, and a case can sometimes be challenging to prove.
Therefore, if you think an instance of cerebral palsy was avoidable, it is vital to seek the help of a qualified medical malpractice attorney who can review the circumstances.
For more than 50 years, the Middle Georgia cerebral palsy lawyers of the Mann Law Firm have helped the families of injured infants throughout the state. You can rely on our experience with the legal system and our commitment to our clients to help you get the best result possible under the circumstances of your case. To learn how we can help you, call us today at (478) 742-3381 or fill out this online form. We are proud to offer free initial case evaluations and to represent clients throughout the state of Georgia, including the communities of Macon, Dublin, Warner Robins, and Milledgeville.
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