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How Are Birth Injuries Related to Cerebral Palsy?

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How Are Birth Injuries Related to Cerebral Palsy?

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Cerebral palsy (CP) includes a group of permanent disorders affecting a child’s movement, muscle tone, posture, and even sensations, swallowing, and speaking. What many people may not know is that around 20% of cerebral palsy cases have been linked to birth injuries in the form of brain injuries according to the Cerebral Palsy Group. However, this number could potentially be higher since many symptoms of cerebral palsy may not occur for months or even years after the original injury is sustained.

It is thought that 50% of birth injuries could be avoided and occur due to medical malpractice according to the Pediatric Malpractice Guide.

Medical malpractice occurs when the exercise of medical judgment is done negligently, causing injury or damage to a patient. This includes failing to provide a reasonable degree of skill and care to a patient, referred to as the standard of care.

There are two kinds of birth injuries an infant can sustain; prenatal and postnatal.

Prenatal birth injuries occur while the infant is still in the womb, while postnatal injuries occur shortly after the infant has been born. Medical malpractice can occur in either situation. Many birth injuries occur due to inattention or dismissal of the information contained on the fetal monitoring strips.

Fetal monitoring strips are responsible for recording the monitoring of the baby’s heart rate before and during birth and are vital to a safe birthing process.

The baby’s heart rate is monitored using the sensor held against a pregnant woman’s abdomen with an elastic belt, and it can indicate whether a baby is under unnecessary stress during the birthing process, which could indicate it is time to perform a C-Section rather than risk the health of the mother and baby. While there are many kinds of birth injuries both prenatal and postnatal, brain injuries at birth are responsible for many cases of cerebral palsy.

A variety of medical issues during birth may be responsible for cerebral palsy.

Asphyxiation, infections, blood clots, placental anomalies, damage to the brain’s white matter, abnormal brain development, intracranial hemorrhages, and medical malpractice can occur before, during, or after birth resulting in brain injury to an infant which may then result in cerebral palsy. Delayed birth, oxygen deprivation, excessive use of medication to mother and/or child, shoulder misplacement, trauma, umbilical cord prolapse, and negligent acts on the part of one or more healthcare professionals can lead to brain injuries in infants.

The Safe Birth Project maintains that the majority of preventable birth injuries occur due to miscommunication between medical staff.

These instances of miscommunication often include a medical professional failing to inform another medical professional of signs that the infant and/or mother’s body is in distress, delaying treatment that could have otherwise presented the birth injury. Misdiagnosis, failing to identify and treat a mother’s infection, improper use of pharmaceuticals or medical instruments, and failure to follow standard medical procedures are all types of medical malpractice that commonly result in birth injuries including but not limited to cerebral palsy.

If you suspect your child’s cerebral palsy might have occurred due to medical malpractice in the form of a birth injury, you may be eligible to file a medical malpractice claim and seek compensation for your child’s injuries and subsequent medical costs. Seek legal counsel to learn your rights in regard to medical malpractice.

Written by on behalf of Michael Perez with Warshauer Law Group.

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