Can I Sue If My Child Is Diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy?

The possibility a newborn may develop cerebral palsy (CP) during a delivery is well-known. Every obstetrician or birth delivery healthcare professional should be on the lookout for cerebral palsy and know what precautionary steps to take. In many cases, if your baby is diagnosed with cerebral palsy, it is due to the negligence of the birth delivery physician.

Cerebral palsy, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is a disorder that affects your baby’s ability to move and keep his/her posture. Cerebral means that the disorder has to do with brain. Palsy is a medical word for muscle weakness and muscle problems. Symptoms include difficulty walking or an inability to walk. Many newborns with cerebral palsy need a lifetime of medical care. Cerebral palsy can also cause seizures, hearing and vision difficulties, spine and joint difficulties, and cognitive disabilities.

How does cerebral palsy occur?

While cerebral palsy may develop in utero, the disorder often occurs because proper steps weren’t taken during the delivery process. Some of the reasons cerebral palsy may occur during the delivery include the following:

  • Being deprived of enough oxygen during the delivery
  • Developing an infection that can affect the newborn’s brain
  • Failing to treat jaundice in a timely manner
  • An incompatibility between the mother’s blood type and her child’s blood type
  • Not using the proper C-section technique
  • Failing to use surgical procedures that are safe

Physicians diagnose cerebral palsy through assessments of the baby’s cognitive abilities and developmental abilities – with a strong focus on their ability to move, speak, and eat.

Types of cerebral palsy

There are three basic types of cerebral palsy:

  • Spastic. About 4/5ths of all CP developments are in this category. Anyone in this category has increased muscle tone which affects their movement.
  • Ataxic. This type of CP causes difficulties with coordination and balance.
  • Dyskinetic. Anyone with this type of CP has difficulty moving their arms, legs, feet and hands – which makes it hard to walk or sit.

A fourth type of CP is known as mixed- CP because it’s a combination of the three basic types.

Signs a baby has cerebral palsy

The signs that an infant less than six months old has CP include the following:

  • The baby feels stiff
  • The newborn appears to strain his/her back and neck when you hold him
  • The baby’s legs stiffen and cross when you pick the baby up
  • The child feels floppy

Babies who are more than six months old have the following symptoms:

  • The baby can’t roll over on either side
  • The child can’t bring his/her hands together
  • The child has problems bringing his/her hands to their mouth
  • Only one hand reaches out, not both

For babies older than 10 months:

  • They crawl in an unusual manner
  • They don’t crawl on all fours

Other symptoms may include spasms, involuntary movement, and joint or bone deformities.

At Bailey & Greer, PLLC, our Little Rock birth injury lawyers, work with physicians who can determine if the birth doctor failed to anticipate or failed to respond to the risks that a newborn could develop CP during the delivery. We understand how devastating it is for parents to learn their child will have huge medical expenses and won’t lead a life like healthy children. To discuss your case with an experienced birth injury lawyer, call us at 501-213-1512 or use our contact form to arrange to speak with us.

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