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Is Cerebral Palsy Caused by a Brain Injury?


If, within a few months or years of your child’s life, they are diagnosed with cerebral palsy, you may be curious about the cause. Was your child’s disorder caused by a brain injury or something else?

Complications during pregnancy or genetic mutations can cause cerebral palsy in your baby. However, a common cause of cerebral palsy in the United States is brain injuries sustained at birth caused by negligent doctors. Cerebral palsy itself is a common disorder – one of the leading motor disabilities among children in the country. While negligent acts can cause cerebral palsy, so can inaction aby irresponsible doctors. If you believe a doctor’s negligence caused your child’s cerebral palsy, hiring an attorney is important. You may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor or hospital responsible for causing your child’s disorder.

Our attorneys are dedicated to helping parents hold negligent doctors responsible for their children’s brain injuries at birth. For a free case evaluation with the Baltimore birth injury lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras, call today at (410) 694-7291.

Is Cerebral Palsy Always Caused by Brain Injuries During Birth?

Cerebral palsy is a congenital disorder characterized by mobility and fine motor skill issues. It is often caused by damage to the brain in utero and genetic mutations. However, cerebral palsy can also happen as a result of a brain injury sustained at birth. Generally, when a brain injury causes cerebral palsy, it ultimately involves a doctor’s negligence.

It is important that new parents understand that cerebral palsy is not always the cause of a negligent doctor’s action or inaction during childbirth. Complications during pregnancy and even stroke during the first few weeks of life can cause cerebral palsy in a newborn. That being said, it is possible for a doctor to cause cerebral palsy in your child during delivery.

Cerebral palsy is one of the most damaging brain injuries that negligent doctors can cause to newborns. This life-altering brain injury can happen at any point during the birthing process when a doctor acts negligently or fails to uphold their duty of care for the child and parent. The following are common causes of brain injuries resulting in cerebral palsy during birth:

  • Failure to remove the baby from the birth canal quickly enough
  • Improper use of forceps during birth
  • Failure to identify umbilical cord asphyxiation before, during, or after birth
  • Other medical malpractice or negligence during or after labor

When a doctor acts negligently during labor and delivery, it can result in a brain injury that leads to cerebral palsy. While cerebral palsy can be caused by other issues unrelated to medical malpractice, it is also possible for a doctor’s negligent actions to directly cause your child’s brain injury. If you believe that your baby’s cerebral palsy was directly caused by a doctor’s negligent actions and not a normal complication during birth, reach out to an experienced birth injury lawyer right away. It is important to get the medical care your child needs and the opinion of a skilled lawyer so you can learn more about potential paths to compensation.

Can a Doctor’s Inaction During Delivery Cause Cerebral Palsy?

Delivering a baby is a complicated task that doctors across the country should train for and be skilled in. Your delivering doctor should take the proper steps to avoid causing a brain injury resulting in cerebral palsy during birth. If your doctor did not act appropriately during delivery, their negligence could cause cerebral palsy in your child.

While negligent actions can cause cerebral palsy in newborns, inaction can also have a similar result. Because cerebral palsy is such a common birth injury, doctors should be prepared and take the necessary steps. Cerebral palsy can be caused by issues and complications like jaundice, low fetal heart rate, and maternal conditions. Your doctor should monitor any potential problems during pregnancy and labor and address them appropriately to reduce your child’s risk of developing cerebral palsy.

If your doctor did not run the proper tests or did not appropriately monitor your baby during labor and delivery, your child could develop cerebral palsy. That inaction can constitute negligence in the same way that improper action can. Forcefully removing a baby from the birthing canal with forceps is negligent and can cause cerebral palsy, but so is failure to monitor a child and perform the necessary tests on a mother and baby.

So, doctors should take steps during pregnancy and delivery to avoid causing cerebral palsy or prevent a child from developing it. Of course, some cerebral palsy cases are unavoidable and not caused by a doctor’s inaction. However, if inaction results in cerebral palsy, parents should contact a medical malpractice injury lawyer. That very inaction, or failure to intercede, could have caused their child’s disorder.

How Many Cases of Cerebral Palsy Are Caused by Brain Injuries?

Cerebral palsy is one of the most common motor disabilities in children in the United States. Whether your child developed cerebral palsy because of complications during pregnancy or a doctor’s negligence during childbirth, this disorder can profoundly impact their life. For parents, it can be helpful to learn just how common cerebral palsy is and how often negligent doctors cause it.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one in 345 eight-year-old children have cerebral palsy. It is difficult to estimate the true number of individuals in the United States with cerebral palsy or those whose condition was caused by a negligent doctor. There have been few studies regarding the cause of this disorder in recent years.

Another reason that it can be challenging to estimate the number of cases of cerebral palsy caused by brain injuries during birth is because parents may be unaware of a doctor’s negligence. When giving birth in a hospital, parents may be understandably overwhelmed. If doctors assure you that your child is fine, you will likely believe them. Since many signs of cerebral palsy do not appear until months or years after birth, it can be difficult to attribute the cause to negligent doctors.

