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Cerebral palsy: Did a medical error cause your child’s condition?

April 20, 2015

In 2002, a woman in premature labor went to a Maryland hospital. According to the Baltimore Sun, the medical staff failed to perform a cesarean section, causing the baby to suffer oxygen loss inside the womb. The child, now 12 years old, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. He has had a number of surgeries and has limited use of his limbs. The family filed a lawsuit, claiming the medical personnel did not follow the standard of care for the situation. Recently, a jury rejected the hospital’s appeal and awarded $20.6 million to the child.

In Illinois and around the country, medical mistakes can lead to cerebral palsy and other birth injuries. A Chicago birth injury lawyer would know that it is important to recognize when medical professionals should be held responsible.

Causes of cerebral palsy

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that roughly 90 percent of cerebral palsy cases are congenital, which means the brain damage occurred before or during birth. The CDC notes that in many of these instances, the exact cause of the condition is unknown. Researchers do know, however, that a lack of oxygen during birth contributes to a number of cases.

There are several risk factors associated with developing congenital cerebral palsy, such as the following:

  • Having a premature birth
  • Low birth weight
  • Infections during pregnancy
  • Multiple births
  • Mothers who have seizures, an intellectual disability or thyroid problems

As any Chicago birth injury lawyer would know, there are also complications during labor and delivery that can lead to the condition.

When medical mistakes occur

Parents who want to know what causes cerebral palsy in their child should look at anything out of the ordinary that may have happened during labor or delivery. The CDC points out that a detached placenta or uterine rupture puts an infant at risk of developing the condition. Additionally, any problems related to the umbilical cord will affect the baby’s oxygen supply, which can result in cerebral palsy.

While a physician may not always be able to prevent these issues, medical staff should take the necessary measures to remedy them. An infant’s heart rate should always be monitored, as fluctuations can indicate stress and a lack of oxygen. When this occurs, doctors should act quickly, perhaps ordering an emergency cesarean section or other solution. Additionally, the CDC reports that physicians should identify and treat mothers who are at risk of having a preterm delivery.

Pinpointing the cause of cerebral palsy may not be easy, but it is an important step in ensuring that a family has the financial means to care for a child. Anyone who is concerned that medical staff may be responsible for the condition should consult with a Chicago birth injury lawyer.

If you have been injured in a personal injury or medical malpractice accident, do not hesitate to contact the Chicago accident and injury law firm of Cogan & Power at (312) 477-2500 to schedule a free case consultation, so that we can help you begin the process of recovery as soon as possible. If you cannot come to our offices in downtown Chicago, we will come to you. And because we take cases on a contingency basis, you will not pay any fee unless we get you compensation.