Before a baby is born, they depend on the mother to get all of the oxygen they need. They get this oxygen through an umbilical cord that is attached to the mother by the placenta. During pregnancy, labor, or delivery, if the umbilical cord or placenta are compromised in any way, the baby may lose oxygen. A prolonged period of low oxygen can result in significant brain damage and long-term disabilities. When an infant’s brain suffers damage, they may develop a condition known as cerebral palsy.
What is Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is a condition that results in lifelong motor disabilities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, four out of every 1000 babies born will suffer from cerebral palsy. When the brain suffers significant damage, that damage can impair that child’s muscle control. This results in significant mobility impairments and disability throughout their lives.
Some of the most common symptoms of cerebral palsy include:
- Poor muscle tone
- Difficulty maintaining posture
- Inability to sit unsupported
- Difficulty or inability walking
- Difficulty with fine motor skills
- Intellectual disabilities
- Muscle spasticity
- Language or speech issues
- Vision or hearing impairments
- Sensory processing issues
It is important to know that the degree of impairment is directly related to the severity of the brain damage and the area of the brain that is most affected. Every case of cerebral palsy is different and unique to that specific child.
Causes of Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is often congenital. This means that the specific cause of brain damage happened before or during birth. In fact, according to the CDC, up to 90 percent of cases are congenital.
Cerebral palsy is commonly caused by hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). HIE is a type of brain damage that is the result of serious oxygen deprivation and blood flow prior to birth. It can occur at any time during pregnancy, labor, or delivery. It can even occur after birth.
The brain damage that is suffered during pregnancy, labor, or delivery is permanent. The severity and the degree of impairment a baby suffers will depend on the amount of oxygen deprivation they experienced and the length of time they suffered. In general, the longer the baby was without oxygen, the more severe the injury will be.
HIE can occur in numerous ways, including:
- Inadequate monitoring of mother and baby
- Umbilical cord compression or entanglement
- Failure to perform emergency C-section
- Placenta previa or abruption
- Uterine rupture
- Failure to prevent premature birth
- Failure to diagnose a large baby
- Medication errors
- Prolonged labor
- Maternal or infant infection not treated
- Failure to diagnose a breech position
- Improper use of delivery tools
- Not properly managing a high-risk pregnancy
Cerebral Palsy and Medical Malpractice
Cerebral palsy affects up to 10,000 children every single year. Unfortunately, many cases of HIE and cerebral palsy are caused by preventable medical errors and medical negligence. When a doctor or medical professional’s recklessness or negligence caused your child’s brain injury, you may be left caring for them for the remainder of their lives.
The disabilities your child suffers are lifelong and often require a lifetime of care, therapies, and specialized medical equipment. When this occurs, you may be able to file a medical malpractice claim against the negligent healthcare professional.
It costs a significant amount of money to care for a baby with cerebral palsy. The CDC estimates that babies born with cerebral palsy will need over $1 million throughout the course of their lives just to pay their medical and long-term care expenses. This is not including the loss of earnings or the pain and suffering the child may endure because of their disorder.
Contact Our Providence Birth Injury Lawyers Today
If your infant was diagnosed with cerebral palsy after birth, you need a law firm on your side that you can trust. At Mandell, Boisclair & Mandell, Ltd, our Providence birth injury lawyers know that you may face an uphill battle collecting compensation after a serious birth injury. While no amount of money can repair the harm done to your child, you and your family should not have to suffer financially because of a medical error. We can help you obtain the money you need to properly care for your child and give them the best possible future.We offer compassionate, yet aggressive, legal assistance every step of the way after a devastating birth injury. Call us today at 401-204-1610 or fill out our confidential contact form for a free initial consultation and review of your case.