The CDC estimates that about 85% to 90% of cerebral palsy cases happen before or during birth. However, our experienced birth injury lawyers know all too well how common it is for this disorder to be caused by a doctor’s negligence during delivery. Although you may be hesitant to believe that your delivery doctor could have acted negligently, causing your child’s cerebral palsy, it is possible. If that’s the case, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible.

Signs of Cerebral Palsy Caused by a Brain Injury

As a parent, it’s important to learn the signs of cerebral palsy. If your child sustained a brain injury at birth due to a doctor’s negligence, it’s vital that you’re able to recognize the signs. Cerebral palsy can present differently in babies and toddlers, and often parents do not see the most prominent signs of this disorder until their child matures. So, it is crucial that you learn what signs to look for in case a brain injury during birth caused your child’s cerebral palsy.

Babies

Although babies tend to develop fairly quickly in the first few months of their lives, each child is different. Because of this, parents may not be concerned when their newborn fails to reach certain developmental stages at the expected age. However, some of these failures can indicate cerebral palsy caused by a brain injury during birth. For example, on average, babies can lift their heads between one and three months old. Since cerebral palsy often causes muscle and movement issues, an inability to lift one’s head after three months could indicate this disorder.

Other signs of cerebral palsy caused by brain injuries during birth in babies include excessive drooling and the inability to grasp objects. If your baby has difficulty rolling over or crawling by the expected ages, they could have cerebral palsy. If your baby exhibits any of these signs, it’s important to take them to a trusted pediatrician and contact a skilled brain injury attorney right away.

Toddlers

Generally speaking, many parents can only recognize signs of cerebral palsy in their children once they mature. It can be easier to notice this disorder in toddlers since the older children get, the more milestones they are expected to reach. Some common signs of cerebral palsy caused by brain injuries in toddlers include difficulty speaking and walking.

By the time children reach ages three or four, they are expected to develop and refine fine motor skills. If your toddler demonstrates difficulty with certain fine motor skills, like brushing their teeth, they could have cerebral palsy. Some other signs of cerebral palsy in toddlers include difficulty standing and uncontrollable muscle movements.

What Should You Do if a Negligent Doctor Caused Cerebral Palsy in Your Baby?

If you’ve noticed signs of cerebral palsy in your baby or toddler and believe a negligent doctor caused their condition during birth, there are several things you should do. First, take your child to a trusted pediatrician for an evaluation. Next, gather any medical records from your child’s past and regarding their birth. Finally, hire a brain injury attorney to learn more about your options for compensation.

Go to a Pediatrician

As soon as you recognize signs of cerebral palsy in your child, take them to a pediatrician. Your child’s pediatrician will assess them and will likely refer you to a specialist so that your child can get the proper tests. It is crucial that your child receives a diagnosis of cerebral palsy before you do anything else. Without a medical diagnosis, it can be difficult to pursue litigation against a negligent doctor that caused your child’s brain injury.

Often, parents know when something is wrong, even if doctors refuse to acknowledge it. If you think your child has cerebral palsy, and are having difficulty getting medical professionals to believe you or administer the proper tests, don’t give up.

Gather Medical Records

If you believe your child sustained a brain injury at birth that caused their cerebral palsy, it’s important that you gather their medical records. Compile records from each visit with a pediatrician that notes your child’s delayed development. Review records from the day that your child was born. Suppose there is any indication of malpractice within those records or an indication of your child’s disorder that hospital staff failed to inform you of. In that case, your brain injury attorney can use that information to strengthen your claim against a negligent doctor or hospital.

Hire an Attorney

If a negligent doctor caused your child’s cerebral palsy during birth, it is important to hire an attorney. Pursuing litigation against a hospital or doctor can be very difficult. If several years have passed since your child’s birth, holding a responsible doctor accountable for their negligence can be even more challenging. Because of that, it is imperative for parents to hire a dedicated brain injury attorney. A lawyer with the proper skill, resources, and experience can work hard to represent your family’s interest in a lawsuit against a negligent doctor.

Can You File a Lawsuit if a Brain Injury Caused Your Child’s Cerebral Palsy?

When a child develops cerebral palsy as a result of a negligent doctor’s action or inaction during birth, it can have a profound impact on the course of their life. Because of that, parents can file a lawsuit for compensation against a negligent doctor that caused such a damaging brain injury to their child.

If a doctor or hospital’s negligence caused your child’s cerebral palsy, you can file a lawsuit for compensatory damages. Suing for damages for cerebral palsy can be difficult, as this disorder is not exclusively caused by negligence during birth. However, it is possible with help from an experienced attorney.

So yes, you can file a lawsuit if a brain injury caused your child’s cerebral palsy during birth. However, it can be a challenging task. Because of this, parents should consult a birth injury lawyer capable of proving the necessary elements in a complicated medical malpractice lawsuit.

Call Our Attorneys if a Brain Injury Caused Your Child’s Cerebral Palsy

When negligent doctors cause birth injuries that result in cerebral palsy, they should be held accountable. For a free case evaluation with the birth injury lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras, call today at (410) 694-7291.