Cerebral Palsy Resulting from Birth Injury Negligence
Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders that affects the child’s ability to control movements such as mental retardation, impairment of speech, hearing or sight, seizures, muscle spasms or tightness, or involuntary movement.
Statistics on Cerebral Palsy
- 5,000 children are diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy each year;
- Approximately 1,300 preschoolers are diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy each year
- Cerebral Palsy, on average occurs 1.2 times more frequently in boys than among girls
- Estimated 500,000 people in the U.S. have Cerebral Palsy.
Causes of Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy results from an injury to the largest portion of the brain called the cerebrum which can be damaged before, during, or even after birth. It is involved with higher mental faculties, sensations, and voluntary muscle movements.
The most significant birthing complication related to Cerebral Palsy is the lack of oxygen to the brain. Without oxygen, the baby’s brain cells start to die resulting in brain damage called “severe asphyxia”.
This can happen when:
- The umbilical cord restricts the baby’s breathing;
- The child becomes stuck in the birth canal or the placenta is ruptured prematurely; or
- The baby does not begin to breathe immediately following birth.
Other risk factors include:
- Infection during the mother’s pregnancy
- Jaundice in the infant that can damage the infant’s brain cells; and
- Rh incompatibility by the mother’s body that can lead to the production of antibodies which destroys the fetus’s blood cells
- Head or blood vessel injuries.
- Fetal Distress – Complications during labor and delivery, such as vascular or respiratory problems of the baby during labor and delivery may result in brain damage causing permanent brain damage
- Breech presentation – Babies that present feet first, instead of head first, at the beginning of labor are at a higher risk of developing Cerebral Palsy.
- Multiple births
- Maternal bleeding or severe proteinuria late in pregnancy
- Maternal hyperthyroidism, mental retardation, or seizures increase the risk for Cerebral Palsy.
- The mother’s water was ruptured for over 24 hours
- There were indications of trauma or infection during the pregnancy
- There is a family history brain damage
When these or other warning signs are present, doctors and health care providers should take immediate steps to properly monitor the unborn baby, to treat the cause of any complication that has arisen, and, where necessary, to deliver the baby (usually by C-section).
Once the baby is born, there are additional risk factors that indicate the baby is at risk of having or developing cerebral palsy and should be closely monitored and treated. They might also suggest improper medical care, or trauma to the baby’s brain during the birthing process. These include:
- Low birth weight
- Premature birth
- The baby suffers from multiple seizures
- The baby exhibits nervous system deformities
- The baby has trouble sucking and swallowing
- The baby shows an indication of weakness or abnormal muscle tone
- The baby needs resuscitation at, or shortly after birth due to lack of oxygen
- The baby shows signs of apnea
- The baby shows lack of concern or interaction
- The baby is incapable of maintaining normal temperature
If your son or daughter has cerebral palsy and you believe that your doctor, nurse, or other health care provider failed to provide suitable care during the pregnancy, during labor and delivery, or after the delivery of your baby, contact the Law Offices of Ron W. Sage PA at (732) 547-2944 today!