Cerebral Palsy: Causes, Risk Factors and Medical Negligence
What is Cerebral Palsy?
Have you ever heard of Cerebral Palsy? This term, which describes a host of disorders, is the most common disability suffered during childhood. It’s a life-long condition that’s usually caused by a brain injury. In many cases, the condition develops either during pregnancy, delivery or immediately following birth. There are also several risk factors that increase the likelihood of being diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
What Causes Cerebral Palsy?
There are two main types of cerebral palsy: congenital and acquired. Congenital cerebral palsy develops either before or during childbirth. The majority of cerebral palsy diagnoses fall into this category. While researchers have pinpointed a number of risk factors that can lead to congenital cerebral palsy, the exact causes remain unknown. Acquired cerebral palsy, on the other hand, happens within the first month of delivery. Here are a few causes of acquired cerebral palsy:
- Birth injuries
- Head injuries
- Infection (especially meningitis)
- Problems with blood flow to the brain
Risk Factors for Cerebral Palsy
There are a number of risk factors that increase a child’s likelihood of developing cerebral palsy during or before childbirth. Here are a few:
- Premature birth
- Multiple Births
- Low birth weight (less than 5 pounds)
- Infections during pregnancy
- Children born after using assisted reproductive technology
- Medical conditions of the mother (thyroid problems, seizures, intellectual disability)
- Birth complications
All of these risk factors may contribute to the likelihood of developing cerebral palsy, but little can be done to prevent some of these factors. Other factors, like birth complications, however, can be prevented.
Can Medical Negligence Lead to Cerebral Palsy?
At times, cerebral palsy can be caused by medical negligence during the labor and delivery process. One of the major ways medical negligence can lead to cerebral palsy is when a doctor accidentally compresses the umbilical cord during the delivery for a prolonged period of time. If this occurs, then a traumatic brain injury could follow. Doctors using the proper standard of care would recognize signs of the baby’s slowed heart rate and respond. Prior to delivery, doctors should also monitor the mother for preeclampsia. This condition could lead to both high blood pressure and premature delivery. If medical negligence caused your child’s cerebral palsy, then it’s important to consult with an attorney to learn more about your legal options.
Contact a Pittsburgh Medical Malpractice Attorney for a Consultation About Your Medical Error Case in Pennsylvania
Were you or a loved one injured due to medical malpractice in Pennsylvania? Then you need to talk to an experienced medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible for guidance on how to proceed. The Pittsburgh medical error attorneys at Berger & Lagnese, LLC are prepared to assist you with your legal claim. We represent victims of negligent surgeons, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists throughout Pennsylvania, including Pittsburgh, Erie, Butler, Cranberry Township, Indiana. Call us today at (412) 471-4300 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation. Our main office is located at 310 Grant Street, Suite 720, Pittsburgh, PA 15219.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.