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How Can Medical Mistakes Cause Cerebral Palsy?

On Behalf of | May 14, 2018 | PatientSafety |


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines cerebral palsy as a group of disorders that affect balance and movement. Cerebral palsy can occur when the developing brain is harmed by an abnormality or injury. Medical mistakes made before, during or shortly after birth are a cause of cerebral palsy.

The following medical mistakes may lead to cerebral palsy:

  1. Failure to respond to fetal distress. Doctors must quickly respond to fetal distress to prevent the possibility of brain damage. For example, a twisted or prolapsed umbilical cord could lead to a hypoxic or anoxic brain injury. Newborns can also suffer oxygen deprivation if they become stuck in the birth canal.
  2. Failure to treat severe infant jaundice. Infants can develop athetoid cerebral palsy if they do not receive care for severe cases of jaundice. Jaundice, a condition caused by excessive levels of bilirubin, can lead to kernicterus. This is a type of brain damage caused by bilirubin toxicity.
  3. Failure to treat maternal infections. Intrauterine infections can result in fetal brain damage if they are not treated. A delay in treatment can also lead to this outcome.
  4. Excessive pulling or improper use of delivery tools. Doctors may cause brain damage to newborns if they pull too hard during delivery or if they improperly use birth-assisting tools. These tools may include forceps or vacuum extractors.

Did Medical Malpractice Cause My Child’s Cerebral Palsy?

Medical mistakes are very common in US hospitals and health care centers. An estimated 251,000 US patients die from medical mistakes each year. However, not all medical mistakes are medical malpractice. Certain criteria must be met for a medical malpractice case to move forward. In cases where a medical malpractice case can proceed, victims and their family members may be able to recover compensation from the parties responsible for medical mistakes.

The Georgia birth injury lawyers at McArthur Law Firm could help you determine whether medical malpractice caused your child’s cerebral palsy. You can speak to one of our attorneys at no cost during a free consultation.