Cerebral Palsy Malpractice: What You Need To Know

3 min read

A piece of paper with the words medical malpractice on it

Cerebral palsy may be caused by a birth injury due to medical malpractice, which is when a doctor fails to keep a patient safe to the best of their abilities. If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy that might stem from medical malpractice, your family may be eligible for financial compensation.

Can Malpractice Cause Cerebral Palsy?

Yes, medical malpractice can lead to cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is often caused due to brain injuries during delivery or birth complications such as a lack of oxygen.

Doctors are responsible for safely delivering babies — they should know how to diagnose and treat health issues that can cause cerebral palsy. If a medical professional fails to perform their duties, then they may be to blame if a child develops cerebral palsy.

Cerebral palsy is not a common condition, but it is a serious one. There is no cure for it and those affected will have it for the rest of their lives. That is why it is so critical for doctors to deliver babies properly and avoid injuries.

What Is Considered Cerebral Palsy Malpractice?

Cerebral palsy medical malpractice can be caused by a few different issues.

Examples of cerebral palsy malpractice include:

  • Failure to diagnose health problems: Pregnant women may have medical conditions, illnesses, or infections that can cause their unborn baby to develop cerebral palsy. If doctors do not properly diagnose and treat these illnesses, they may be to blame if the baby is born with cerebral palsy.
  • Injury during birth: Without proper care, a doctor can cut off a child’s oxygen before, during, or shortly after birth, which can lead to cerebral palsy. For example, they may not properly treat an umbilical cord complication or a birth canal delay.
  • Lack of treatment: Most babies are born with jaundice, a condition where the skin and eyes turn yellow because of a high level of bilirubin in the blood. If left untreated, jaundice can develop into a condition called kernicterus and cause brain damage. Other untreated illnesses like meningitis can also lead to cerebral palsy.

Even if an injury is not listed above, there are many possible causes of cerebral palsy. If doctors fail to prevent any injury that leads to cerebral palsy, malpractice may be to blame.

What Doctors Can Do To Avoid Cerebral Palsy Malpractice

There are several steps that doctors can take to prevent cerebral palsy and medical malpractice. These steps can significantly reduce the risk of child being born with cerebral palsy.

Doctors treating expectant mothers should:

  • Monitor fetal heart rate: If the fetal heart rate is weak, that could be a sign of the baby not getting enough oxygen to the brain. Make sure the doctor is regularly checking the maternal and fetal heart rate.
  • Actively treat jaundice: As previously stated, most babies are born with jaundice. Treating it early can help prevent kernicterus and cerebral palsy.
  • Reduce the risk of head injuries: Physical head injuries can also cause cerebral palsy. Make sure that medical professionals are not using any rough techniques or sharp tools during the delivery process.
  • Check maternal and fetal blood types: This should be checked early in the pregnancy. If the baby and mother have different blood types, it can lead to pregnancy complications that can adversely impact brain development.
  • Manage any underlying health conditions: Maternal conditions such as hypertension or diabetes can cause pregnancy complications if not managed properly. Medical professionals should be aware of these complications and understand the proper steps to take to lower the risks.

Cerebral Palsy Malpractice & Compensation

Cerebral palsy malpractice shouldn’t go unpunished. Families have used the court system to take legal action against doctors who caused children to develop cerebral palsy.

Malpractice lawsuits have helped families receive compensation to cover the care costs of a child with cerebral palsy.

Here are some recent examples:

  • Maryland: A jury awarded $229 million to a mother and daughter after the latter suffered a birth injury and developed cerebral palsy.
  • Tennessee: A teen was awarded $15 million by a federal judge for a brain injury suffered at birth which resulted in cerebral palsy. The teen’s parents filed the suit.
  • Michigan: A family was awarded over $130 million after bringing a suit against Beaumont Hospital after their child developed cerebral palsy after his birth.
  • Guam: The U.S. government agreed to pay a Navy sailor whose child was born with cerebral palsy $11.5 million to settle allegations that a Navy doctor’s malpractice caused the condition.

Taking Action Against Cerebral Palsy Malpractice

No family deserves the heartbreaking diagnosis of cerebral palsy due to malpractice. It may be possible for you to file a cerebral palsy lawsuit if medical malpractice caused your child’s condition.

Get a free case review to see if you can take action today. Our team will review your case and help you to learn more about filing a cerebral palsy malpractice lawsuit.

Cerebral Palsy Guide was founded upon the goal of educating families about cerebral palsy, raising awareness, and providing support for children, parents, and caregivers affected by the condition. Our easy-to-use website offers simple, straightforward information that provides families with medical and legal solutions. We are devoted to helping parents and children access the tools they need to live a life full of happiness

Causes and Risk Factors of Cerebral Palsy. (2019, September 23). Retrieved September 09, 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/cp/causes.html

Hall, C. (2018, September 26). Jury awards family $130M in medical malpractice case against Beaumont. Retrieved September 09, 2020, from https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/oakland/2018/09/25/beaumont-hospital-royal-oak-medical-malpractice/1423035002/

Insurance Journal (2020, February 10). Tennessee Teen Awarded $15M Over Brain Injury Suffered at Fort Campbell Hospital. Retrieved September 19, 2020, from https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2020/02/10/558000.htm

Prudente, T. (2019, July 04). Baltimore jury awards record $229 million for brain injury during child's birth at Johns Hopkins Bayview. Retrieved September 09, 2020, from https://www.baltimoresun.com/maryland/baltimore-city/bs-md-ci-hopkins-medical-malpractice-record-20190702-story.html

Daugherty, S. (2019, September 13). US government settles allegations Navy doctor mishandled child birth for $11.5 million. Retrieved September 19, 2020, from https://www.pilotonline.com/military/vp-nw-navy-medical-malpractice-settlement-20190914-ekp6zedzpbaybdvyyzrpcyr2le-story.html