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Can Cerebral Palsy be Caused by Medical Malpractice?

cerebral palsy

About 10 percent of children born with cerebral palsy incurred the brain injury as a direct result of medical malpractice. That means that one in every ten children with cerebral palsy would not be suffering from the injury had the medical team not made a mistake or acted negligently during or after the birthing process.

If your child is suffering from cerebral palsy as a result of a birth injury, you may wish to seek the legal guidance of a medical malpractice lawyer. The law firm will determine whether you have a case for a cerebral palsy lawsuit and advise you of your rights.

What is cerebral palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a permanent disorder caused by a brain injury that typically occurs before or during delivery or soon after birth. The disorder causes the disruption or cessation of normal signals going from the brain to the nervous system. There are varying degrees of severity but the worst cases can cause the crippling of certain muscles or muscular functions.

Understanding the causes of cerebral palsy

The brain injury associated with cerebral palsy can be caused by external pressure to the brain or oxygen deprivation:

  • An abnormally long or difficult labor where the brain is compressed in the birth canal for longer than it should be
  • Damage to or misplacement of the umbilical cord that cuts oxygen off from the baby’s brain

The result of these situation is paralysis to some part of the brain but the severity of the disorder is usually linked to the length of time that the brain was compressed or oxygen was cut off; the longer the time, the more severe the disability.

How do I know if cerebral palsy could have been prevented?

The best way to assess whether your child’s cerebral palsy could have been prevented is to seek the advice of a qualified medical malpractice lawyer. The law firm will have access to a team of medical professionals who will be able to dissect the particulars of your case.

Medical malpractice attorneys may look for the following circumstances to determine whether medical malpractice was responsible for cerebral palsy:

  • Physician failed to diagnose an infection in the mother, identify that the mother was at risk for an infection or was likely to have other complications during childbirth such as celphalo-pelvic disproportion (CPD). CPD happens when an infant is proportionately too big for the mother’s cervix, causing a difficult and longer than average labor.
  • Physician failed to identify that the infant was too large to be delivered vaginally by the mother (a c-section should have been scheduled).
  • Physician failed to detect and diagnose a prolapsed umbilical cord, which is when the umbilical cord comes out before the infant does.
  • Physician diagnosed any of the above conditions but failed to plan around these conditions.
  • Physician failed to react to signs of distress in the infant before, during or shortly after birth. For example, a doctor may be able to prevent cerebral palsy even if an infant has experienced oxygen deprivation by acting quickly. If the medical team has access to hyperbaric oxygen therapy which floods brain tissue with oxygen but does not use it, they may be held liable for the birth injury.

The Seattle personal injury attorneys at Morrow Kidman Tinker Macey-Cushman, PLLC have years of experience representing families harmed by medical malpractice, birth injuries and other personal injuries. We seek justice for patients who have been harmed by preventable medical errors including wrongful death, catastrophic injuries and traumatic brain injuries in Seattle and across Washington State. There are no fees or expenses to file a personal injury case as we only receive payment if we recover damages on your behalf. Do not delay; personal injury claims come with a statute of limitations, which means they must be filed within a certain time frame of the injury.

Call us now at 206-842-1000 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our compassionate, experienced Seattle injury lawyers. We are ready to fight for you.