Umbilical cord birth injury can cause cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is the result of injury to a specific part of the brain. This area of the brain controls motor function and coordination.
Any type of birth injury, disease, or maternal condition that can disrupt the flow of fresh blood full of oxygen and nutrients to the baby’s brain can damage the brain’s motor control center. When an issue compromises the umbilical cord and is not addressed immediately, the baby could develop cerebral palsy and many other disorders due to the damage to their brain.
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How Umbilical Cord Injuries Cause Cerebral Palsy
Asphyxia is one cause of brain damage that leads to cerebral palsy symptoms. Asphyxia occurs when the brain of a baby does not get the necessary supply of oxygen and nutrients. With an umbilical cord injury, a problem with the cord cuts off blood flow between the mother and baby.
An umbilical cord accident during gestation, labor, or delivery can cause asphyxia and result in cerebral palsy. While cord compression is common during delivery, it usually only lasts a very short time, and the baby does not sustain lasting damage.
However, when it lasts for more than a few minutes, the baby is likely to develop a condition called hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). HIE is a leading cause of disabilities in babies who experienced asphyxia.
HIE commonly affects certain areas of the brain, including those that control motor function. These children may experience cerebral palsy along with epilepsy, cognitive concerns, vision loss, deafness, and more.
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Outcomes for Babies with a Cerebral Palsy Diagnosis
Umbilical cord birth injury can cause cerebral palsy, but how this diagnosis affects the individual child will vary greatly. Many children with cerebral palsy will require therapy, medication, and ongoing monitoring, but not all need lifelong care and support. Many children with cerebral palsy have a very favorable prognosis.
Most children living with cerebral palsy live a relatively normal life aside from needing to maintain contact with their neurologists and other care providers to keep tabs on their condition. According to Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology:
- 53 percent of adults living with cerebral palsy interviewed had competitive employment
- 67 percent of participants lived on their own or with a spouse
Children with multiple diagnoses related to their umbilical cord injuries, such as cerebral palsy and cognitive disabilities or cerebral palsy and vision loss, may have a worse prognosis than children with only one diagnosis.
Some children who have more serious deficits related to their brain injury may require ongoing care and support. This includes those who have:
- Significant mobility concerns
- A severely affected cognitive ability
- Issues related to self-care
Cerebral Palsy Is Expensive to Treat
Cerebral palsy and other related conditions can be extremely expensive to treat and maintain. This is especially true in the first few years following diagnosis and severe cases. These children often require:
- Testing and medical imaging to determine their needs
- Several types of therapies, including physical, occupational, and speech
- Early intervention
- Additional assistance for daily activities
- In-home nursing support for those severely affected
According to the Journal of Managed Care & Specialty Pharmacy, in 2014, Medicaid paid out, on average:
- $43,687 for non-ambulatory people living with cerebral palsy
- $10,368 for ambulatory people living with this diagnosis
This average only includes covered medical care and therapies. It does not include totals for additional expenses, such as:
- Parents’ time away from work to provide care
- Respite care
- Money spent to renovate the home for a wheelchair or ease of mobility
- A wheelchair-ready vehicle
- The cost of tools and devices to help the family, such as lifts, gait trainers, and mobility aids
- Your child’s pain and suffering
- The diminished quality of life they may experience
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Seeking Compensation to Cover the Costs of Your Child’s Care
Your family may be able to recover compensation for your child’s care and support by filing a legal claim against those responsible for their condition. If you can prove medical negligence caused or worsened your child’s umbilical cord injury and cerebral palsy diagnosis, you may have a case.
The most common liable parties in these cases include:
- The obstetrician monitoring the pregnancy
- The doctor delivering the baby
- Another medical professional involved in the pregnancy or delivery
- The hospital where the delivery occurred
Our team will work with you to assign liability and gather the necessary evidence to prove your case. Most malpractice attorneys work based on contingency.
Speak with Our Team Now to Learn More About Your Rights
At the Birth Injury Lawyers Group, we offer free case reviews to families whose child has a cerebral palsy diagnosis. No matter the severity, this type of diagnosis may support a valid birth injury medical malpractice case.
Call (800) 222-9529 today to talk to a member of our team.