Cerebral Palsy (CP) Can Stem From Medical Negligence
Cerebral Palsy is not a disease. It is a neurologic (brain) condition that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, occurs before or during birth in about 85 to 90 percent of cases. Parents do not always spot this condition immediately after birth. They may only see symptoms when a child does not meet typical developmental milestones, such as crawling, walking or talking. Sadly, children with severe cases of cerebral palsy may require a lifetime of therapy or even need to rely on other people for every aspect of personal care.
In some cases, medical diagnostic procedures prior to birth can prevent CP and early treatment can go a long way to help children live normal lives with this condition. It is important for parents to talk to experienced medical malpractice lawyers to learn about any options that may be available for their children.
Identifying the Causes of Cerebral Palsy Requires Detailed Medical Knowledge
It is not reasonable to assume that all cases of CP result from medical error. It is possible for mothers to play a role in causing it by failing to take proper care of health and nutrition during a pregnancy or perhaps by cancelling too many pre-natal doctor appointments. Still, medical negligence can cause CP in many ways, including the following:
- Failing to detect and treat maternal or fetal medical conditions during pregnancy
- Failing to notice a prolapsed umbilical cord
- Permitting natural childbirth when the size of a baby calls for caesarean section
- Injuring the brain through improper use of vacuums or forceps during delivery or other errors
- Failure to detect and treat symptoms promptly after birth
Since hospital childbirth procedures are complex, often involving a number of medical providers, parents should not assume a child’s condition is simply an unavoidable act of nature. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can conduct extensive research into every part of the process to delve into the true causes. Investigations typically involve using a network of medical specialists who have the knowledge and resources to look into everything that occurred before, during and after delivery.
Early Treatment Requires Early Detection of CP Symptoms
Medical testing at birth can reveal signs of cerebral palsy, but a newborn infant does not always show symptoms immediately. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, parents should remain watchful for certain milestones between birth and the age of 5 as follows:
- From birth to six months old: Children with CP can feel stiff or floppy.
- Beginning at six months old: Children with CP may not roll over, or their hands might not come together or go to their mouths. One hand may reach out while the other hand remains fisted.
- Beginning at one year old: Children with CP may not crawl or stand, even with support.
Families who notice these and other symptoms do not typically know the next steps for obtaining treatment and therapy. With extensive experience in this specialized legal field, our North Carolina cerebral palsy attorneys provide services beyond legal support. We can guide families by recommending informational and medical support as well.