Medical malpractice harming adults is tragic enough, but each year brain injury at birth causes life-long disabilities. Cerebral palsy at birth can be related to prenatal issues, but some causes are the direct responsibility of the professionals performing the delivery.
Unnecessary use of delivery tools.
Delivery forceps and vacuum extractors can be medically necessary, but some doctors recommend their use when a natural childbirth will do the job. Others use the tools too forcefully. Either case can lead to brain injuries and cerebral palsy. In some cases, the necessity of the tool indicates earlier problems the doctor might have identified earlier.
Failure to detect problems with the baby’s oxygen supply.
Lack of oxygen to a fetus or newborn can kill portions of the brain responsible for movement. Umbilical cord problems, strangulation and suffocation – however brief – can cause this lack of oxygen. A doctor can catch those problems early enough to prevent the damage, if she’s doing her job.
Improper treatment of seizures after delivery.
A seizure can disrupt oxygen flow, or lead to head trauma that damages the brain – especially if improperly treated or misdiagnosed. Medical staff in a delivery room are trained to watch for symptoms of seizures, and should spot them if they occur.
Failure to order emergency procedures.
Sometimes a Caesarian section delivery or other emergency procedure is necessary to ensure a healthy birth. Although some mothers are resistant to the idea of a C-section, doctors who wait too long before ordering those procedures endanger the baby.
Lack of access to specialists.
Complex deliveries, especially those with situations that cause a risk of cerebral palsy, often need the oversight of a specialist. A facility that denies access to proper specialists, or a doctor who fails to call in necessary help, may be subject to a cerebral palsy lawsuit.