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5 Most Common Causes of Cerebral Palsy in Medical Malpractice Litigation

Not all birth injuries are the result of medical negligence or medical malpractice. Some brain injuries can still occur, even in the most competent and careful medical hands. However, medical professionals do make mistakes that can lead to severe injury, and sometimes even death of an infant. When this happens, it is important to consult with a team of knowledgeable legal professionals who understand the intricacies of medical malpractice claims.

Cerebral palsy is a well-known brain abnormality that can be the result of medical negligence before or during birth.  For further information on cerebral palsy, please see the article "15 Things Everyone Should Know About Cerebral Palsy" from.TheMighty.com.

In our experience, these are the five most common causes of cerebral palsy in which medical malpractice is involved:

    1. Lack of oxygen to the baby during labor and delivery - Lack of oxygen, over a matter of minutes, puts infants at risk for serious brain damage if doctors do not respond immediately.  Monitors are in place and nurses and doctors have a duty during labor and delivery to be on the lookout for this.  This can occur in cases where there is a prolonged or difficult delivery, such as when there is meconium aspiration.
    2. Lack of oxygen to the baby during the pregnancy - During pre-natal visits, medical providers will check to insure that the baby is healthy and that sufficient oxygen is getting to the baby's brain in the womb.  Among the potential causes of brain damage are low amniotic fluid (oligohydramnios), umbilical cord compression, or other issues involving the umbilical cord.  If these problems are not properly diagnosed and treated, they can lead to a hypoxic brain injury to the fetus
    3. Physical Injury – Physical trauma to a baby during delivery can result in brain damage and cerebral palsy, particularly if the injury is to the baby’s head.  These injuries can include forcible delivery using forceps or other medical instruments.
    4. Intrauterine Infection - Medical providers will check for infections during pregnancy as certain types of infections can result in cerebral palsy or other brain injuries during pregnancy.  In addition, some infections can result in a premature delivery in which the baby's brain has not had the time to fully develop.
    5. Post-Delivery Infection or Respiratory Distress - After a baby is born, medical providers have a duty to insure that any conditions of the baby, such as infections or respiratory distress, are properly diagnosed and treated before they progress and cause brain damage.  For example, many babies are born jaundiced due to elevated levels of bilirubin.  This is a well-known condition and blood tests are done to insure the bilirubin levels are not toxic.  When these tests are not done or treatment is not properly instituted when there are high bilirubin levels, brain damage can occur.

    If your child has been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, you may have legal recourse. For a free consultation, call 212-406-1700 or contact us online. Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool take all cases on a contingency-fee basis, meaning there is no charge without a monetary recovery.

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