When is Cerebral Palsy the Doctor’s Fault?

West Palm Beach teenager Jordan McDonald will never walk by himself or mature past the mental capabilities of a 2-year old. Born with cerebral palsy, the McDonalds claim that Dr. Samuel Kaufman negligently used a vacuum extractor to deliver Jordan, rather than letting his mother deliver naturally. They sued Dr. Kaufman, claiming that his decision to use the vacuum was motivated by distracting personal concerns (his BMW had broken down that morning) to expedite delivery, and the he did not act in the best interest of the McDonalds.

The first trial ended in a mistrial. In a second trial in 2011, a jury cleared Dr. Kaufman of any wrongdoing, but the judge tossed out the verdict, citing attorney misconduct by the defense. Trial number three concluded in March 2015, with the jury finding no wrongdoing that contributed to Jordan’s cerebral palsy on the part Dr. Kaufman.

For the McDonalds, the loss in court means they will not have the $13.5 million in damages sought, which was to provide for the round-the-clock-care that Jordan will need for the rest of his life.

Can Cerebral Palsy Result From a Doctor’s Negligence?
According to the CDC, about 1 in 323 children in the United States have or develop cerebral palsy (“CP”). CP can either be congenital or acquired.

Congenital CP means the baby suffered from brain damage before or during birth. About 85% to 90% of CP in the United States is congenital. The following causes and risk factors are thought

  • Low birth weight, premature birth and multiple births.
  • Infections during pregnancy that can cause inflammation and lead to brain damage in the baby.
  • Birth complications such as uterine rupture, placenta detachment or tangled umbilical cords cutting off oxygen.
  • Use of reproductive technology or infertility treatments.
  • Birth trauma from delivery or impact (ex/pregnant mother in car accident).

Medical professionals are expected to make reasonable decisions that minimize the risk of harm. When they fail to act within the boundaries of the profession and when they stray from the standard by making negligent decisions that result in harm to the patient, they can be sued for medical malpractice.

One of the most common causes of Cerebral Palsy is medical negligence. If your child suffers from Cerebral Palsy then you should consider speaking to a skilled Florida medial malpractice attorney about your legal options.

At Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath we offer you a free consultation to help you make the most informed decisions regarding your child. Contact us today to set up an appointment. We are here to help.  If you have any questions on this blog or need information on other personal injury queries, please call the Law offices of Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath located in West Palm Beach at 1-800 4-RIGHTS  (1-800- 474-4487)  We welcome your call and look forward to helping you.