Cerebral palsy is preventable, although not always. In some cases, it occurs because of issues within the developing brain that doctors cannot predict or prevent. However, it also frequently develops because of a medical error, preventable birth injury, or medical negligence.
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Many Cases of Cerebral Palsy Are Preventable
There are many causes of the types of brain injuries that lead to cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is preventable when the causes for the condition are:
- Maternal infections that can spread to the baby
- Infections in the womb or after birth that cause inflammation in the brain
- Problems with the placenta or other conditions that limit the blood supply to the baby’s brain before or during delivery
- Difficult labor and delivery that results in the baby not getting enough oxygen
- Traumatic brain injury during birth, often because of forceps or vacuum extraction
In many of these cases, close monitoring by a doctor during pregnancy, labor, and birth would offer an opportunity to take action and prevent permanent brain damage to the baby. There are interventions available for many of these causes, and other causes are easy to avoid if your doctor provides an acceptable standard of care.
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Diagnosis and Treatment of Cerebral Palsy
If your child does experience a birth injury or there is another reason to believe they may have the condition, you can watch for the signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy from a young age. Getting an early diagnosis and treatment may help improve the outcome and increase the quality of life in some children.
According to the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation, some of the symptoms to watch for include:
Signs of Cerebral Palsy in Babies
- Low muscle tone
- Too floppy or too stiff
- Muscle spasms
- Unable to hold his head up on his own when other babies the same age can
- Cannot lift head while lying on his stomach
- Poor muscle control and reflexes
- Poor posture or inability to sit unassisted after six months of age
- Significant delays in hitting developmental milestones
- Difficulties related to feeding or swallowing
- Noted preference for one side of the body
Signs of Cerebral Palsy in Toddlers
- Not able to pull up
- Not walking by 12 to 18 months
- Walking but having trouble with gait or controlled movement
- Not speaking simple sentences by 24 months
If you observe signs of cerebral palsy in your child, if they experience uncontrolled muscle movements, if they have seizures, or if they experience developmental delays or fail to meet normal developmental milestones, you should discuss your concerns with their doctor. Getting early treatment and support can help prevent some complications, including painful contractures and cognitive damage related to uncontrolled seizures.
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Cerebral Palsy Lawsuits
Doctors have a duty to provide an acceptable standard of care to every patient, including mother and baby. When they fail to do so, and their patients suffer injuries because of it, this is medical malpractice. If your child suffered a preventable birth injury because of an error or negligence on the part of your doctor, their cerebral palsy diagnosis may be grounds for a medical malpractice birth injury lawsuit.
When you consult an attorney in your state about your birth injury case, they will investigate what happened and work closely with a medical expert witness who can testify about:
- Whether your child’s cerebral palsy was preventable
- Whether the doctor provided an acceptable standard of care
- If the doctor committed a medical error or medical negligence
If they find that your doctor failed to prevent your child’s cerebral palsy, you may be able to recover damages to help you pay for their medical needs, ongoing care costs, future expenses related to their diagnosis, pain and suffering, and more.
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Talk to a Birth Injury Lawyer in Your State Today
The best way to learn more about your legal options is to talk to an attorney who handles birth injury medical malpractice cases in your state. The laws on how to pursue this type of payout and how long you have to take legal action can vary widely from state to state and even based on the specific facts of your case.
Most birth injury attorneys offer complimentary consultations and take on the cases at little or no out-of-pocket cost to the family. This means you may be able to pursue compensation with nothing to lose. If you do not recover a payout, your attorney will not get paid.
The Birth Injury Lawyers Group can help you connect with a medical malpractice attorney near you. Call us today at 1-800-222-9529 and have your free case review with a birth injury lawyer in your state soon.