Cerebral palsy is not one distinct condition, but an umbrella term for a variety of disorders that affect a child’s ability to move and develop muscle tone. These disorders are caused by damage to the baby’s developing brain during pregnancy, labor and delivery, or immediately after birth. When the medical professionals you trusted with the birth of your child fail to provide an appropriate level of care, you have the right to hold the negligent parties responsible for your child’s injuries.
The birth of your child should be one of the most important and celebrated moments in your family’s life. However, a birth injury can instead cause your child and family unforeseen pain and loss. When you suspect that your infant has been harmed during birth because of the negligence of medical professionals, there are important steps you can take to protect your child and your legal case.
Cephalopelvic disproportion, or CPD, occurs when a baby’s head or body is too large to fit through a mother’s pelvis or birth canal. This may be due to a small pelvis, abnormally shaped pelvis, breech or transverse lie position or a large baby. If CPD is not diagnosed and treated in a timely manner, it can cause fetal distress, brain damage, cerebral palsy, brachial plexus injuries and other birth injuries.
About 28,000 infants born in the United States each year—or 76 per day—suffer from a birth injury. In many instances, birth injuries arise due to medical mistakes, including miscommunication of pertinent medical information between practitioners during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Common birth injuries include, but are not limited to:
Cerebral palsy is a very common motor disability in children and affects nearly 10,000 babies each year. Cerebral palsy is not curable and will require treatment and support for a child’s entire lifetime.
Cerebral palsy affects a child's neurological systems that control functionality, coordination, and muscle control. It can be caused by a birth injury due to medical malpractice.
Cerebral hypoxia is a medical term used to describe a decrease in oxygen to the brain. The brain is very sensitive to decreased levels of oxygen and brain cells can begin to die after four minutes of being deprived of oxygen. The sooner the hypoxia is diagnosed and the underlying cause treated, the lower the risk of severe brain damage.
Cerebral hypoxia or a lack of oxygen to the brain can be caused by many things, including:
A uterine rupture in a pregnant patient during labor can be a life-threatening complication for both a mother and unborn baby. When a uterus ruptures, it tears open into the abdominal cavity and can cause a mother to hemorrhage and decrease the amount of blood and oxygen reaching a baby.
A uterus can rupture during active labor due to weakening in a previous C-section scar, hyperstimulation of the uterus, frequent or constant contractions or induced labor with Pitocin or oxytocin.
There are times when a health care worker may not perform up to the standard of care, and this is considered medical malpractice. This can occur during pregnancy and birth, which can cause permanent problems for your child.
Birth injuries can occur because of the negligence on the part of a nurse, doctor or other medical worker. Often, these mistakes are avoidable and occur because of the following:
Pitocin is a drug commonly used to induce or speed up labor. It is a synthesized form of a hormone that is naturally produced by a woman’s body when she goes into labor. When administered, it is supposed to result in uterine contractions to assist in the labor process. Unfortunately, it does not come without risk of harm to a baby.
During pregnancy, a fetus receives oxygen from the mother through the umbilical cord and the placenta. If that oxygen flow to the fetus is disrupted, it can cause oxygen deprivation (hypoxia), and lead to fetal distress. That oxygen deprivation can lead to permanent brain damage,hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), cerebral palsy (CP), developmental delays, seizures or infant death.