Understanding CP and the Law: Oregon Birth Injury Lawyer Explains the Types of Cerebral Palsy Caused by Medical Malpractice
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a condition that can be quite devastating and life altering. It is a condition that affects movement, balance and posture. There is more than one cause of cerebral palsy, but most often the disorder is due to an injury that occurs during birth. While cerebral palsy is an umbrella term, there are actually many different types of CP that a newborn may develop, and the type is based on the area of the brain that is damaged. Children with CP often will have extensive needs that are costly, including medical bills, specialized therapies, assistive devices (i.e. walker, wheelchair, etc.), long-term care, and specialized schooling amongst many other needs. While some times types are genetic, some types of cerebral palsy caused by medical malpractice could be avoided.
In fact, the sad truth is that cerebral palsy is often preventable, meaning that if the medical providers who cared for you during your pregnancy and during your labor and delivery treated you with the standard of care, the injury may have been avoided. This is referred to as medical malpractice. This is why, if your child received a cerebral palsy diagnosis, it is a good idea to contact an experienced CP lawyer who can determine if your child’s CP was caused by something preventable, or if there was no way to prevent it. If your child’s CP could have been prevented, you and your child may be eligible for compensation to cover the needs of your child over their lifetime.
Sub-types of Cerebral Palsy
As mentioned above, there are multiple different types of cerebral palsy that a child may have based on the area in the brain that is damaged. The sub-types of cerebral palsy include the following:
Spastic CP – Spastic CP occurs due to damage of the motor cortex and pyramidal tracts. Children with this type of CP have increased muscle tone, causing their muscles to be stiff. Their movements are often awkward and stiff. Spastic CP may only affect certain parts of the body (i.e. legs or arms).
Athetoid/Dyskinetic CP – Athetoid cerebral palsy occurs as a result of damage to basal ganglia and/or cerebellum. Children with this type of CP often have involuntary movement, and their muscle tone fluctuates between hypotonic and hypertonic. Athetoid CP causes issues with drooling and balance as well.
Ataxic CP – Ataxic CP occurs as a result of damage to the cerebellum. Children with Ataxic CP have issues with depth perception, fine motor skills, coordination, shakiness, and tremors.
Mixed CP – Children can have mixed CP if more than one area of the brain was damaged. This can lead to a slew of difficulties, depending on the areas of the brain that were damaged.
What are the Signs of Cerebral Palsy?
There are many different signs that may lead you and medical providers to believe that your child may have cerebral palsy. There are times however, that CP is not diagnosed until the child is older as it can be difficult to diagnose in some cases when babies are quite young. Early signs of CP include the following:
- Floppy extremities
- Stiff extremities/overall stiffness
- Head lag when it is not developmentally appropriate
- Leg stiffness/leg crossing in a scissor motion
- Failure to meet milestones (i.e. rolling, walking, talking, etc.)
Causes of Cerebral Palsy
There are many causes of cerebral palsy. Causes include the following:
- Congenital cerebral palsy – This type can occurs due to abnormal development of the brain, but also can occur as a result of brain damage during labor and delivery.
- Kernicterus – This condition is caused by untreated jaundice. When the level of bilirubin becomes too high in the blood, it seeps into the brain tissue, causing brain damage that leads to cerebral palsy. Kernicterus is generally 100% preventable and is almost always caused by medical malpractice
Types of Cerebral Palsy Caused by Medical Malpractice: Causes of CP
As mentioned above, often times cerebral palsy is caused by a birth injury. Many times, birth injuries are able to be avoided, but this is not always the case. When an avoidable birth injury occurs, it is considered to be medical malpractice. Common medical malpractice related causes of CP include the following:
- Failure to determine the fetus is in distress during delivery on electronic fetal monitoring
- Failure to properly monitor the fetus during labor and delivery, or prior if there are any concerns
- Failure to treat or identify umbilical cord prolapse
- Failure to perform a c-section if a vaginal delivery is not indicated
- Failure to perform an emergency c-section when indicated
- Failure to properly resuscitate a baby at birth, leading to brain damage from oxygen deprivation
- Improper use of labor inducing drugs
- Failure to provide adequate prenatal care
- Failure to diagnose and treat complications of pregnancy
- Failure to diagnose and intervene with cases of placental insufficiency. There is no cure for placental insufficiency, but other conditions causing the placental insufficiency can be treated, and delivery may be an option for women who are far enough along
- Failure to intervene in cases of prolong or arrested labor
- Failure to treat jaundice, leading to kernicterus
- Failure to manage any underlying health conditions during a woman’s pregnancy as well as labor and delivery
How our Cerebral Palsy Lawyers Can Help You
The types of cerebral palsy caused by medical malpractice can be serious and life-changing. A diagnosis of cerebral palsy is devastating. Unfortunately, there is no cure for CP and your family will have to deal with the effects of CP for your child’s entire lifetime. Treatment and care for children with CP can be quite costly. You should never have to pay costly bills for treatment and care of your child’s CP if it was entirely preventable. This is why you should speak to our experienced cerebral palsy lawyers who can review your case to determine if medical malpractice played a part in your child developing CP. If it is determined that medical malpractice caused your child’s CP, you may be eligible for compensation to cover the care and treatment of your child’s CP.
If You Believe Your Loved One Was Harmed, We Can Help When the Types of Cerebral Palsy Caused by Medical Malpractice Affect Your Family
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.
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