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Birth Injuries and Cerebral Palsy

The birth of a child is one of life’s greatest joys. When your child has birth injuries, you may also fear for your child’s future and wonder how you will provide the necessary care. Birth injuries are sometimes unavoidable, but are often the result of medical negligence during pregnancy, labor and delivery or shortly after birth. Children with birth injuries may require ongoing medical treatment and have other extensive needs. If you child was a victim of medical malpractice, you may be able to recover substantial compensation that will pay for your child’s immediate and lifelong expenses.

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is a set of disorders caused by malformation of the brain or brain injury during pregnancy, labor and delivery, or shortly after birth. Each case of cerebral palsy is unique. The effects can range in severity, and each child experiences a unique combination of impairments and conditions. For some, the right medical treatments, therapy, equipment and support can mean living independently and with minimal health problems and pain. Others will require 24-hour supervision and assistance.

In cerebral palsy the part of the brain that is injured is responsible for controlling:

  • Muscle tone
  • Motor coordination and control
  • Posture
  • Balance
  • Oral motor functioning

People with cerebral palsy may also suffer from secondary and associated conditions including:

  • Learning disabilities
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Attention disorders
  • Speech and language disorders
  • Behavioral problems
  • Mental health conditions
  • Hearing impairment
  • Vision impairment
  • Seizure disorder
  • Epilepsy
  • Delayed growth and development
  • Spinal deformities
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Osteopenia
  • Contractures
  • Infections and long term illnesses
  • Respiratory problems
  • Swallowing disorders
  • Gastrointestinal and digestive problems
  • Malnutrition
  • Oral diseases
  • Abnormal touch or pain perceptions
  • Bladder and bowel control problems
  • Pain

Medical Errors Leading to Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy can be the result of medical errors during pregnancy, labor and deliver or shortly after birth. Examples include failure to detect and properly respond to:

  • Rh incompatibility
  • Infections in the mother including toxoplasmosis, rubella (German measles), syphilis, chicken pox, cytomegalovirus (CMV) and urinary tract infections
  • High blood pressure or preeclampsia in the mother
  • Distress in the mother, such as elevated heart rate or blood poisoning
  • Seizures in the mother
  • Fever in the mother
  • Exposure to heavy metals
  • Fetal distress, including changes in fetal heart rate
  • Breech position
  • Prolapsed umbilical cord (umbilical cord strangulation)
  • Premature labor or premature birth
  • Meconium aspiration syndrome
  • Need for oxygen in the newborn
  • Newborn jaundice
  • Newborn meningitis
  • Newborn seizures

Other medical mistakes that can result in brain birth injury and cerebral palsy include:

  • Inappropriate medications given during pregnancy and/or delivery
  • Delayed C-section
  • Failure to perform necessary C-section
  • Improper use of delivery instruments such as forceps or vacuum extractor

Compensation for Cerebral Palsy and Other Birth Injuries

The lifetime medical expenses for a child with cerebral palsy can be $1 million. That does not include the non-medical costs. Children with birth injuries may require extensive medical care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, recreational therapy and speech therapy. The often need treatment for mental health issues. Children with birth injuries may have special educational needs. They may need assistance with daily activities such as dressing and eating, for the rest of their lives. Some will be on respirators or need special equipment to accommodate disabilities.

Your child may be able to recover compensation for existing and future losses including:

  • Medical expenses
  • Therapy
  • Home health care
  • Custodial care
  • Special housing to make independent living possible as child reaches adulthood
  • Personal care assistant
  • Special equipment
  • Home modifications to accommodate disability
  • Lost income
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

If you believe that your child’s cerebral palsy or other birth injury was the result of medical negligence, read more about birth injury claims.

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