Cerebral palsy is a common, permanent motor function disability in childhood. It occurs due to an interruption in the child’s early brain development. Any abnormal development of or injury to the brain could trigger CP.
No known cure exists for CP. Parents with children who have CP should find out whether a physician’s malpractice was a contributing factor. If so, the family may be eligible for financial compensation.
Congenital CP risk factors
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 85% to 90% of CP cases are congenital. Congenital CP occurs from brain damage while in the womb or during birth. Examples include if a physician fails to notice the infant is not receiving enough oxygen during birth, resulting in brain hypoxia and permanent damage. Risk factors that could cause congenital CP include the following:
- Infections in the mother
- Maternal medical complications
- Infertility treatments or multiple births
- Untreated jaundice (kernicterus)
- Birth complications
Placental detachment, umbilical cord prolapse, premature birth and uterine rupture are all examples of complications that could impact the infant’s brain. It is the presiding obstetrician’s responsibility to detect signs of a problem in the mother and to reasonably try to prevent harm to the baby. Failure to recommend possible treatments or solutions could be medical malpractice.
Traumatic birth injuries and CP
The other 10% to 15% of CP cases are acquired. Acquired CP happens more than 28 days after the child’s birth. The most common causes of acquired CP are birth injuries and infections in infancy. Traumatic injuries shortly after birth, such as child abuse or a car accident, could impact the healthy development of the brain.
Medical malpractice is more likely to cause congenital CP than acquired CP. In both situations, however, parents may have grounds for lawsuits against the at-fault or negligent party. If someone else’s carelessness, recklessness or intent to harm contributed to the condition, the at-fault party could be financially responsible. The family could fight for compensation through a civil claim in Philadelphia.