Despite extensive access to prenatal care and a level of medical technology undreamed of in previous generations, almost 5% of the children born in the United States suffer from birth defects. Some of these children - those with minor injuries - may recover quickly and completely, but others are subject to a lifetime of disability. Unfortunately, the negligent and avoidable errors of doctors, hospitals and nursing staff during the birthing process can cause such injuries, such as cerebral palsy.
Cerebral palsy is the generic term for a number of disorders affecting a baby's brain function and body movement. Cerebral palsy can be the result of an injury to a baby's brain in the womb, during delivery, or some time after birth. It can also be caused by a lack of oxygen flow to a baby's brain during delivery.
What are some of the signs of cerebral palsy?
The signs of cerebral palsy vary greatly because there are many different types and levels of disability. The main sign that your child might have cerebral palsy is a delay reaching the motor or movement milestones. If you see any of these signs, call your child's doctor or nurse.
A child over 2 months with cerebral palsy might:
Have difficulty controlling head when picked up.
Have stiff legs that cross or "scissor" when picked up.
A child over 6 months with cerebral palsy might:
Continue to have a hard time controlling head when picked up.
Reach with only one hand while keeping the other in a fist.
A child over 10 months with cerebral palsy might:
Crawl by pushing off with one hand and leg while dragging the opposite hand and leg.
Not sit by himself or herself.
A child over 12 months with cerebral palsy might:
Not be able to stand with support.
A child over 24 months with cerebral palsy might:
Not be able to walk.
Not be able to push a toy with wheels.
Unfortunately, cerebral palsy is often the result of preventable medical mistakes made by doctors, hospitals, and other medical professionals. If you suspect your child developed cerebral palsy due to medical malpractice, you may be eligible to seek compensation for the damages you and your child have endured. Although medical malpractice is only the cause of cerebral palsy in a modest percentage of cases, you have the right to know if your child's cerebral palsy was preventable.
Contact the medical malpractice law firm of Rosen Louik & Perry, P.C. for more information and/or a free consultation.
Sources: National Birth Defects Prevention Network; United Cerebral Palsy; Center for Disease Control