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BIRTH INJURY AND CEREBRAL PALSY

Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the baby’s brain in the cerebrum, which controls motor skills, higher mental faculties, sensations and voluntary muscles. The child will exhibit a variety of abnormal symptoms which cannot be cured. The child with Cerebral Palsy may also be diagnosed with Asphyxia, Anoxia, Hypoxia or Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy.

SYMPTOMS OF CEREBRAL PALSY

The child may appear abnormal, but might not be immediately diagnosed with cerebral palsy, however, symptoms may include:

  • spastic, stiff and weak muscles
  • uncontrolled and involuntary muscle movement or seizures
  • difficulty with balance and walking
  • blindness or deafness
  • intellectually slow or retarded

Immediately after birth, a baby may show symptoms that appear the baby was deprived of oxygen including:

  • resuscitation
  • jaundice or yellow skin pigmentation
  • weakness in arms, legs and face
  • dark green fecal matter (called meconium) staining the skin
  • baby hospitalized in NICU beyond mother’s stay in hospital
  • seizures or shaking
  • purple or blue colored skin
  • high-pitched cry

MEDICAL TEAM ERRORS

As medical professionals, we believe all health care workers strive to adhere to the standard of care. However, unfortunately, our experience in birth injury litigation confirms that health team errors do happen, even in the best hospitals with excellent doctors. Breach of the nursing or medical standard of care during labor and delivery have catastrophic results which may contribute to the child’s cerebral palsy. These errors include:

  • misreading the fetal heart monitoring strips
  • failing to diagnose fetal distress during labor
  • waiting too long before performing a C-Section
  • giving too much Pitocin (oxytocin)
  • failing to intervene in a timely manner
  • faulty equipment

A team of medical and legal experts can assist in rehabilitation for the brain damaged child, demand justice and compensation. Skilled at litigation involving injuries to infants due to medical malpractice, we research and utilize the most qualified experts to investigate the volumes of medical records, which include, fetal heart monitoring strips taken during labor and delivery, MRIs, CAT scans, ultrasounds, APGAR scores, resuscitation records, neonatal intensive care records, and drugs administered intravenously, such as pitocin or oxytocin.

St. Clair understands the labor and delivery process and the tragic consequences of substandard obstetrical care. The most qualified experts are critical to determine liability and damages that hold the responsible parties accountable at trial. Our medical experts may include:

  • Pedi Neurologist
  • Pedi Neuroradiologist
  • Neonatologist
  • Ob-Gyn Doctor
  • Maternal-Child Registered Nurses
  • Rehabilitation Health Care Workers
  • Life Care Planning Doctors
  • Economist

Brain damaged children have enormously overwhelming future medical bills and nursing care. Depending on the extent of brain injury, diagnosis and treatment includes:

  • MRI’s
  • CAT Scans
  • Medical Bills
  • Physical Therapy
  • Anti-seizure Medication
  • Rehabilitation
  • Speech Therapy

The legal damages the child may be entitled to include, pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement, past and future medical bills, and future loss of wages. We have the resources to obtain the highly educated experts and economists to assist in determining the future payments required for health care for the child.

FACTORS IN BIRTH INJURIES

During labor and delivery, the contractions, compressions and contortions of labor may cause bruising and hematomas or even more serious fractures and brain damage. Although delivering the baby by cesarean-section (c-section) may help reduce the risk for certain types of birth injuries, there is no guarantee that the delivery will be completely free of trauma. Some of the factors that may contribute to birth injuries and a complicated delivery include:

  • Large fetal head. If the baby’s head is too large, it may not be able to pass through the birth canal. This condition can lead to a decreased supply of oxygen and neurological damage.
  • Mother’s small pelvis or pelvic irregularities. The size and shape of the mother’s pelvis will not accommodate a vaginal birth.
  • Shoulder dystocia is a difficult delivery that occurs when the baby’s shoulder becomes stuck behind the mother’s pubic bone. It may lead to various types of birth injuries, including fractures, or paralysis.
  • Abnormal presentation. A breech delivery, in which the baby’s legs or bottom emerge first, is a frequent cause of birth injury.
  • Use of forceps or vacuum extraction to hasten or facilitate vaginal delivery. If these instruments are applied improperly or with too much force, cuts, severe bruising and swelling of the baby’s head or face or facial paralysis can result.
  • Lack of sufficient oxygen. Some of the most debilitating birth injuries occur when a traumatic birth results in a low supply of oxygen to the baby’s brain.
  • Prematurity. Babies born before 37 weeks’ gestation are more fragile than full-term babies and therefore more vulnerable to birth injuries. Premature babies are among the most likely to suffer hemorrhage in or around the brain.
  • Use of monitoring equipment. Sensors attached to an infant’s head can cause birth injuries such as scalp trauma and hemorrhaging.
  • Low birth weight. Like preemies, low-birth-weight babies may be injured more easily than those of normal weight.
  • Excessive birth weight. Babies over 8 pounds, 13 ounces may be too large for a vaginal birth. Attempting vaginal delivery with a baby this size or larger can lead to birth injuries.
  • Chemical Exposure. The exposure to certain dangerous chemicals may result in a serious birth defect suffered by a developing fetus in a mother’s womb.
  • Dangerous Drugs. Birth Injuries sometime occur as a result of a prescription drug or other medication taken by the mother before or during pregnancy.
  • First delivery (prima gravida). A mother’s first delivery is generally more prolonged-and therefore more risky-than subsequent deliveries.

To learn more, you may click on our Birth Links section on the left to watch more on Cerebral Palsy and Birthing videos:

We best understand the medical, legal and economic issues you may be facing, so call or email us now for help.

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