Cerebral Palsy Due to Prenatal Negligence or During Labor and Delivery

medical malpractice lawyers Bend OR

Know When Cerebral Palsy Due to Prenatal Negligence Has Harmed Your Baby in Oregon

While the birth of a child should be one of the most joyous moments in the lives of the parents, unfortunately this is not always the case. Sometimes, things go wrong that are beyond any individual’s control, while other times, the newborn may suffer harm or even death due to an error made by the medical team. One example of a catastrophic birth injury that can be caused by an error made is cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy due to prenatal negligence could be a serious problem. This birth injury significantly impacts the life of the newborn and unfortunately is something that the child will struggle with for the rest of their lives as there is no cure for cerebral palsy. If a child suffers a birth injury such as cerebral palsy and it is due to a mistake made by an individual or group of people on the child’s healthcare team, it is considered to be medical malpractice in Oregon that our birth injury lawyer may be able to help handle for you.

What is a Birth Injury?

A birth injury is an injury that occurs most often during labor and delivery, but can occur just before labor and delivery or shortly after. A birth injury refers to some degree of trauma sustained. There are many types of birth injuries, but the most common birth injuries that can occur due to medical malpractice include the following:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy
  • Kernicterus
  • Skull fractures
  • Anoxic or hypoxic brain injuries
  • Brachial plexus injuries
  • Seizure disorder due to brain injuries sustained 
  • Brain hemorrhages

These are just a few of the many birth injuries that can be sustained due to medical malpractice.

Cerebral Palsy Explained

Cerebral palsy is a group of movement disorders that can affect a child’s ambulation, posture, and balance. Cerebral refers to the brain while palsy refers to muscle impairment. There are varying degree of cerebral palsy, ranging from mild to severe and the symptoms vary from person to person. A person with mild CP may suffer minor impairment but otherwise is able to complete activities of daily living without a great deal of assistance, while people with severe CP often need lifelong care and may not be able to walk or complete activities of daily living without total care or a great deal of assistance. There are a few types of cerebral palsy, including dyskinetic cerebral palsy, spastic cerebral palsy, mixed cerebral palsy, and ataxic cerebral palsy.

Causes of Cerebral Palsy

There are two types of cerebral palsy. One type is often due to a birth injury, while the other type is unfortunately due to improper brain development. The preventable type of cerebral palsy can occur when an otherwise healthy baby suffers a brain injury, leading to neurologic damage due to improper care. Cerebral palsy due to improper brain formation can occur for a variety of reasons, including chromosomal abnormalities, genetic disorders and improper blood supply to the brain. The most common type of cerebral palsy is due to neurologic damage sustained by an otherwise typical infant that was developing normally. Sometimes, the cause of the child’s CP may not be known, but often it is the result of any of the following:

  • Trauma during birth injuries
  • Jaundice, leading to kernicterus
  • Rh incompatibility
  • Oxygen deprivation before labor and delivery, during labor and delivery, or shortly after
  • Stroke 
  • Maternal infection passed on to the newborn
  • Vaginal delivery of a baby in an abnormal position (i.e. breech or transverse)

Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy

Children and babies with cerebral palsy due to prenatal negligence often exhibit one or more of the following:

  • Spastic movements
  • Hypotonic movements
  • Difficulty talking
  • Impaired ability to or inability to ambulate
  • Muscle spasms
  • Muscle weakness
  • Stiff muscles
  • Impairment of coordination 
  • Learning disabilities

Additional Needs of a Child With CP

A child with cerebral palsy due to prenatal negligence will often have additional needs as mentioned due to their condition. Additional needs may include the following:

  • Special education
  • Speech therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Use of assistive devices (i.e. walker, wheelchair, crutches)
  • Need for orthotics (i.e braces)
  • Increased need for doctor’s appointments
  • Need for complete or partial assistance with completing activities of daily living

What is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice refers to an individual, or an entity such as a hospital failing to provide you and your child the standard of care. Medical malpractice in the case of cerebral palsy can be due to a physician, nurse, or other provider failing to recognize fetal distress, failing to perform a c-section, and using assisted delivery tools improperly, leading to injury. If your child’s medical team deviated from the standard of care and it resulted in your child being harmed, it is considered to be medical malpractice. 

Medical Malpractice in Relation to Your Child’s Cerebral Palsy Diagnosis

A diagnosis of cerebral palsy is a catastrophic, life-altering thing that will affect you and your child for the rest of their lives. While as mentioned not every case of cerebral palsy is caused by medical malpractice, many are. Children with cerebral palsy will often need additional care and that care is quite costly. Causes of cerebral palsy related to medical malpractice include the following:

  • Trauma during delivery as a result of excessive force
  • Trauma during delivery due to the inappropriate use of extraction tools (i.e. forceps and vacuum extractor)
  • Failure to treat jaundice, leading to kernicterus
  • Failure to administer Rhogam prior to delivery in a mother with Rh incompatibility
  • Failure to identify signs of fetal distress during labor and delivery
  • Failure to treat maternal infections prior to delivery
  • Vaginal birth of a baby that should be born via c-section (i.e. if the baby is transverse or breech)
  • Allowing prolonged labor to continue, placing stress on the baby
  • Failure to appropriately monitor contractions (i.e. for decelerations)
  • Failure to perform a c-section when indicated
  • Failure to recognize and treat issues relating to the umbilical cord (i.e. umbilical cord prolapse, nuchal cord)
  • Overuse of Pitocin
  • Failure to appropriately secure the infant’s airway after birth if they are in distress

Call Our Birth Injury Lawyer in Oregon if Cerebral Palsy due to Prenatal Negligence Hurt Your Baby

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.

For a free case evaluation


(541) 385-1999 in Bend, Oregon
(503) 479-3646 in Portland, Oregon
(612) 444-3374 in Minnesota

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