Cerebral Palsy Caused by Medical ErrorSeptember 12, 2017
Cerebral palsy affects up to 10,000 children each year, according to the Cerebral Palsy Group, a non-profit advocacy organization. Cerebral palsy is a group of neurological disorders affecting coordination, balance, and movement. The area of the brain that controls muscle movement is damaged, causing those with the disability to have difficulty with muscle control, speech and other motor functions. Many of these cases that lead to birth injury are the result of medical malpractice during pregnancy or during birth.
Causes of Cerebral Palsy Medical Malpractice During Pregnancy
Medical professionals may fail to conduct the appropriate prenatal tests to determine the health of the baby or may misinterpret data from those tests. Parents are entitled to receive full disclosure of test results; if there was a possibility that the baby would be born with genetic or congenital defects and the parents were not informed, they may have a medical malpractice claim. Parents are also entitled to have adequate time to make decisions regarding the pregnancy; if they would have considered terminating the pregnancy upon knowing there was the possibility of such defect, they may pursue a wrongful birth or wrongful life lawsuit.
When health care providers fail to test for common illnesses or the mother did not receive prompt, adequate treatment, an avoidable birth injury may occur. Failure to test and/or treat any maternal infections is another form of medical malpractice. Errors regarding medications may also be considered medical malpractice when:
- The prescribed medication was dangerous for the mother or baby
- The mother was prescribed an improper dose of medication
- The medical team failed to consider the medication’s potential harmful interaction with other medications the mother is taking
- The anesthesia was not monitored correctly during surgical procedures
Causes of Cerebral Palsy Due to Medical Negligence During Birth
According to the Cerebral Palsy Group, approximately 20 percent of cerebral palsy cases result from brain damage that occurs during the birth process. Normally, the placenta delivers oxygen to the baby until the baby is outside of the womb and able to breathe on their own. Sometimes, medical errors during birth cause a restriction of this oxygen supply, often leading to a birth injury such as cerebral palsy. Such medical errors include the improper use of forceps, the failure to perform an immediate cesarean section when warranted by signs of fetal distress, prolonged labor due to conditions preventing the baby from being born vaginally, and failure to diagnose and treat eclampsia or preeclampsia in the mother.
The chaotic setting of the emergency room can often lead to instances of medical malpractice such as administering improper medications, incorrect diagnoses or blood transfusion mistakes, all of which may lead to birth injury. Medical personnel may also fail to sufficiently test and/or treat the baby after birth or provide other necessary treatments in a timely manner. Certain conditions must be addressed to minimize or prevent damage to the baby, such as a maternal infection, umbilical cord problems, placenta previa, abruption, uterine complication, or cephalopelvic disproportion. When medical professionals fail to address these foreseeable, preventable problems, they may be liable for medical malpractice.
Baltimore Cerebral Palsy Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Fight to Protect Your Rights in Birth Injury Lawsuits
If your child suffers from cerebral palsy and you believe it may be due to medical malpractice, contact a skilled Baltimore cerebral palsy lawyer at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We represent clients throughout Maryland from our offices in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson. Contact us online or call us at 800-547-4LAW (4529) for a free, confidential consultation.