What Causes Cerebral Palsy in Infants?
When complications in the birth of a child cause damage or issues with the development of the brain, the child may develop cerebral palsy, affecting their life expectancy and quality of life.
Previously, many people used to believe that cerebral palsy was caused by a lack of oxygen during the birth process, but now medical professionals believe that oxygen deprivation is only responsible for a small number of cerebral palsy cases. Congenital cerebral palsy, or cerebral palsy caused by complications before or during birth, makes up the majority of cases. These complications include:
- Injury to the head during or soon after delivery.
- An infection of the brain, such as meningitis.
- A stroke or other bleeding in the brain.
- Hypoglycemia, or very low blood sugar.
What are the risk factors for cerebral palsy?
While the reasons for a child developing cerebral palsy are not always immediately apparent, several factors increase a child’s risk of developing the condition. These risk factors include:
- Low birthweight
- Premature birth (before the 37th week of pregnancy. This risk increases significantly with births before the 32nd week)
- Infection during the pregnancy
- Jaundice and kernicterus
- Multiple births (twins, triplets, etc.)
- Infertility treatments
- Tobacco, alcohol, or drug usage during pregnancy.
Can medical malpractice cause cerebral palsy?
In short, yes. Whether an oversight fails to identify the child’s lack of oxygen or careless technique causes physical injury to the child’s brain, medical malpractice and negligence before, during, or after birth can cause the development of cerebral palsy.
Medical malpractice is when a medical provider fails to meet a standard of care that the medical community recognizes as proper medical care. In cerebral palsy cases, failure to meet this standard may include:
- Failure to properly monitor or detect changes in the child’s vital signs, such as heart rate.
- Failure to detect infections or treat them promptly.
- Failure to detect signs of fetal or parental distress that require immediate intervention, such as an emergency cesarean section.
- Failure to detect and address medical conditions that pose a risk of harm to the child or parent, including umbilical cord tangling.
- Improper or inappropriate use of medical tools, such as forceps or vacuum extractors
- Failure to ensure that necessary medications are administered.
When medical providers fail to meet the agreed-upon standard of care, they violate the trust that patients put in them and open patients and children up to significant, potentially lifelong complications, damage to quality of life, and even a reduction in life expectancy.
Where the standard of care has not been achieved, those affected by the medical malpractice can sue medical providers, holding them accountable for the violation of trust and long-term harm they have caused while securing the financial future they need to provide the best possible standard of living for the affected individual. For children with cerebral palsy and their parents, this means accessing the necessary funds to provide ongoing medical care to improve life expectancy and quality of life.
How can I determine if malpractice caused my child’s cerebral palsy?
Hospitals and other medical providers are unlikely to share that malpractice caused cerebral palsy in your child – and without medical training, parents are unlikely to be able to determine it themselves. If you suspect medical malpractice caused cerebral palsy or any other birth injury, it is essential that you have an impartial, 3rd party medical expert review your case.
At WVFK&N, our cerebral palsy malpractice lawyers specialize in seeking justice for victims of medical malpractice and their families, particular those who suffered an injury at birth. We have cultivated relationships with birth injury and cerebral palsy experts who are able to determine if malpractice is the cause of a child’s cerebral palsy – and we relentlessly pursue justice for those that have suffered at the hands of the medical system.
Contact us at 410-998-3600 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our birth injury attorneys today.