According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 1 in 345 children have cerebral palsy, making it one of the most common neurological conditions. While many cases of cerebral palsy are not preventable, the condition can result from negligent medical care during pregnancy and delivery.
Understanding the causes of cerebral palsy can help you identify if medical negligence before, during, or immediately after delivery caused your child’s condition. Contact the Michigan birth injury lawyers at Fieger law for compassionate, knowledgeable legal representation for your case.
What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a lifelong neurological condition that begins in utero or early childhood. Children with CP often experience muscle stiffness or weakness and poor coordination.
Children with CP can also experience co-occurring health conditions. A study of 3,545 children and adolescents with CP found that 44% experience chronic pain. The CDC reports that about 41% of those with CP have epilepsy, and according to a 2019 review, between 28% and 49% of those with CP have intellectual disabilities. Other common complications include spinal problems, hearing or vision disabilities, and malnutrition.
The cost of treating your child’s CP and co-occurring conditions adds up. The CDC reports children with CP typically have medical bills 10 times higher than children without CP, and children with both CP and co-occurring intellectual disabilities have medical bills 26 times higher than children without CP or intellectual disabilities.
When a birth injury causes CP, many parents wonder if they can get compensation from the hospital that caused the birth injury to cover the price of their child’s medical treatments. By speaking with an attorney from Fieger Law, we can help you review your case and determine if medical negligence is responsible for your child’s CP.
What Causes Cerebral Palsy?
CP is caused by atypical brain development or damage to the brain, either in utero or during early childhood. Specific health problems during pregnancy, like an infection or high blood pressure, require immediate treatment to protect your and your baby’s health. If your doctor knowingly delays or fails to provide medical intervention, your child may suffer brain damage, potentially leading to CP.
CP can also be caused by oxygen deprivation or head trauma at birth due to doctor or nurse negligence during the delivery. Improper or dangerous birthing practices can cause brain damage. Misuse of forceps, for instance, can cause a brain injury. Similarly, if your doctor allows you to labor too long, your baby may not get enough oxygen and experience subsequent brain damage.
Doctors and hospitals typically won’t admit they acted negligently if a birth injury led to your child’s CP. That’s why you need to get an experienced lawyer on your side. Get in touch with Fieger Law to understand your rights and let us help you fight for a fair settlement.
Types of Cerebral Palsy
Most forms of CP are congenital, meaning your child developed CP while in utero or during the birthing process. Acquired cerebral palsy develops at least 28 days after birth, typically as a result of brain infections or injury to the head.
According to the CDC, about 80% of sufferers have spastic CP, meaning some or all of their muscles are stiff and difficult to move. Other forms of CP include:
- Dyskinetic CP, which causes uncontrollable movements
- Ataxic CP, which causes poor balance and trouble controlling their bodies
- Mixed CP, combined symptoms of more than one type of CP
All CP types can make it hard for your child to walk, speak, or even swallow without medical assistance.
Under What Circumstances Can Cerebral Palsy Be Prevented?
Many forms of CP are genetic. In these cases, you can help reduce the risk of CP by taking care of your health during pregnancy, getting vaccinated, and accessing prenatal care.
CP is nearly 100% preventable when it is caused by willful or accidental negligence by a healthcare provider. Your doctor can do the following to help prevent CP; if they fail to follow these procedures, your child has a higher chance of developing the condition:
- Provide high-quality prenatal care
- Appropriately and promptly intervene during labor and delivery when complications occur
- Diagnose and treat infections during pregnancy
- Diagnose and treat preterm labor as soon as possible
- Appropriately respond to fetal distress
- Treat high blood pressure during delivery (preeclampsia)
- Perform your delivery, vaginal or c-section, in a timely manner
As a parent, you may feel angry or frustrated if you believe your child’s CP was caused by medical malpractice. Our Michigan medical malpractice lawyers can help you determine whether this is the case and represent your interests in filing a medical malpractice claim.
Legal Options for Birth Injury
Medical malpractice suits are challenging even if you’re sure your child’s birth injury caused their CP. With the help of a skilled birth injury or medical malpractice attorney, you can hold the negligent provider responsible for their actions and get compensation to help you pay your child’s medical bills and life-long care expenses.
At Fieger Law, we’re determined to fight for you and your baby every step of the way. Our law firm accepts birth injury and medical malpractice cases across the U.S., so contact us today for a free initial consultation.