If you were to ask most expectant parents about what is most important about their unborn child, they will very likely express a desire for a healthy child. Unfortunately, the difficult process of bringing new life into this world can sometimes result in serious injuries to both mother and baby.
In some cases, medical intervention can reduce the risks of harm and improve the outcome for mother and child. Other times, the actions or inaction of the physicians and nurses involved in the labor and delivery process can cause direct, lifelong harm to the child and indirect harm to the parents who must then absorb the financial and practical cost of caring for a child with a serious birth injury.
Among the various potential serious conditions a child could develop due to medical neglect or malpractice during pregnancy, labor and delivery, cerebral palsy is possibly the best known. Understanding what medical mistakes can contribute to the development of cerebral palsy can help you better advocate for yourself during labor and after birth if something goes wrong.
Cerebral palsy often results from lack of oxygen or trauma to the head
There was a time when people believed that the vast majority of cerebral palsy cases were the result of birth injuries. While it is true that many cases of cerebral palsy result from oxygen deprivation or traumatic injuries to the head, some cases develop earlier in pregnancy, potentially because of an injury the mother experiences.
Medical testing makes it easier than ever before to determine at what point in pregnancy or labor the issues that caused cerebral palsy occurred. Exposure to dangerous pathogens during pregnancy or shortly after birth could lead to cerebral palsy if the illness causes swelling of the brain. Traumatic injury to the head, potentially caused by the use of intervention tools such as forceps, could also damage the brain.
Inadequate fetal monitoring that fails to recognize a child in distress due to lack of adequate oxygen could also be a primary cause of cerebral palsy. If a physician didn’t monitor your baby or if they used a vacuum or forceps during delivery, those decisions could result in birth injuries.
An outside medical evaluation can help determine causation
Few physicians or hospitals will readily admit to a patient that a mistake or lack of care caused a debilitating, lifelong injury to their child. If you have any reason to suspect that mistakes or inaction during the birth of your child resulted in an injury that later resulted in cerebral palsy, you may want to see an outside physician to determine the likely cause of your child’s condition.
If a birth injury is the likely cause, you may be able to seek compensation through a medical malpractice claim for the medical costs associated with your child’s care and the future lost wages you or your spouse will suffer while providing care to your child for the duration of their life.