Cerebral palsy is a condition that is caused by damage to the developing brain of a baby either before, during, or after birth. In more general terms, birth injuries refer to different types of damage that occur during pregnancy, labor, or delivery. When it comes to cerebral palsy, most cases occur before babies are born, but a certain number of injuries occur every year in the delivery room as a result of medical negligence.
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Causes of Birth Injuries
Birth injuries leading to cerebral palsy can occur in many different ways. The likelihood of sustaining such injuries increases with the presence of specific symptoms and risk factors. Risk factors that can increase the likelihood that a birth injury or cerebral palsy occurs include all of the following:
- Infection of the mother or baby
- Low oxygen or a loss of oxygen/ blood flow to the baby’s brain
- Blood clots
- Abnormalities in the placenta
- High blood pressure in the mother
- Negligence/improper medical care
Identifying when and how a specific event caused damages that led to cerebral palsy can be difficult. Access to medical files may be restricted, you may be legally bound from seeking compensation for certain medical events from specific categories of practitioners, and you will be required to gather evidence of negligence on the part of specific parties before you can file a claim for compensation. We can help you put together a case, file on time with the right courts, and negotiate a settlement with the right parties so that you and your family can begin the process of healing and getting your life back together. Call today at (800) 222-9529 to learn more.
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Types of Brain Damage Leading to Cerebral Palsy
Birth injuries can lead to four basic types of brain damage. Knowing what these factors are and how they affect the baby can help diagnose and understand treatment options for cerebral palsy.
Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)
This type of brain damage is caused by low blood and oxygen reaching the brain of the baby right before delivery. HIE is a leading type of preventable birth injury. It destroys brain cells and brain tissue, mostly within the motor cortex of the baby.
Periventricular Leukomalacia (PVL)
This type of brain damage is the result of the death of white matter in the brain. White matter is what helps you learn and function. PVL occurs when there is a lack of blood flow to the part of the brain where the white matter is found. This white matter is comprised of nerve fibers that are responsible for sending the signals that control motor function. Placental abnormalities and infections can cause PVL.
This is the term used to describe bleeding in the brain. The most common cause of this type of injury is a stroke that is caused by blood vessels in the brain of the baby that is either blocked or damaged. High blood pressure and infections in the mother can cause this type of injury.
Anything that restricts the healthy development of the brain of a child or a fetus can lead to abnormal development of the motor center of the brain. Direct injury to a baby’s head during or soon after delivery can lead to cerebral dysgenesis, as can infections or gene mutations.
Other Preventable Birth Injuries
In addition to the above, other birth injuries that can lead to cerebral palsy happen to be very preventable, and the leading cause of these types of injury is negligence by the medical delivery or obstetrics team responsible for the care of the mother and her child during pregnancy, during labor, during delivery of the baby, and after the baby has been delivered.
Preventable birth injuries are most often caused by the following:
- A failure to detect infections in the mother during her pregnancy.
- A failure to effectively manage adverse effects that result from the use of drugs during pregnancy or labor, or medications using before, during, or after surgery.
- A failure to properly monitor the mother’s and the baby’s heart rate during delivery.
- A failure to perform a medically recommended C-section.
- The improper or incorrect use of delivery instruments such as forceps or a vacuum extractor.
- A failure to detect issues pertaining to the placenta or umbilical cord.
- Mismanagement of normal delivery procedures.
These shortcomings in medical judgment can lead to cerebral palsy by restricting the normal development of the baby or fetus, leading to lifelong disability and all of the symptoms that come with cerebral palsy in its various forms.
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Seeking Legal Help
The parents of children who suffer from cerebral palsy that was caused by a preventable birth injury are likely entitled to fair compensation under the law. Cerebral palsy is a serious condition and it requires lifelong treatment. The cost of raising a child who has cerebral palsy is many times higher than raising a child who does not have a disability.
You have the right to seek compensation via a lawsuit for your child’s pain, suffering, the costs associated with his or her care, and other losses you may incur, such as lost time from work and the cost of assistive devices. We specialize in birth injury cases and can help you with the following:
- Identifying how, when, and where your child sustained a preventable birth injury.
- Quantifying the cost of the injury and all associated losses.
- Understanding relevant statutes of limitation, filing and administrative requirements, and relevant insurance policies that pertain to your case.
- Collecting medical records, the testimony of medical staff and subject experts, and the performance records of other staff members who may have contributed to your child’s injuries.
- Negotiating a settlement with the hospital or medical team responsible for your child’s cerebral palsy.
- Representing you in court if a fair settlement cannot be arrived at.
Caring for a child with cerebral palsy can be exhausting and challenging, not just financially but emotionally and physically as well, but we are here to help. We are all a family and we work to secure the physical and financial wellbeing of our clients. Call us today at (800) 222-9529 to learn more about how we can help you with birth injuries and cases of cerebral palsy.