Can an Error During Labor & Delivery Cause Cerebral Palsy?
When you give birth to a child in an American hospital, you expect a certain standard of care. You expect your child to be born without any complications or issues that are in the control of your medical team. You do not expect that your medical team will commit any forms of malpractice.
Unfortunately, this is not the reality for many expectant mothers – incompetent medical professionals can commit grievous errors during the labor and delivery process, leading to serious injuries to your child. In many cases, errors during labor and delivery can lead to the development of cerebral palsy.
What are the Causes of Cerebral Palsy?
Medical mistakes during birth are some of the most common causes of cerebral palsy. Parents often do not know what mistake led to their child’s cerebral palsy, since the symptoms do not usually manifest until a few months into life. Cerebral palsy is a form of brain damage that occurs during childbirth – in many cases, a lack of oxygen to the brain during birth can cause the damage that leads to cerebral palsy’s manifestation. Many types of medical errors can lead to the development of this condition in infants.
Delivery Room Damage
A high percentage of cerebral palsy cases occur due to brain damage during the birth process. Although birthing is a well-practiced process in the American healthcare system, even the slightest errors can lead to severe impacts on your baby. However, any action that restricts or stops your baby from receiving oxygen during childbirth can lead to the development of cerebral palsy. Common situations of delivery room malpractice include:
- The improper use of forceps to deliver the baby
- Eclampsia or preeclampsia in the mother that the doctors fail to recognize, diagnose, and treat
- Failure to notice signs of fetal distress on the fetal monitor
- Failure to order an immediate cesarean section when the fetus was showing clear signs of distress
- An excessively long labor due to conditions that prevent a vaginal birth
Failure to Properly Handle Maternal Infections
Maternal infections can also lead to damage to the baby’s brain tissue and other organs. Your doctor should be able to quickly diagnose and treat these infections so that they do not affect your baby, whether they be fungal, viral, parasitic, or bacterial. The following medical errors can lead to the development of cerebral palsy due to untreated maternal infections:
- Your medical team did not test or treat your baby after birth, even if you had clear signs of an infection.
- Your doctor failed to test for the usual types of illnesses that would constitute an infection while you were pregnant, especially if you showed symptoms such as fever.
- Your medical team did not give you prompt and adequate treatment for your infection.
- Your medical team induced labor even though you had signs of an infection.
Your Medical Team Failed to Uphold the Standard of Care
All medical professionals must provide a certain standard of care as established by hospital guidelines and medical organization protocols. If your medical team failed to meet these standards during your labor and delivery, you can hold them liable for medical malpractice and improper medical care. Many of these actions can lead to injuries to your baby that lead to cerebral palsy. If you experienced any of the following scenarios while you were giving birth, you could hold the medical professionals accountable for medical malpractice:
- You had a maternal infection and did not receive prompt treatment.
- Your child had umbilical cord problems that the doctors did not take action to fix while in the room, leading to asphyxiation and brain damage.
- Your medical team did not provide necessary treatment in a timely manner, such as ordering a C-section, giving you a course of antibiotics, or resuscitating a baby who could not breathe.
- Your medical team failed to assess and evaluate you or your baby for basic conditions, such as newborn trauma, fetal distress, or infection.
- Your medical team did not give you assistance during a challenging or prolonged labor, leading to harm to your child.
- Your medical team failed to diagnose a uterine complication or issue with your placenta that made a normal labor impossible.
- Your doctors failed to diagnose you with cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD) and failed to order a required C-section.
Emergency Room Staff Failed to Help You While in Labor
If you go into labor unexpectedly, you may enter the emergency room to receive treatment. The emergency room is full of chaos and can be a hotbed for serious medical errors. You can receive poor treatment that could lead to damage to you and your child, leading to the development of cerebral palsy during the course of childbirth. If you experienced any of the following issues in the emergency room, you could hold the emergency room staff liable for your injuries:
- Receiving an incorrect or incomplete diagnosis
- Not receiving full treatment or symptom monitoring
- Issues with blood transfusions
- The improper use of medications
Has your child developed cerebral palsy after suffering a birth injury in the labor and delivery room? You may be able to file a birth injury lawsuit against the medical professionals. Contact Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC today to learn more about filing your lawsuit and receive your free case evaluation.