How Can Birth Trauma Cause Cerebral Palsy?

Our medical malpractice law firm has seen many cases of cerebral palsy caused by birth trauma.  

Birth trauma, or birth injury, includes injuries that occur during childbirth. These injuries can be severe and life-changing conditions. One such condition that can be caused by birth trauma is cerebral palsy. As a parent, you want to know what causes cerebral palsy and what legal options are available. 

Source: Gillette Children’s Hospital

What is Cerebral Palsy? 

Cerebral Palsy or CP is a group of neurological disorders that affect movement and muscle coordination. It is caused by damage to the brain before, during, or after birth. Symptoms of CP can range from mild to severe, depending on the extent and location of the brain damage. Some common symptoms include difficulty with balance and coordination, muscle stiffness or weakness, and difficulty with fine motor skills. 

The Role of Birth Trauma in Cerebral Palsy 

Birth trauma is one of the top causes of cerebral palsy. It can occur when the baby experiences a lack of oxygen or blood flow to the brain during delivery, or when there is physical trauma to the baby’s head or body during the birthing process. These are some of the most common types of birth trauma that can lead to cerebral palsy: 

  1. Prolonged Labor: When labor lasts too long, it can cause the baby to become distressed and suffer from oxygen deprivation, which then can result in brain damage. 
  1. Premature Birth: Babies born prematurely are at a higher risk of developing cerebral palsy due to their underdeveloped brains and other health complications. 
  1. Forceps or Vacuum Extraction: When a baby is stuck during delivery, doctors may use forceps or a vacuum extractor to help with the delivery. However, if these tools are not used correctly, they can cause physical trauma to the baby’s head or body, leading to cerebral palsy. 

Can Cerebral Palsy Be Cured? 

Unfortunately, there is no cure for cerebral palsy. However, there are treatments, aids, and modifications that can help alleviate symptoms and make the child more comfortable. Some of these include therapy, orthotic devices, assistive technology, and even surgery. 

Types of therapy 

There are multiple different therapies available that may help alleviate symptoms and make a child suffering from cerebral palsy more comfortable, including:  

  1. Physical therapy focuses on improving movement, muscle strength, and balance. 
  1. Occupational therapy helps the child to learn to complete activities of daily living. 
  1. Recreational therapy assists children with recreational activities such as art and sports. 
  1. Speech and language therapy can help alleviate swallowing difficulties and teach alternative means of communication. 

Orthotic Devices and Assistive Tech 

Orthotic devices include braces, splints, walkers, wheelchairs, and scooters. Assistive technology such as computer-based communication devices or Velcro shoes can help make it easier for a child to manage their cerebral palsy. 

Medications and Surgery 

The use of medication is often helpful for cerebral palsy patients. Medications may be prescribed to help relax the muscles and reduce involuntary movements. In more severe cases, surgery may be done on the nerves or muscles. 

When we are planning your birth injury lawsuit settlement or how much to ask the jury to award, we consider all the treatments, aids, and modifications that can make your child as comfortable as possible under the circumstances. We use reputable life care planners that map out what your child may need throughout their life. 

Legal Options  

If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy and you suspect that it was caused by birth trauma, you might be able to take legal action. Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional fails to provide the standard of care expected in their field, resulting in harm to the patient. In the case of cerebral palsy caused by birth trauma, medical malpractice may have occurred if the doctor or medical staff failed to recognize or respond appropriately to signs of distress during delivery.  

Taking legal action against a healthcare provider can be a complex process, so it is crucial to work with an experienced medical malpractice attorney who can guide you through the legal process and help you get the compensation you deserve.  

Does your situation look like this? If so, reach out to our firm at 616-278-0888 or fill out our form for a free consultation.