When a parent believes that their child’s cerebral palsy was caused during labor, they can bring forward a labor and delivery lawsuit. This lawsuit recovers damages for the child who is suffering from an injury and pays for medical costs and certain living expenses. 

However, it is important to note that sometimes cerebral palsy is not the result of medical malpractice. So, how can you determine whether your child’s cerebral palsy is due to a birth injury and not a birth defect? This post explains cerebral palsy caused during labor and explains the actions you should take.

Is my child’s cerebral palsy due to a medical error during labor?

Birth injuries and birth defects are two types of problems that newborns can suffer from before, during, or immediately after labor. Although these two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, they have two different definitions. 

While birth injuries occur when a medical professional is negligent or reckless in a way that harms the newborn, birth defects occur in the womb. Some birth defects might be due to actions medical professionals take, such as prescribing the wrong prenatal medication. However, most birth defects are unavoidable issues that are influenced by the child’s genes. 

In cases where medical personnel’s actions influence whether a child is born with a birth injury or birth defect, they can be found liable for the child’s injuries. In the United States, birth defects are more common than birth injuries.

How would I know if a birth injury and not a birth defect is to blame?

Identifying cerebral palsy caused during labor requires you and your attorney to show that your child suffered from injuries due to negligence from a medical professional. This can include doctors, surgeons, nurses, and even the hospital itself. 

Typically, you will need to show that your child received substandard care, care below what another doctor with a similar background would provide. There are also signs that you should identify which suggest that your child suffers from an injury and not a birth defect, although some symptoms can take two years or more to manifest.

What symptoms should I look for?

Immediately after childbirth, you may notice that your child:

  • Is premature or has a low birth weight.
  • Has a low oxygen level or heart rate.
  • Suffers from a head fracture or has problems with muscle development.
  • Has an arched back or excessively curled hands.
  • Suffers from seizures.

However, not all symptoms develop immediately after childbirth. Some concerning signs you should be aware of from the ages of 12 months to two years include:

  • Trouble moving, sitting, or eating without assistance.
  • Mobility and dexterity problems, especially in their hands.
  • Inability to speak, speech delays, or memory problems.
  • Uncontrollable muscle spasms or impaired body movement.

Additionally, these problems can become worse after two years of age. Therefore, if you notice any of these signs, speak with a specialist that can help you diagnose your child’s condition.

What are common medical errors that result in cerebral palsy?

There are several ways that medical errors result in cerebral palsy. Here are the most common:

  • When a medical professional prescribes an incorrect prenatal medication or dosage.
  • If a doctor fails to identify a situation where a C-section is necessary or delays a C-section to the detriment of the child.
  • When a doctor fails to read medical tests or charts and does not take the appropriate course of action for a child’s or parent’s medical conditions.
  • Whenever a doctor uses or misuses unsafe medical devices during labor.

Are there specific damages my family can recover after a medical malpractice incident?

If you believe that medical errors were the result of your child developing cerebral palsy, then you might be due compensation. An attorney can better help you determine which forms of compensation are appropriate for your case. It might include past and future medical costs. 

In addition, you might receive damages for lost income, specific aspects of the care for your child, and even emotional distress.

Should we work with an attorney?

It is important to work with an attorney if you believe that a negligent or reckless physician caused your child’s cerebral palsy or birth defect. Due to the statute of limitations, you have limited time to bring forward your case. 

An experienced attorney at Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath can inform you of your rights and help you move forward with your claim. Call us at (561) 655-1990 or use our live chat function to discuss your case today!

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