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Misdiagnosis of Cerebral Palsy

pregnant woman in the hospital

In many cases, cerebral palsy is caused by medical problems affecting the mother, fetus or newborn infant that should have been diagnosed and treated at an early stage. When these problems go undiagnosed, it can be a form of medical malpractice.

In other cases, a child may exhibit signs and symptoms of a disorder that are mistakenly diagnosed as cerebral palsy. As a result, the child fails to receive the proper care and treatment he or she needs.

This is why any case of cerebral palsy should be investigated as soon as possible to determine whether the child and his or her family is due compensation for the injury, expenses and pain and suffering they have experienced and may continue to suffer for years to come.

The medical malpractice law firm Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., assist families in Chicago and across Illinois in cases of cerebral palsy caused by medical error, including misdiagnosis, as well as in cases where a condition was incorrectly diagnosed as cerebral palsy.

To learn more, contact us today and arrange for a free consultation about your case.

Missed or Delayed Diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is caused by an abnormality or disruption in brain development. This usually arises before a child is born. Sometimes, it can arise shortly after birth.

Most cerebral palsy cases have a medical cause. The Mayo Clinic identifies these causes as:

  • Maternal infections (in the second or third trimester, a maternal infection may be passed on to the fetus, which is called “intrauterine exposure to infection”)
  • Infant infections that cause inflammation in or around the brain
  • Fetal stroke (a disruption of blood supply to the fetus’ brain)
  • Asphyxia (lack of oxygen to the brain) during labor or delivery.

Prenatal care should include tests of urine samples for signs of bladder, urinary tract or kidney infection. Also, blood tests can identify the mother’s susceptibility to certain infections, such as:

  • Rubella
  • Chickenpox (varicella)
  • Hepatitis B
  • Toxoplasmosis
  • Syphilis
  • Gonorrhea
  • Chlamydia.

Blood tests can also identify Rh disease. This is an incompatibility between the blood of the mother and her fetus. It can lead to jaundice and brain damage that causes cerebral palsy.

During labor and delivery, a variety of complications can occur that affect the health of the child and mother, including:

  • Lack of progression of the labor
  • Compression of the umbilical cord
  • Abnormal fetal position.

These can adversely affect the baby’s oxygen supply and/or blood flow. It is incumbent upon medical personnel at a child’s birth to closely monitor vital signs – heart rate, breathing, oxygen levels and blood pressure of both mother and child during labor and delivery – and promptly diagnose any problems that arise.

Each of these birth scenarios present complications that medical professionals are trained to handle, and for which standard treatment protocols exist. When medical personnel fail to deliver the accepted standard of care in a timely manner, or if hospital policies or procedures either do not meet accepted care standards or prevent the application of medical care standards, then malpractice exists.

Incorrect Diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy

In some cases, children may suffer from a condition that can be treated effectively. However, they do not receive this treatment because their condition is misdiagnosed as cerebral palsy.

As one study found, many genetic and metabolic disorders are misdiagnosed as cerebral palsy. For instance, dopa-responsive dystonia is a genetic disorder that is marked by a child’s difficulty with walking – a symptom that is also common among cerebral palsy sufferers. However, in contrast to cerebral palsy, dopa-responsive dystonia can be treated with medication.

Contact an Experienced Chicago Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you believe that your child has suffered cerebral palsy due to a misdiagnosis or suffered harm because his or her condition was misdiagnosed as cerebral palsy, it is important to contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible.

Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., is here to assist victims and families in Chicago and throughout Illinois. Simply contact us by phone or online to receive a free and confidential case review.

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