Cerebral palsy refers to a medical condition that involves abnormal development of a child’s brain or damage to a child’s developing brain, which impacts a child’s motor skills and may also be accompanied by speech and cognitive impairments. Although cerebral palsy is commonly considered a birth injury, further research has shown that cerebral palsy can be caused at any point over a span of time during pregnancy and during and shortly following birth.
What Are the Types of Cerebral Palsy?
Some medical experts classify cerebral palsy into one of two types:
- Congenital cerebral palsy, which refers to CP resulting from brain damage that occurs prior to, during, or shortly after birth. The overwhelming majority of cases of cerebral palsy are congenital in nature. Congenital cerebral palsy can result from low birth weight, premature birth, in utero infection, jaundice, medical complications suffered by the mother, and complications during delivery including uterine rupture and issues with the umbilical cord.
- Acquired cerebral palsy, which arises from brain damage that occurs more than a few days following birth. The brain damage that results in acquired CP may be caused by infection, such as meningitis, head injury caused by trauma, or other medical conditions such as stroke.
How Can Cerebral Palsy Be Caused at Birth?
Some cases of cerebral palsy can be caused at birth for multiple reasons, such as:
- Failure to monitor mother and baby for infections or other medical conditions, such as meningitis, varicella (chickenpox), rubella (German measles), or bacterial infections of the placenta or mother’s pelvic region.
- Failure to treat conditions at birth, such as jaundice, which if left untreated can develop into more serious conditions that can cause cerebral palsy.
- Failure to respond to complications during delivery, including placental detachment, uterine rupture, or other signs of fetal distress such as reduced blood or oxygen flow.
- Issues with delivery, such as breech birth (baby being delivered feet or backside first)
- Negligent use of delivery-assisting equipment, such as vacuum extractors or forceps.
- Exerting improper force on the baby’s head during delivery.
When Can You Sue for Cerebral Palsy?
You and your family may be entitled to recover compensation when your child has suffered cerebral palsy that can be attributed to negligent care rendered by your treating medical providers. Examples of circumstances that might give rise to a claim of medical malpractice if your child has suffered cerebral palsy include:
- Providers fail to diagnose or treat medical conditions suffered by mother or baby during the pregnancy, such as infections, diabetes, blood flow or clotting problems, or congenital heart defects
- Providers fail to take action in response to complications during delivery or signs of fetal distress during delivery, such as performing a cesarean section.
- Providers negligently use forceps or other instruments during delivery or exert improper pressure or force on the baby’s head that results in injury and brain damage.
- Providers fail to examine the baby for signs of infection or other medical conditions that can lead to brain damage and cerebral palsy, such as jaundice.
Contact A Medical Malpractice Attorney for a Consultation About Your Birth Injury Case in Pennsylvania
Were you or a loved one injured due to medical malpractice in Pennsylvania? Then you need to talk to an experienced medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible for guidance on how to proceed. The Erie birth injury attorneys at Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C. are prepared to assist you with your legal claim. We represent victims of negligent surgeons, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists throughout Pennsylvania, including Millcreek, Harborcreek, Fairview, and Meadville. Call us today at (814) 833-7100 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation. Our main office is located at 2525 W. 26th St., Erie, PA 16506, and we also have offices in Meadville and North East.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.