Cerebral Palsy And Medical Malpractice – Fetal Distress, Hypoxia and Baby Brain Damage
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Articles About Birth Injury Lawsuits And Childbirth Injury MedicineCerebral Palsy, Medical Malpractice and Hospital Negligence
Founded in 1958, The Beasley Firm has represented thousands of children injured by medical malpractice, recovering hundreds of millions of dollars for those families in settlements and jury verdicts. If you suspect your child’s cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy, or other disability may have been caused by your doctor’s or hospital’s negligence, contact the lawyers, doctors, and nurses on our birth injury legal team for a free and confidential consultation by filling out the online form below, by calling The Beasley Firm’s main line at (888) 823-5291, or by calling my office directly at (215) 931-2634.
As described on the birth injury and infant brain damage page, the connection between cerebral palsy and medical malpractice is well-known. Although most cerebral palsy is not caused by medical malpractice, many children have cerebral palsy — particularly spastic quadriplegic or dyskinetic cerebral palsy — as the result of a mistake by the hospital and doctors that treated the mother during labor. Each year, thousands of newborns are injured by mismanagement of the pregnancy or negligence in during delivery when the baby is deprived of oxygen or when their hypoxia and acidosis are left untreated.
Some of the most common forms of medical malpractice that lead to infant brain damage and cerebral palsy are:
- before delivery, failing to recognize transfusion problems with the placenta or umbilical cord, like placenta previa or a prolapsed cord
- during labor, failing to recognize the baby is showing signs of trouble during labor, often in the form of a slowing heart rate (i.e., fetal bradycardia, decelerations, or the absence of fetal heart rate variability)
- during labor, suspecting the baby will have trouble, but not ordering an emergency c-section soon enough
- in the delivery, leaving the child in the birth canal when the baby is stuck as a result of shoulder dystocia or an unusual birth position
- in the delivery, improperly using vacuum extraction or forceps during delivery
- after the child is born, failing to diagnose and to treat seizures
- after the child is born, leaving jaundice or meningitis untreated
Some of the most common signs that may indicate to a mother or father that their child’s cerebral palsy was caused by medical malpractice are:
- the baby was delivered through an emergency caesarian section
- the baby was transferred to the intensive care nursery (ICN) or neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)
- the baby required CPR, oxygen support, or mechanical ventilation after birth
- the baby experienced seizures or was diagnosed with brain damage such as an intraventricular hemorrhage within the first week of life.
Malpractice lawsuits against obstetricians and hospitals alleging that cerebral palsy was caused by a delivery delay are inherently challenging because cerebral palsy has many causes and can caused by something other than malpractice, such as an intrapartum stroke. Unfortunately, there is no shortage of physicians who will accept payments from medical negligence insurance companies in exchange for unfounded and unscientific “expert” testimony that every single case of cerebral palsy has been caused by something other than delivery malpractice, even though the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology has admitted that hypoxia can cause neurological damage like cerebral palsy.
At The Beasley Firm, our attorneys — including two attorneys who are medical doctors and an attorney who used to be a NICU charge nurse — are intimately familiar with obstetrics, and what fetal heart rates should indicate a problem, how shoulder dystocia should be managed when a baby gets stuck, when an emergency c-section should be ordered for fetal distress, when cerebral palsy was avoidable, and why babies are referred to head cooling for hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy or to extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) for meconium aspiration. We know when cerebral palsy lawsuits have merit, and how to win them.
The Beasley Firm has an unparalleled record advocating on behalf of newborn and infant children injured by medical malpractice. Some of our verdicts and settlements include:
- $100 million: The largest medical malpractice verdict in Pennsylvania history, involving a heart surgeon who negligently performed heart surgery on a newborn.
- $55 million: The second largest medical malpractice verdict in Pennsylvania history. After a boy was born with coarctation of the aorta, a cardiothoracic heart surgeon performed an unauthorized surgical procedure instead of the normal procedure, leading to a post-operative seizure that caused severe brain damage and left the child in need of lifelong care.
- $37 million: Verdict after six-week trial. The suit involved obstetrical negligence in a mother was caused to deliver her baby prematurely and then another doctor put the breathing tube into the baby’s esophagus instead of the lungs.
If your child has been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy or Erb’s Palsy and you suspect medical malpractice may have been the cause, please contact me using this online form below for a free, no-obligation review and consultation by our experienced nurses, doctors, and attorneys.