One of the most common merits for a medical malpractice claim is when a child is born with cerebral palsy as a result of a birth injury. The attorneys of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. have handled numerous cerebral palsy lawsuits for our clients, and understand that children with cerebral palsy must endure extremely difficult medical, social, and educational development.
Our goal is to help explain whether the birth injury could have been prevented with proper medical attention.
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of permanent disorders associated with developmental brain injuries that occur during fetal development, birth, or shortly after birth. It is characterized by a disruption of motor skills, with symptoms such as spasticity, paralysis or seizures. Cerebral palsy has been described as something of an “umbrella term” in that it refers to a group of different conditions. It has been suggested that no two people with CP will have an identical case even if they have the same diagnosis.
The severity of cerebral palsy in each child depends upon the section of brain affected. Specifically, the damage results from inadequate blood flow to the brain and/or inadequate concentrations of oxygen in brain tissue. Unfortunately, cerebral palsy is sometimes not preventable. However, misreading fetal monitoring equipment, failing to diagnose fetal distress during labor, waiting too long to perform a Cesarean section (C-section), administering too much Pitocin, or failing to act in a timely manner are often contributing factors that should have been prevented.
Cerebral palsy is either congenital (present at birth) or acquired after birth. Congenital cerebral palsy results from brain damage during pregnancy or around the time of birth and can be caused by a variety of conditions such as:
- Infection during pregnancy. There are a number of infections that can affect both mother and child, such as rubella, cytomegalovirus, and toxoplasmosis. These infections can cause damage to the nervous system of the developing fetus.
- Jaundice. Severe, untreated jaundice can result in brain damage.
- Rh incompatibility. A blood condition that causes the mother’s immune cells to attack the fetus, resulting in jaundice.
- Oxygen shortage. If the oxygen supply to the brain is severely low at the time of birth, the infant may suffer a type of brain damage called hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy.
- Stroke. Women who suffer from coagulation disorders may be at an increased risk for stroke in the fetus.
- Toxicity. Drug or alcohol use during pregnancy can result in brain damage.
- Bleeding. Prolonged bleeding in the infant’s brain shortly after birth can cause brain damage.
- Kidney and urinary tract infections. These infections in the mother can lead to brain damage within the fetus.
Acquired cerebral palsy results from brain damage in the first few months to years of life and can be caused by conditions such as:
- Brain infections, such as encephalitis and meningitis.
- Head injury from falls, automobile accidents and child abuse.
If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy due to the negligence of others, you may be entitled to monetary compensation to help care for your child’s medical needs. Please call or contact Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. Our Wisconsin and Illinois attorneys have helped many people get fair and just compensation for birth injuries. Our lawyers and medical experts can assess your case and determine whether you should move forward with litigation.