Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders that affect a person’s movement, posture, and balance. It is often found in children and is the most common childhood motor disability. Although several factors may cause cerebral palsy, medical malpractice is typically to blame. In cases like these, the parents may have the right to hold the doctor, hospital, or other healthcare professional or facility liable.
Can medical malpractice lead to cerebral palsy?
Many things can go wrong during pregnancy and birth that ultimately lead to a child developing cerebral palsy. Several different medical professionals will be responsible for caring for the woman and her unborn child. That means there are numerous ways that malpractice can cause problems. Here are a few:
- Depriving the unborn baby of oxygen. Oxygen deprivation is a common cause of cerebral palsy. A problem with the umbilical cord during birth can deprive the child’s brain of oxygen. Doctors and nurses are responsible for monitoring oxygen levels but may be negligent in doing so.
- Not detecting early warning signs. Genetics and environmental conditions can cause abnormal brain development that leads to cerebral palsy. Healthcare professionals may fail to properly use screening tools that can detect these early warning signs.
- Problems with medically necessary C-sections. Fetal distress can lead to brain damage which ultimately causes cerebral palsy. A Cesarean section, or C-section, may be necessary to avoid this complication. If the C-section is delayed or improperly performed, the procedure could be to blame.
- Post-birth complications. After birth, a child could be susceptible to brain trauma, infections, and oxygen deprivation. Doctors and nurses should monitor a child after birth to minimize these risks and therefore the likelihood that the child will develop cerebral palsy.
- Insufficient emergency procedures. Hospitals are required to maintain adequate procedures to handle emergencies that take place during birth. Failure to have or follow these rules could cause birth injuries such as cerebral palsy.
Other possible acts of malpractice could include:
- Understaffed hospitals and emergency rooms
- Doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals trying to monitor too many patients at once
- Not understanding what signs or symptoms to look for that could indicate a complication with the birth
- Lack of proper medical training or experience
- Miscommunication among doctors, nurses, and hospital staff
- Mixed up medical records and patient files
- Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol while delivering a child
- Delivering a child after having too little sleep
Proving Medical Malpractice in Chicago
Recognizing possible evidence of malpractice is essential because it will be up to the injured mother to bring a case. Proving medical malpractice requires more than simply showing that a doctor made a mistake. The mistake has to be unreasonable in light of the circumstances. Only then can the plaintiff show that the error was the result of negligence and therefore malpractice.
If your child was injured during or after childbirth and later developed cerebral palsy, you may have a legal claim against the doctor, hospital, or other professional or facility. Taking legal action could get you the monetary compensation you need to cover your child’s medical expenses and other damages resulting from negligence. Call Hale & Monico today to learn more.