Cerebral palsy (CP) is a broad term that refers to a group of disorders affecting a person’s ability to move. It is due to damage to the developing brain either during pregnancy or shortly after birth. It’s an unfortunate fact that, every year, medical malpractice is responsible for thousands of cerebral palsy cases.
In most cases, the doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals that we encounter during a hospital visit provide the highest standard of care. However, there are times when doctors and hospitals make negligent errors that can result in devastating, permanent conditions.
A medical professional is directly responsible for the care of both the mother and her unborn child throughout her pregnancy and delivery. Failure to recognize and diagnose an infection during gestation can have a negative effect on the fetus, causing brain damage and possibly resulting in the development of cerebral palsy.
Even more damaging than inadequate prenatal care is when an injury occurs at the actual moment of the baby’s birth. Due to the positioning of the baby, the newborn may be stuck in the birth canal. When this occurs, the doctor needs to act quickly to safely remove the baby and keep it alive. If the doctor fails to do this promptly, the can suffer from a loss of oxygen to the brain, which is a leading cause of CP.
In some instances, the medical equipment used in the delivery room can be blamed for the baby developing CP. The vacuum extractor, for instance, has been known to have a significant effect on the newborn, with problems ranging from cuts and bruises to bleeding in the brain. If the hemorrhaging goes undetected, it can severely damage the brain and lead to cerebral palsy.
Acute bruising may also lead to CP. When a bruise breaks down, it turns into bilirubin, a substance that is normally filtered out by the liver. An excess of bilirubin in the body that goes unfiltered by the infant’s young liver can eventually cause brain damage and cerebral palsy.
A child who is diagnosed with cerebral palsy may require medications, physical therapy, and a lifetime of care and treatment, all of which can be an enormous burden, both financially and emotionally. Cerbral palsy is a life-changing condition, and if you believe your baby has been affected by this disability as a result of medical negligence, call Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP at (212) 986-7353.