Birth Injury Cases: Cerebral Palsy
As any parent of a child with cerebral palsy knows, cerebral palsy refers to an impairment or absence of physical coordination due to a brain injury or abnormality. The difficulties with motor function experienced by children with cerebral palsy may or may not be accompanied by any impairments in mental development.
Doctors typically divide cerebral palsy into two broad categories. They use the term "spastic cerebral palsy" to refer to they type of cerebral palsy characterized by abnormal muscle tone; and they use the term "athetoid cerebral palsy" to refer to a form of cerebral palsy involving involuntary twisting and writing motions. Further refinements in diagnosis are made by describing the part(s) of the body affected - whether the palsy affects only legs, or arms, whether it affects one side of the body and not the other.
Very often, cerebral palsy results from medical malpractice in the delivery of a child.
Two of the most common causes of cerebral palsy - hypoxia (lack of oxygen) and physical trauma to the brain - can occur through medical negligence in the delivery of a baby. Hypoxia can result from an obstetrician's inattention or error during delivery. And cerebral palsy caused by physical trauma to the brain can result from an obstetrician's improper use of forceps or decision to not to perform a Cesarean section.
A medical malpractice lawyer can obtain and have experts review your child's medical records to see if there are any signs that your child's cerebral palsy was caused by medical malpractice during childbirth. If your child's cerebral palsy was caused by hypoxia during delivery, that fact might be reflected in low Apgar scores (delivery room measures of respiration, color, muscle tone, reflexes and heart rate) or a blood pH that is below 7.20.
In order to determine if your child's cerebral palsy was caused by physical trauma during delivery, an independent medical doctor hired by your lawyer should review the medical records of your childbirth for a number of factors, including whether the doctor expected to deliver such a large baby and whether the doctor was aware of risk factors for a natural childbirth such as diabetes.
If you believe that your child's cerebral palsy, or any other birth injury, was caused by an obstetrician during childbirth, you should consult with a medical malpractice lawyer for a free review of your child's medical records by the proper expert.