Pregnancy is a time of hopeful expectation for most women. These new mothers place all of their trust and hope in the hands of medical professionals who care for them. Most of the time, the outcome is a happy one, with a healthy infant and mother. Most doctors uphold their Hippocratic oath and make decisions that result in a successful labor and delivery process.
Medical professionals are humans, and they can make mistakes. Unfortunately, because of their line of work, those mistakes can have life-altering consequences for families. Cerebral palsy is a perfect example of a condition that may result from a preventable birth injury. The child will have to accommodate the symptoms of the condition every day, and the family may incur substantial, ongoing expenses to provide adequate care for the child.
What is cerebral palsy?
The symptoms of cerebral palsy differ from person to person. At its most basic, cerebral palsy is a disorder of the brain that impacts muscle development or motor skills. Many times, infants born with cerebral palsy aren't diagnosed until they grow. Parents typically notice delays with gross and fine motor skill development. Speech delays are also common. With testing, doctors can determine if the delay is just a minor medical issue or something more serious, like cerebral palsy.
Those affected by cerebral palsy may have underdeveloped muscle in critical areas of their bodies. They may also struggle with motor control as a result. Tasks such as walking, talking and even holding objects may be harder or impossible for those with cerebral palsy. Physical therapy and mobility accommodations can help those with the condition learn to perform important physical tasks.
What causes cerebral palsy?
Cerebral palsy is caused by injuries to the developing brain or issues with the development process. Sometimes, cerebral palsy develops very early in a pregnancy. Other times, it develops during the labor and delivery process. Lack of blood flow to the brain or even blunt trauma can damage the brain and change how it grows and develops.
Doctors can often pinpoint when during pregnancy or early life a child developed cerebral palsy. Having your child thoroughly examined by a doctor capable of making that determination can help you understand the cause in your specific case. Knowing when and potentially how your child's injury happened can help you determine if a medical mistake contributed to the condition.
Failure to properly monitor an infant during labor can result in doctors not realizing when an infant is in distress. Lack of oxygen to the baby at this late stage in development could result in brain damage. Accidents that involve a traumatic blow to the unborn child could also result in cerebral palsy due to a traumatic brain injury. If your child's cerebral palsy is a birth injury, you may have options for compensation.