Cerebral palsy is not one medical condition but a group of conditions that inhibits a person’s posture and ability to move. Unfortunately, it is commonly caused by injuries at birth and diagnoses in babies.
There might be numerous signs of cerebral palsy. One example is that your child might be delayed in reaching certain developmental milestones, like rolling over. Many cases of cerebral palsy are related to injuries sustained before, during, or shortly after birth. Often, negligent doctors are liable and should be held accountable. It is common for cerebral palsy to be caused by physical trauma during or after birth. It is also possible that your child was born with a medical condition the doctor negligently failed to diagnose. Left untreated, the condition caused your child to develop cerebral palsy. It is also common for a general lack of care during delivery to be the condition’s root cause. In any event, an attorney can help you sue the doctors responsible.
If your child was born with cerebral palsy, call our Baltimore birth injury attorneys of Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free legal review of your claims.
Signs and Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy in Babies and Infants
Cerebral palsy is a complicated medical condition that might initially present with a variety of symptoms. Symptoms sometimes involve seemingly minor issues that might be easily dismissed or explained away. For example, abnormal posture or difficulty with speech are common and not always signs of cerebral palsy. More severe symptoms might include blindness, hearing loss, or severe difficulty with fine motor skills. Another major concern is developmental milestones, like rolling over. If your child is nearing toddler age and cannot roll over on their own, you should have them evaluated by a doctor immediately.
Rolling over is a crucial stage in an infant’s growth and development. Being able to roll over indicates that the child’s muscle control and fine motor skills are developing and improving. While different children hit milestones at different times, you should be concerned if they seem old enough to roll over but still cannot do so. The average age babies can begin rolling over on their own is about 4 or 5 months. If your child is significantly older, they should be checked out for cerebral palsy.
If your child is having trouble rolling over, you should also talk to an attorney about who is liable. In many cases, cerebral palsy is caused by negligent doctors. Our birth injury lawyers can help you get copies of your medical records from when your child was delivered and have them reviewed by other medical experts. It is possible that the doctor is to blame.
Liability for Birth Injuries Leading to Cerebral Palsy
To hold the doctor and hospital liable for causing your child to develop cerebral palsy, you might need to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. Like many injury claims, medical malpractice claims are based on negligence. However, the way negligence is defined and determined is different from ordinary cases.
To prove the doctor is liable for your child’s injuries, you must show that the treatment you received fell below the standard of care. To establish the standard in care for the jury, we may need to bring in medical experts who can testify about the standard, how it applies to your case, and whether the treatment provided to you and your child met the standard.
While we often blame doctors for birth injuries, and they should be held accountable, they are not always the only liable party. Nurses, technicians, and the hospital itself might also be implicated in the case. Go over the events of your care during your pregnancy and delivery with your attorney. They can help you determine which parties should be held responsible.
How Cerebral Palsy Might Occur During or After Birth
As discussed above, there are numerous possible causes of cerebral palsy. Some causes affect babies while still in utero, while others occur during or shortly after delivery. A medical expert can help us figure out the cause of your child’s condition.
Trauma During or After Birth
Trauma during or after birth refers to physical injuries inflicted upon an infant that leads to cerebral palsy. Birth is often a very difficult and dangerous process, and infants are very fragile. If doctors are not careful, babies might be injured during delivery.
Injuries to the head and neck are especially worrisome as they could lead to brain damage and cerebral palsy. Such injuries might happen during delivery while the infant is in the birth canal or shortly after delivery because of clumsy or negligent doctors and nurses.
Failure to Diagnose
Another possibility is that the doctor failed to diagnose a different medical condition when your child was born. If left untreated, certain medical conditions might worsen and develop other, more serious conditions, such as cerebral palsy.
For example, it is not uncommon for babies to be born with jaundice. This is a common condition in newborns that, with proper diagnosis and treatment, eventually resolves with no harm to the child. If the doctor does not diagnose the condition, the child’s bilirubin levels might become dangerously elevated, leading to brain damage which might cause the development of cerebral palsy.
Lack of Care
It is possible that there is no single cause that led to your child developing cerebral palsy. In some cases, the lack of care is so staggering that it is difficult to pinpoint where your child was injured and what exactly caused cerebral palsy. Such cases often require a very thorough review by an attorney and medical experts. If you felt multiple aspects of your care during your pregnancy and delivery were substandard, tell your attorney right away.
Contact Our Birth Injury Attorneys for Help Now
If your child was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, call our Maryland personal injury lawyers of Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free evaluation of your claims.