Understanding What to Do Next After Your Baby With Cerebral Palsy Needs Enhanced Healthcare
Complications occur every day during the labor and delivery of a baby. While most parents never anticipate that complications will occur, sadly they do and can change the course of their lives forever. Most parents think about the birth of their child as one of the happiest moments of their lives, but if it was overshadowed by a complication harming their child, this is often one of the worst moments of their lives. One example of a complication that can occur during the labor and delivery of a baby with cerebral palsy (CP). While this devastating birth injury can occur not due to any error made, there are many cases of cerebral palsy where mistakes were made causing cerebral palsy, making this birth injury potentially preventable.
Anytime a child is diagnosed with CP it is important to contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer in Portland, Oregon like ours at Kuhlman Law. A baby with cerebral palsy is often caused by medical malpractice or negligence, and can result in serious personal injuries that require a lifetime of healthcare costs.
What is a Birth Injury?
A birth injury is an injury that occurs just before labor, during labor and delivery or shortly after birth. Birth injuries may be mild, such as bruising, or can be much more serious such as hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, brachial plexus injuries, kernicterus, etc. Cerebral palsy is an example of a birth injury.
What Causes Cerebral Palsy?
CP is a birth injury that occurs due to brain damage. The brain damage may have occurred while in utero prenatally, or during labor and delivery . Rarely, CP can occur after birth, but this is uncommon. Brain damage can occur due to physical trauma during the birthing process, or as the result of the baby not receiving enough oxygen in utero or during the labor and delivery process.
What is Cerebral Palsy?
There are many types of CP. Children with CP are classified based on the where the brain damage occurred and the extent of the damage. CP affects the way the child walks, talks, moves and many other ways. The types of CP include the following:
Choreathetoid CP – This type of CP is a type of athetoid CP. Babies and children with this type of CP tend to have involuntary jerky movements, known as chorea. Children may have normal cognitive skills, but their movements are affected
Dystonic CP – Children with dystonic CP tend to exhibit very slow but rigid movements. They tend to experience slow movements accompanied by muscle rigidity and abnormal posture, which then relaxes but occurs again. Children with this type of CP have a higher than normal muscle tone (hypertonic)
Athetoid CP – Athetoid CP is also known as dyskinetic CP. It is caused by damage to the basal ganglia in the brain. Children with athetoid CP exhibit involuntary, abnormal movement and their muscle tone goes between high (hypertonic) and low (hypotonic)
Ataxic CP – Ataxic cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the cerebellum of the brain, and mainly affects the person’s coordination and balance. Children with ataxic CP struggle with balance and may walk with their legs further apart than normal.They can have difficulty with perception as to where they are in space and therefore may run into things or trip as they may think something is further away or closer than it is
These types of CP range from mild to severe. Mild is classified as children with minimal symptoms of CP, and are able to lead a relatively independent life. Children with moderate CP often need assistance with activities of daily living and also need ambulatory assistance with the use of assistive devices (i.e. crutches, cane, walker, etc.). Children with severe CP need help with generally every aspect of their care, and may require complete care for the duration of their lives.
Symptoms and Signs that a Baby with Cerebral Palsy May Show
Signs and symptoms of CP may include the following:
- Abnormal muscle rigidity (hypertonia)
- Abnormal muscle weakness (hypotonia)
- Difficulty with balance and coordination
- Difficulty with walking
- Abnormal body movements
- Muscle spasms
- Learning disabilities
- Stiff muscles
- Overactive muscles
- Paralysis on one side of the body
These are just a few of the most common signs and symptoms of CP. Every child is different, and the deficits that they have greatly depend on the type and severity of their CP.
Cerebral Palsy Due to Medical Malpractice
While not every case of cerebral palsy is due to medical malpractice, there are many situations in which a child needless suffers due to a healthcare provider’s mistake. This is not something that should ever occur. It is bothersome enough to have a child suffer from even a minor birth injury, but it is even more devastating when a child suffers from a birth injury that is so severe that they will suffer from for the rest of their lives. While mistakes do not happen purposefully, it still should never occur. There are many ways in which medical malpractice can cause a baby to be born with cerebral palsy. Examples of errors leading to CP include the following:
- Failure to identify if the newborn is in distress
- Failing to treat umbilical cord prolapse
- Failing to identify umbilical cord prolapse
- Failing to identify and treat preeclampsia
- Failing to resuscitate at birth if the baby is in distress, leading to brain damage
- Failing to intervene in circumstances of prolonged or arrested labor
- Failing to properly monitor contractions for decelerations or severe variability
- Overdosing the mother on labor inducing drugs (i.e. Pitocin), leading to tachysystole
- Choosing a vaginal birth when it is not safe for the mother and baby, leading to complications
- Failing to perform an emergency c-section when complications or fetal/maternal distress arise
- Failing to provide proper oversight during labor and delivery
- Providing inadequate prenatal care, leading to complications
- Missing identifiable potential complications (i.e. if the cord is wrapped around the baby’s neck prior to delivery)
After Our Birth Injury Lawyer if Your Baby With Cerebral Palsy Need Medical Help
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or killed as a result of medical malpractice contact the Oregon Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Kuhlman Law at our number below or fill out the intake form. We offer a free initial case evaluation and handle cases on a contingency fee which means that you pay no money unless we recover.
Our law firm handles cases throughout the state including Bend and Portland Oregon, Redmond, Central Oregon, Sisters, Madras, Multnomah County, Deschutes County, Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, Lane County, Medford, Gresham, La Grande, Albany, Medford, Beaverton, Umatilla, Pendleton, Cottage Grove, Florence, Oregon City, Springfield, Keizer, Grants Pass, McMinnville, Tualatin, West Linn, Forest Grove, Wilsonville, Newberg, Roseburg, Lake Oswego, Klamath Falls, Happy Valley, Tigard, Ashland, Milwakie, Coos Bay, The Dalles, St. Helens, Sherwood, Central Point, Canby, Troutdale, Hermiston, Silverton, Hood River, Newport, Prineville, Astoria, Tillamook, Lincoln City, Hillsboro, and Vancouver, Washington.
We also have an office in Minneapolis, Minnesota and take medical malpractice cases throughout the Twin Cities, including St. Paul, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Dakota County, Washington County, Anoka County, Scott County, Blaine, Stillwater, and Saint Paul Minnesota.