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Understanding the Link Between Birth Injuries and Cerebral Palsy

Worried mother holding child

When brain damage is preventable, medical malpractice may be involved.

Parents of babies with cerebral palsy often find themselves wondering if certain events during the birthing process or diagnostic procedures could have played a role in their child's birth injury, raising questions about the care provided during these critical moments.

Cerebral palsy, a condition often discovered in early childhood, manifests as a group of motor disorders originating from brain abnormalities during development. While its impact varies widely, individuals with cerebral palsy may experience challenges in their ability to walk, speak, eat, hear, and see. Some symptoms are mild, but they can also be severe. A child may need a wheelchair all their life or be totally dependent on others for even the most basic tasks.

Each case is unique, as the condition can result from diverse factors, including prenatal complications or birth-related events. With trustworthy information, parents can begin to understand if medical malpractice was a factor in their child's cerebral palsy and then consult an experienced birth injury lawyer to review their potential legal options.

How medical malpractice can cause cerebral palsy

Every year, about 10,000 babies are born in the U.S. with cerebral palsy. Many types of cerebral palsy involve traumatic brain damage due to medical negligence. The damage occurs when there is no or too little oxygen getting to the baby's brain. Depending on what part of the brain was injured, a child could have one or more of the most common types of cerebral palsy:

  • Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common form of CP. It involves damage to the brain's motor cortex, which controls voluntary movements. Children spastic CP may be stiff and make sharp movements.
  • Athetoid cerebral palsy, also known as dyskinetic cerebral palsy or non-spastic cerebral palsy, describes damage to the brain's basal ganglia or cerebellum, which regulates coordination and balance.
  • Hypotonic cerebral palsy, also known as atonic cerebral palsy, may be caused by damage to the brain's cerebellum. It often results in involuntary movements, and difficulty maintaining balance and posture.
  • Ataxic cerebral palsy may also be caused by damage to the brain's cerebellum, resulting in reduced muscle strength.

When a child has two or more types of cerebral palsy, it's called "mixed cerebral palsy."

Examples of medical malpractice

When brain damage could have been avoided, medical malpractice is usually involved. A doctor, nurse, anesthesiologist, or other medical professional may make a careless error or misdiagnosis. Other malpractice mistakes that may result in CP include:

  • Failure to recognize the fetus was in distress.
  • Pulling on a baby's head, neck, shoulder, or arm to the point of injury.
  • Failure to order a necessary C-section.
  • Failure to recognize a prolapsed umbilical cord.
  • Erroneous use of a delivery tool like a vacuum extractor or forceps.
  • Failure to treat infections.

Talk to a Cleveland birth injury lawyer who gets results

A birth injury such as cerebral palsy can be catastrophic for families, affecting their financial, mental, and emotional health. For these reasons, an experienced Ohio birth injury attorney should guide you through the process. The Lancione Law Firm has been successfully representing families in Ohio for years. Attorney John A. Lancione understands the complex nature of cerebral palsy lawsuits and is dedicated to helping families obtain the justice and financial compensation they deserve. To learn more about how we can help with a potential legal case, contact us for a free and confidential case evaluation.

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