Cerebral palsy causes lifelong difficulties for an affected child and his
or her family.

The United Cerebral Palsy Association reports that an estimated 764,000
Americans have cerebral palsy, and about 10,000 infants are diagnosed
with it each year. Cerebral palsy results from brain damage prior to birth
or shortly after birth. Brain damage caused by lack of oxygen during labor
and delivery or shortly after delivery is responsible for a significant
percentage of the cases of cerebral palsy.

Causes of cerebral palsy

When a child is diagnosed with a debilitating condition like cerebral palsy,
parents and families want to know why. They want to know what happened
and whether anything could have been done to prevent it from occurring.
Any condition that would cause a deprivation of oxygen to the fetal brain
can cause cerebral palsy. Possible causes include:

  • Medical negligence – Obstetricians and labor and delivery nurses are charged with the
    responsibility to safely deliver the unborn baby of their pregnant patient.
    Hospitals are also required to adequately educate and train labor and
    delivery nurses to recognize fetal complications during labor and delivery.
    Electronic fetal monitoring is used to monitor the health of the fetus
    during labor. If the fetus is being deprived of oxygen for any reason,
    the electronic fetal monitor will show characteristic patterns that indicate
    a lack of oxygen to the fetal brain. If the fetus is suffering from lack
    of oxygen during labor, and the attending medical personnel cannot correct
    the condition, then urgent or emergent delivery is required. Failure to
    timely deliver a fetus suffering from lack of oxygen in utero is one of
    the leading causes of cerebral palsy in the United States.
  • Premature birth – Any fetus born at less than 37 weeks gestational age is considered
    “premature.” Severely premature newborns (between 25 and 30
    weeks gestational age) are at increased risk for developing cerebral palsy
    due to their lungs being underdeveloped. Premature babies who suffer brain
    damage from lack of oxygen develop a brain injury pattern known as “periventricular
    leukomalacia.”

The birth of a child is a wonderful occasion. Unfortunately, it is also
one that is fraught with potential hazards and opportunities for harm
to come to both mother and child. Proper medical care throughout pregnancy
and during the labor and delivery process is the best way to ensure that
both mother and child remain healthy. Failure to provide quality care
can result in lifelong conditions like cerebral palsy. If you suspect
that your child’s cerebral palsy or other serious medical condition
was the result of medical negligence, speak with an experienced attorney
at Lancione & Lancione. Call the firm today at (440) 571-6862 or
contact them online for more information.