Can Medical Malpractice Cause Cerebral Palsy?

Baby few minutes after the birth

Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that may be caused by a brain injury or malformation while the brain is still developing. Children with this disorder may have difficulty controlling movements. They may also have moderate to severe cognitive impairment. Depending on the severity, children with this disorder may require specialized care and social resources for the rest of their lives.

However, there are instances where cerebral palsy is caused by medical mistakes before, during or after birth. Cerebral palsy caused by medical malpractice may not always be immediately recognizable to parents. Possible examples of medical malpractice that could lead to cerebral palsy include:

  • Failure to detect fetal distress: If the obstetrician or treating doctor does not detect fetal distress and take appropriate actions, it can lead to permanent brain damage and cerebral palsy.
  • Blunt force trauma: During a delivery with complications, a doctor may need to use forceps or a vacuum extractor. These are medical devices that can help extract a newborn from the womb. When these devices are used incorrectly, newborns can suffer brain trauma.
  • Failure to treat jaundice: Jaundice is a common condition in newborns caused by high levels of bilirubin. In extreme cases of jaundice, newborns can suffer from bilirubin encephalopathy if they are not treated. Newborns may develop athetoid cerebral palsy as a result.
  • Failure to treat infections: If a doctor fails to detect and treat an infection in an expectant mother, her child could suffer brain damage. This may also be a cause of cerebral palsy in newborns.

Was My Child’s Cerebral Palsy Caused by Medical Malpractice?

Not all birth complications are medical malpractice. To be considered medical malpractice, a mistake must meet certain criteria. If your newborn suffered cerebral palsy after birth and you believe your medical practitioner or other staff are responsible, then you should contact a medical malpractice attorney to investigate your claim.

When a child is born with a birth injury due to a mistake during labor and delivery, the parents will be overwhelmed with concerns and may not know where to turn for help. Although all parents worry about their kids, children with life-long injuries may not be able to care for themselves independently as they grow up. In this video, birth injury lawyer Kenneth Rothweiler discusses his work with parents of children who were harmed during delivery.

The Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyers at Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C., can investigate whether medical negligence is responsible for your child’s cerebral palsy.