What if your child’s cerebral palsy was the result of a medical error?


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In order for a “perfect” human to be born, so much has to happen. From the smallest detail of the curve of the pinky toe to the larger development of properly developed lungs, it is a miracle each time a new person arrives on this planet. More often than not, everything goes according to plan and parents take home their new baby two or three days after they entered the hospital.

Sometimes, something goes awry and the baby is born with complications that are characterized as cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is an umbrella term to describe injury or abnormal development in the immature brain, most often before birth. It can affect speech, motor and cognitive functioning. A child with cerebral palsy may require physical and occupational therapy, speech-language therapy, special educational classes and a variety of other services to help them become as independent as possible.

Cerebral palsy may not be detected right away. It could take months to a few years before parents, doctors and caregivers realize that developmental milestones are not being met or that a child is having difficulty in one or more areas.

Once cerebral palsy is diagnosed, it’s important for families to locate the reason for the cerebral palsy. There are many causes of cerebral palsy before, during and right after pregnancy – genetic abnormalities, lack of oxygen to the baby or mother and trauma to the head are some common causes.

Some may wonder why it’s important to find the cause of the cerebral palsy. If it is something that could happen again in a subsequent pregnancy, you want to prevent it. Ruling out the possibility of medical error is part of that process.

Here are a few items to consider if you think your child’s cerebral palsy was the result of medical error:

What were your prenatal visits like during your pregnancy?

  • Office visits were consistent. On average, you met with your provider once a month during the first seven months and then every two weeks during month eight and every week in the last month.
  • Essential tests were performed. There are a number of routine tests and assessments required during pregnancy. Depending on age, health and other items specific to you, additional tests may be needed.
  • Active and involved provider. You want a doctor to take an interest in your welfare, answer your questions and concerns and delve deeper into an issue, if necessary.

Were there times of uncertainty during the labor and delivery of your child?

During the birth of your child, often, we are fearful of childbirth, pain and the unknown. We may not be “in the moment” because it is a stressful and intense time. Looking back, you may be able to pick out the troubling issues that may not have been as clear at the time:

  • Was an oxygen mask necessary for you to wear at some point?
  • Were you left alone for long periods of time when you were in labor?
  • Did medical staff respond to your questions, problems and issues?
  • Were there moments of stress with the medical staff?
  • What seemed to be contradictory from a routine birth?
  • Did your child go to the neonatal intensive care unit?

What if you suspect that your child’s cerebral palsy was a result of medical error?

If your review of the questions above leads you to believe that something may have gone wrong during your pregnancy or with the birth of your child, it may be time to seek professional advice. Ross Feller Casey is among the nation’s leading birth injury law firms. Our experienced and caring attorneys have a remarkable record of winning multimillion-dollar recoveries in all types of birth injury cases, including those involving cerebral palsy. Contact one of our cerebral palsy lawyers now for a free case evaluation.

Disclaimer: Ross Feller Casey, LLP provides legal advice only after an attorney-client relationship is formed. Our website is an introduction to the firm and does not create a relationship between our attorneys and clients. An attorney-client relationship is formed only after a written agreement is signed by the client and the firm. Because every case is unique, the description of awards and summary of cases successfully handled are not intended to imply or guarantee that same success in other cases. Ross Feller Casey, LLP represents catastrophically injured persons and their families in injury and wrongful death cases, providing legal representation in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.