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What Medical Mistake Can Cause Cerebral Palsy?

What Medical Mistake Can Cause Cerebral Palsy?

Medical malpractice is the leading cause of birth injuries in the United States. These injuries, which are often life-threatening, occur when medical professionals fail to provide proper care during labor and delivery.

Birth injuries significantly increase the cost of raising a child, especially when trying to ensure your little one has the quality of life they deserve. Cerebral palsy is a permanent birth injury and life-long condition that will affect both child and parent for the rest of their lives and is often caused by medical malpractice.

Our Maryland medical malpractice lawyers understand that birth injuries are devastating and that medical malpractice is often a result of negligent actions. We offer free consultations and will fight for your rights. We represent clients throughout the state and handle cases from all over Maryland.

Local resources for families:

  • United Cerebral Palsy
  • Birth Injury Help Center
  • Kennedy Krieger's Center for Autism and Related Disorders
  • Greater Baltimore Medical Center

What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a condition caused by damage to the developing brain. This causes problems with muscle control, posture, movement, and coordination. It affects one in every four children born in the United States.

There are two types of cerebral palsy: hemiplegia and diplegia.

  • Hemiplegia means paralysis affecting half of the body, such as the arms and legs.
  • Diplegia means paralysis affecting both sides of the body, such as the arms and legs.

Symptoms include difficulty walking, talking, swallowing, chewing, and breathing.

Children with cerebral palsy may have trouble learning to walk, talk, sit, stand, and play. They often have seizures and intellectual disabilities.

Many children with cerebral palsy have epilepsy. Epilepsy is a disorder characterized by recurrent seizures.

Can Medical Malpractice Cause Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a condition caused by an injury or illness occurring during pregnancy or birth. This condition affects movement and posture, causing muscle tone and coordination problems.

A doctor who fails to diagnose or treat a pregnant woman correctly may expose the unborn child to harmful conditions. For example, a physician may fail to recognize the symptoms of preeclampsia, a disorder characterized by high blood pressure and proteinuria. As a result, the mother may deliver prematurely and suffer complications during labor and delivery. She may then develop eclampsia, a potentially fatal complication of preeclampsia.

Similarly, a doctor may misdiagnose a pregnant woman suffering from gestational diabetes. They may prescribe medications that can harm the baby. As a result, the baby may receive inadequate nutrition and care. They may also be deprived of oxygen and nutrients needed for proper growth and development.

Several factors contribute to the development of cerebral palsy. Some of these include:

Premature Birth

Preterm delivery is defined as birth before 37 weeks gestation. Babies born preterm often have low birth weights and are at increased risk of developing health issues later in life.

Low Apgar Scores

Apgar scores are used to assess newborn infants' overall health after birth. They measure five vital signs: breathing effort, heart rate, reflex irritability, muscle tone, and color.

Maternal Infection

Pregnant mothers are susceptible to infections such as rubella, toxoplasmosis, cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex virus, syphilis, and influenza. These infections can lead to miscarriage, premature labor, stillbirth, or infection of the fetus.

Birth Trauma

During childbirth, babies are exposed to excessive force and trauma. For example, shoulder dystocia, breech presentation, and prolonged second stage of labor can result in head, spine, limbs, and organ injuries.

Traumatic Brain Injury During Labor

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when the skull is fractured or hit against another object. TBI can occur during labor and delivery.

For instance, a mother delivering her baby via cesarean section may sustain a blow to the abdomen or chest. She should seek immediate medical attention if she experiences a severe headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, confusion, or seizures.

What Doctors Can Do To Avoid Cerebral Palsy Malpractice?

Cerebral palsy malpractice cases are becoming increasingly common, especially among children under two years old.

In these cases, doctors fail to diagnose cerebral palsy early enough, resulting in permanent damage to the child's motor system. This leads to physical disabilities such as spasticity, muscle weakness, and poor coordination.

Doctors can play an important role in preventing cerebral palsy. If a doctor fails to diagnose cerebral palsy, he may face medical malpractice lawsuits.

Here are some tips to avoid cerebral palsy malpractice lawsuits:

#1. Be Aware Of The Signs And Symptoms Of Cerebral Palsy

It is essential for doctors to recognize the signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy. Early diagnosis allows doctors to treat the condition properly.

Early treatment helps prevent further damage to the developing nervous system. For example, babies with cerebral palsy usually receive physical therapy and occupational therapy right after birth. These therapies improve movement patterns and strengthen muscles.

#2. Know How To Diagnose Cerebral Palsy With Ultrasound Imaging

Ultrasounds allow doctors to see inside the fetus' skull and detect abnormalities. An ultrasound exam should be performed within 24 hours of delivery.

This test can reveal whether the baby has any problems with his head, eyes, ears, limbs, or spine.

#3. Understand That Babies With Cerebral Palsy May Need Special Care

Babies with cerebral palsy may need special care. Some of these kids may benefit from feeding tubes, oxygen tanks, or surgery.

These treatments can help manage breathing difficulties, seizures, and other conditions associated with cerebral palsy. However, they come with risks.

For instance, feeding tubes can cause dehydration and malnutrition. Oxygen tanks can lead to pneumonia and respiratory failure. Surgery can result in infection, bleeding, or paralysis.

