Cerebral Palsy And Medical Malpractice

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Medical malpractice is defined as an act or omission by a health care provider that departs from standards of care in the medical community and causes injury to the patient. In other words, medical malpractice is negligence that causes injury. Cerebral palsy, a chronic medical condition caused by damage to a developing brain, is one of the most common causes of medical malpractice lawsuits. This condition often occurs when there is a difficult labor or an inappropriate means of delivery that causes lack of oxygen, bleeding in the brain, or head trauma in an infant.

Because cerebral palsy can be caused by any number of factors, it is important that parents of any child with cerebral palsy ascertain how their child developed it. Some of the most common ways cerebral palsy occurs is from an infection or illness the mother had during pregnancy or from medical error during delivery. Doctors and medical staff that are responsible for the health and well-being of the mother and infant can still cause tragic mistakes that result in a child being born with cerebral palsy.

A failure to correctly date the pregnancy using ultrasound technology can mean that the baby is born prematurely. Any infant born before 37 weeks of gestation is considered to be premature. Premature infants are at risk for many of illnesses and diseases. Cerebral palsy can occur when the brain has not had time to mature, or when the infant has suffered a loss of oxygen due to underdeveloped lungs. A failure to diagnose certain infections that a mother can contract can leave the fetus at risk if the infection reaches the uterus.

Once a woman's water breaks, the physician is responsible for delivering the baby within 24 hours in order to stop the possibility of infection entering the uterus. Not actively doing so can result in cerebral palsy and is considered medical malpractice. If the newborn has not been delivered within the 24-hour time frame, physicians are supposed to call for an emergency cesarean in order to best look out for the health and well being of the mother and the child.

Some pregnancies are at a higher risk for a difficult delivery, as in cases where the infant is overly large or the mother's birth canal is very small. At that point, a doctor should pass the pregnancy on to a specialist who will be better able to care for the mother and child during the birthing process.

Treatments and therapy for cerebral palsy patients can be very costly, but are the best chance a child with CP has of maximizing their independence and abilities. Both physical and speech therapy can help children and the parents learn to cope with the disorder. Physical therapy is essential to children with cerebral palsy and should be started immediately after a differential diagnosis has been made. Depending on the type of cerebral palsy a child has, his or her muscles can either tighten so much that they atrophy, or the muscles can be so weak that they are not able to bear any weight. Physical therapists have techniques that help the muscles to stretch with the bones and keep them from becoming too stiff or deteriorating. There are also things they can do to help the muscle become strong enough so that weight can be put on it.

It is extremely important for parents to discover exactly how their child developed this difficult disorder. If it is revealed that the condition was caused by a medical error, parents need to seek the counsel of an experienced birth injury lawyer immediately. Quick litigation may be the only way to ensure that the compensation the family deserves is actually awarded. Compensation may include money for mounting medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. An experienced birth injury lawyer, preferably one that has dealt with medical malpractice suits pertaining to cerebral palsy, will be able to guide parents down the correct path to a successful outcome to secure a a better life for their child.


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