Cleveland Birth Injury Attorneys Fight for Children Diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy often occurs as a result of a medical professional’s negligence during childbirth
Cerebral palsy is used to describe a group of disorders that impacts the control of movement due to damage to the developing brain. Roughly 10,000 infants and 1,500 preschoolers are diagnosed with cerebral palsy every year in the United States. At The Eisen Law Firm, our Cleveland birth injury attorneys are skilled in navigating the complex medical and legal issues involved with pursuing a medical negligence claim for a cerebral palsy diagnosis.
Medical negligence and cerebral palsy
There are many causes of cerebral palsy. Infections, birth injuries, and a lack of oxygen are commonly believed to play a role in the development of cerebral palsy. However, not all diagnoses of cerebral palsy are due to issues stemming from birth. Infections, physical trauma, and even severe dehydration can damage the brain to an extent that cerebral palsy results. Common infections that may lead to cerebral palsy include:
- Rubella (German measles): a virus that is spread by coughing, sneezing, talking, or sharing food or drinks. It may cause severe birth defects, in addition to cerebral palsy.
- Toxoplasmosis: a disease spread by a parasite that is commonly found in undercooked meat or cat feces.
- Severe jaundice: Though jaundice is common in many babies, in severe cases, if left untreated, brain damage may result.
- Rh incompatibility: With Rh incompatibility, the mother’s body creates antibodies that actually destroy her fetus’ blood cells. Rh incompatibility, if left untreated, may lead to a specific type of jaundice, subsequently causing brain damage.
- Bacterial meningitis: Meningitis refers to an inflammation or infection in the brain or spinal cord tissue.
Most of these infections are treatable if they are properly prevented or are diagnosed in a reasonable amount of time. For example, a vaccine can be administered to protect a pregnant woman from rubella. Medical professionals should advise pregnant women to cook their meats thoroughly and avoid a cat’s litter box to reduce the risk of becoming infected with toxoplasmosis. Light therapy is used to treat infants with jaundice, and Rh incompatibility can be treated with immune globulins to prevent harm to the baby. Meningitis is preventable with a vaccine.
In addition to the above infections, birth trauma can also lead to cerebral palsy if oxygen to the baby’s brain is limited, or if the brain suffers some type of injury. Common causes of a lack of oxygen at birth include:
- Umbilical cord issues: in many cases, the umbilical cord may be twisted or tangled a bit at birth, and this causes no major issues. However, if the umbilical cord is twisted enough, it may lead to a severe deprivation of oxygen. In other cases, the umbilical cord may be cut too early, which cuts off the supply of oxygen to the baby.
- Moving too slowly through the birth canal: in some instances, the baby may become lodged in the birth canal. Without proper medical intervention, the baby is at risk of losing oxygen.
- Blocked airways: Sometimes, babies are born with thick mucus or with meconium (fetal feces) in their lungs. If the mucus or meconium is not properly cleared shortly after birth, the baby may be unable to breathe properly.
Medical malpractice and cerebral palsy
To succeed in a medical malpractice case, the patient must prove three things: (1) a healthcare professional owed a duty to the patient; (2) the healthcare professional breached that duty by failing to act with reasonable care under the circumstances (“negligence”); and (3) damages suffered by the patient as a result of the healthcare professional’s breach of duty. Without a proper and thorough investigation by an attorney with experience in handling cerebral palsy cases, parents may be completely unaware that their doctor’s actions (or failure to act) caused their child’s cerebral palsy. These parents would be responsible for the exorbitant expense involved with such a diagnosis, rather than holding accountable the person or people whose conduct caused the condition.
In a successful medical malpractice case, several types of compensation may be recovered, including:
- Medical bills
- Past and future lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- The cost of future medical care
- Punitive damages (though this is very rare)
Time is of the essence in cerebral palsy claims, so call premier Ohio birth injury lawyers today for a free consultation and case review
If your child was diagnosed with cerebral palsy that was likely caused by a medical professional’s negligence, do not delay–there are deadlines in place by which these claims must be filed. At The Eisen Law Firm, we offer a free consultation to review the details of your case. Call us at 216-687-0900 or contact us online today.