#4. Seek Medical Advice From Experts Who Treat Children With Cerebral Palsy

When choosing a pediatrician, ask them about the following issues:

  • Does the doctor specialize in treating children with cerebral palsy?
  • What types of tests does he perform?
  • Will he refer you to specialists who treat children with cerebral palsy, such as neurologists and orthopedic surgeons?
  • How much training did he receive in diagnosing and treating cerebral palsy?

#5. Consult A Pediatric Neurologist Before Choosing A Doctor

Pediatric neurologists are experts in diagnosing and treating children with cerebral palsy. They understand the unique needs of these patients and provide specialized care. A pediatric neurologist can evaluate your child's development and recommend appropriate therapies. They can also advise you on the best course of action regarding your child's health.

Contact a lawyer immediately if you suspect your child was harmed due to medical negligence. 

How Can Medical Malpractice Be Proven?

Cerebral palsy medical malpractice cases are difficult to prove. This is due to the fact that cerebral palsy is a condition that cannot be seen externally. Instead, it manifests itself internally, causing symptoms such as muscle spasms, seizures, and cognitive impairment.

In order to prove cerebral palsy medical malpractice, you must first establish that the doctor was negligent. Negligence occurs when a physician fails to exercise the degree of care required under the circumstances.

For example, a doctor may fail to diagnose a patient's condition correctly. If he misdiagnoses his patient, he has failed to provide him with adequate treatment. He has therefore been negligent. However, proving negligence does not necessarily mean that the patient will win the case.

Several factors determine whether a patient wins or loses a cerebral palsy medical malpractice case, such as:

  • the severity of the injury
  • the extent of the damage caused by the injury
  • the length of time between the injury and its diagnosis
  • the amount of compensation awarded to the victim

Who Can File a Medical Malpractice Case?

Cerebral palsy (CP) is one of the most common types of physical disabilities among children. CP affects movement and posture, causing problems with muscle tone and coordination.

A medical malpractice lawsuit against a doctor or hospital may be filed if a child has suffered injuries due to negligent care.

Parents should contact an attorney immediately if their child suffers any injury related to cerebral palsy. An experienced lawyer can help parents understand their legal rights and guide them through the complex process of filing a claim.

An attorney can also advise parents regarding the potential risks of litigation and provide guidance on whether to pursue a case.

How to File a Cerebral Palsy Malpractice Claim in MD?

Children with cerebral palsy usually receive physical therapy services to improve their mobility and strength. They may also receive occupational therapy services to teach them how to perform daily tasks independently.

However, these therapies alone cannot cure cerebral palsy. Contact an attorney immediately if you believe your child has been harmed by medical malpractice.

Here are three things you need to know about filing a cerebral palsy malpractice claim in Maryland:

#1. Contact a Lawyer Right Away

Malpractice claims against doctors and hospitals typically involve complex legal issues. To protect yourself, you should consult with an experienced lawyer immediately after discovering any signs of negligence.

Contacting an attorney early on can prevent further harm to your child.

#2. Be Specific About What Went Wrong

When you file a malpractice lawsuit, you must provide detailed information about what went wrong. For example, did the doctor fail to diagnose your child's condition correctly? Did he or she prescribe the wrong treatment? Was the hospital negligent in caring for your child?

Be specific about what happened and what was done incorrectly.

#3. Document Everything

Document everything related to your case. Take pictures of the injuries, write down notes about conversations with the doctor, and record details about your child's care. This evidence can prove helpful later on. 

A qualified lawyer can explain the law to you and advise you on how to proceed.

Contact our Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit Lawyers Today

Medical malpractice can occur during pregnancy, labor, delivery, or the postpartum period. It can include medical errors, negligent care, failure to diagnose, failure to treat, or any other type of negligence that could lead to harm to your baby.

Medical malpractice lawyers are the best option for parents who believe their child was injured by medical negligence or medical malpractice. At Maryland Injury Guys, we understand the trauma that a medical injury can cause, and we are ready to help you and your family navigate the legal system.

If you or your partner gave birth to your child and believe medical negligence or medical malpractice caused a birth injury, call our medical malpractice law office today for a free case evaluation by our birth injury litigation team.

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Aaron Blank Esq
Date Published: August 30, 2022
Aaron Blank is a patient safety advocate who holds the healthcare system responsible when it fails. He keeps businesses accountable if they choose profits over the safety of the community, and he ensures car insurance companies pay their fair share for the harm that reckless drivers cause. Aaron and his proficient legal team bring an approach based on dedication, guidance, and compassion through the difficult process of pursuing serious injury claims. He has dedicated his career to fighting for injury victims to recover losses from medical expenses, lost income, loss of enjoyment of life, or the loss of a loved one.
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This website is by Blank Kim P.C. d/b/a Maryland Injury Guys. We have offices throughout Maryland with attorneys licensed to practice law in the state of  Maryland. Use of this site does not form an attorney-client relationship and information herein shall not be construed as legal advice. This website is to be considered as ATTORNEY ADVERTISING. Past settlement and verdict values are no guarantee of similar future outcomes. This firm may retain local counsel to prosecute cases. This website has not been approved by the Court of Appeals of Maryland or the Maryland State Bar. Cases may be co-counselled or referred to other firms for litigation.
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