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Is Cerebral Palsy the Result of Medical Malpractice?

Is Cerebral Palsy the Result of Medical Malpractice?

Cerebral palsy (CP) is the most common motor disorder in children and also one of the most devastating types of birth injury. Those with CP often suffer lifelong consequences that range in severity from minor motor problems to total inability to control bodily motion. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that an average of 1 in 323 American children has CP.

Cerebral palsy comprises a range of movement disorders in which there has been damage to the brain of a fetus or infant. This brain damage has a wide range of causes, though many are related to the negligence of a doctor or medical professional during delivery. CP can result from:

  • Lack of oxygen during birth
  • A failure to treat infections in the mother
  • A failure to detect problems with the umbilical cord
  • Delay in performing a necessary Cesarean section
  • Improper use of birth-assisting tools
  • Use of too much force or pulling

The condition can also be caused by problems occurring during pregnancy or after childbirth.

Because there are different types of cerebral palsy, symptoms can vary drastically. Most cases are of the type known as “spastic” cerebral palsy. Patients with this disorder experience difficulty moving due to tightness and stiffness in the muscles, also making it difficult for them to grasp or release objects. Those with athetoid or dyskinetic cerebral palsy experience problems controlling their motions. Common symptoms include slurred speech, involuntary movements, and trouble maintaining posture. The last of the common types of CP is ataxic, affecting balance and coordination.

Most children with CP will require a lifetime of special care and treatment, often at great cost to parents. For this reason, many parents choose to bring a personal injury claim against the doctor or medical facility responsible for their child’s condition.

Proving that your child’s CP was caused by the actions or negligence of a medical professional can be complicated. At Shim & Chang, we represent families in the Honolulu area and work directly with medical and forensic experts to determine the cause of your child’s condition and hold negligent physicians liable for the damage they have caused. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced birth injury attorney, call us at 808-524-5803 or use our online contact form.