If you believe that a doctor's mistake may have caused your child's cerebral palsy, you may want to seek compensation for both you and your child.
You may not know whether your child's cerebral palsy was caused by a medical mistake. While not all cases of cerebral palsy are caused by medical malpractice, many are and the results can be tragic.... and infuriating because so much harm is caused.
If you suspect that your child or a family member may have been injured at birth by a medical mistake that could have been prevented, our cerebral palsy lawyers at can help determine if your child may be entitled to compensation in a medical malpractice case. For more information, call 800-553-8082 or get a free online consultation here.What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy is an umbrella term that describes a group of chronic disorders that impair movement control in the early years of a child's life. While cerebral palsy has probably afflicted us from the beginning of time, there is little in the "medical literature" (if you can call it that) before 1843.
In patients with CP, messages between the brain and the rest of the body become scrambled. These scrambled messages can result in the wrong muscles doing the wrong job causing problems with walking, speech, balance, and coordination. Cerebral palsy is neither progressive or communicable. Some children with cerebral palsy are also affected by other medical disorders, but cerebral palsy does not always result in profound handicap.
Regrettably, it is not curable. But though therapy and modern technology, people with cerebral palsy often lead productive and, more importantly, happy lives. There are a lot of great kids with cerebral palsy who are living great lives. But, more than most, they need help to pay for their care. This is where, when appropriate, malpractice lawsuits come into play.Causes of Cerebral Palsy, Malpractice and Otherwise
The cause of this disorder varies. Many children with cerebral palsy have a congenital malformation of the brain, meaning that the malformation existed at birth and was not caused by factors occurring during the birthing process. For other children, their cerebral palsy was caused by brain damage sustained by the infant before, during or immediately after the baby's birth.
This brain damage is often the result of lack of oxygen to the baby's brain or from a trauma during labor and delivery. This type of injury is often, but not always, caused by the medical malpractice of the physicians delivering the baby. This is a list of some of the potential medical malpractice related causes of cerebral palsy:
- The child has problem getting enough oxygen after delivery
- Seizures shortly after delivery
- Lack of muscle tone or the child is dusky or blue
- Low APGAR score
- Significantly missing developmental milestones
- Inability to walk, or difficulty walking
There is no cure for cerebral palsy but technology and medical advances are doing some amazing things to improve the quality of life for people suffering from cerebral palsy.How Can These Mistakes Happen? Electronic Fetal Monitors Example
You have to remember that almost all babies are delivered without any mistakes. If suit has been filed, you are dealing with a very rare delivery. And, yes, some doctors for varying reasons make awful mistakes that case lifelong consequences. Looking back in hindsight, it is sometimes hard to imagine how the mistake, or the chain of errors, occurred.
A classic example is the failure to pay attention to the fetal heart monitor (EFM). We have been using these fetal monitors for 55 years. Their use is so widespread because they are a great tool in telling us if a fetus is in distress.
Here's the problem: many EFMs produce a lot of false-positive results. That's okay, you go back and perform the tests that need to be performed to rule out a complication that might require more aggressive action to deliver the infant safety. Some doctors roll their eyes and an abnormal heart rate.
The thinking, apparently, is that only inexperienced doctors freak out about such things. But there is no question that ignoring potential signs of complication - even those that are usually insignificant - can lead to problems. When we are talking about the amount of oxygen a child has before birth, the problems can change the life of that child forever: fetal distress-asphyxia causes cerebral palsy and brain injuries that can't be fixed.
Having access to fetal monitoring strips generated by a fetal monitor does something else unrelated to the treatment of the mother and child. It gives plaintiffs' attorneys the opportunity to have real evidence to present to the jury as to what actually happened. Doctors control so much of "what happened?" information and, like most people, they have a proclivity to interpret facts in a way that gets them out of trouble. If a child later developed a birth injury, no amount of speculation about the baby's distress could overcome the trusted obstetrician's memory. Now, we have EFM strips don't lie because it does not just monitor the baby - it records what happened and is often the key proof in cerebral palsy cases.The Defenses from Doctors in CP Injury Cases
The bedrock of the defense of CP injury cases is that a health care provider's mistake is only rarely a cause of cerebral palsy, mental retardation, and other birth injuries. attention deficit disorder, and epilepsy. There really is not much that can go wrong, the argument is, during child birth.
Of course, this is silly. If you have any doubts, tell an obstetrician that you are considering a using a midwife instead of a OB. Virtually ever one will launch into a speech about all of the things that can go wrong without good care. These doctors - after they have been sued - want it both ways: delivery care is critically important yet there is nothing they can do to screw it up. Like lawyers sometimes do, admittedly, this is doctors talking out of both sides of their mouth.
Still, extremely well paid defense experts have continued to deny that cerebral palsy can be caused during delivery. There is has never been, to our knowledge, a CP case where the doctor did not offer a defense regardless of the facts and circumstances surrounding the care.Hiring an Attorney for Your Child's Claim
If you believe your child has cerebral palsy as the result of medical malpractice and want to speak with a Maryland cerebral palsy lawyer, call 800-553-8082 or get a free online consultation.Cerebral Palsy Lawsuits
- Cerebral Palsy Lawsuits (how do you know if your child's cerebral palsy is from medical malpractice?)
- Finding Experts: experts who testify in these cases
- Process of a Maryland Birth Injury Lawsuit (an overview)
* All Content Written by Miller & Zois Attorney Ron MillerMaryland Cerebral Palsy Settlements and Verdicts