Cerebral Palsy is one of the most challenging disabilities that children and parents can face. It is a neurological disorder that appears in infancy or early childhood, and is believed to be caused by trauma to the brain that occurs during pregnancy, birth, or immediately thereafter. CP can be the result of medical malpractice when a doctor fails to deliver the baby properly, treat the baby for an illness or injury, or fails to properly care for the mother’s health during pregnancy. If CP is caused by a doctor’s medical malpractice, a Washington DC Cerebral Palsy Birth Injury Lawyer can help win the family compensation for their child’s disability.
The damage that causes cerebral palsy results in impaired movement, ranging from stiff or weak muscles to a lack of voluntary motor control. The three types of cerebral palsy are Spastic CP, Dyskinetic CP, and Mixed CP, which combines the symptoms of the first two. Spastic CP is characterized by muscle stiffness and weakness. It can present in the legs, one side of the body, or in all four appendages. In Dyskinetic CP, motor movements are incomplete and may appear as tremors, twisting motions, or exaggerated posturing. Children with cerebral palsy may also have seizures, learning disabilities, language or hearing problems, or mental retardation.
Most children who have cerebral palsy are born with the condition – 70% of cerebral palsy cases are the result of a brain injury that happens in the womb, and 20% are the result of a brain injury during delivery. There are several possible causes linked with cerebral palsy, which range from problems in utero to untreated conditions immediately following delivery. If the doctor fails to properly diagnose and treat these conditions, there may be medical malpractice and the mother and child may be entitled to damages with the help of a Washington DC Cerebral Palsy Birth Injury Lawyer. For example, if the mother contracts an infection during pregnancy that is not properly treated, the child may be born with CP. If the baby is born with jaundice that goes untreated, CP may develop. During the labor and delivery, head trauma or oxygen deprivation can cause damage to the infant’s brain that can result in CP. In one recent cerebral palsy medical malpractice case, a family was awarded $55 million dollars in settlement. The parents claimed that their child suffers from CP because of oxygen deprivation, which would have been avoided if the doctors at Johns Hopkins University Hospital had performed a c-section immediately. They delayed the procedure for several hours, causing severe brain damage.
Medical malpractice resulting in cerebral palsy can happen at any point from the beginning of the pregnancy, through the hours and days following the baby’s birth. Untreated health issues in the mother and the baby, as well as mistakes made during delivery, are malpractice issues that can cause permanent neurological damage. The signs of cerebral palsy may take several months or even years to become apparent. If you feel that your baby is struggling to meet developmental milestones, contact your pediatrician immediately. Be sure to consult with Cohen & Cohen, P.C. to find out more about your rights when it comes to birth injuries and medical malpractice.