Medical Malpractice Explained

medical malpractice

Oftentimes, parents can become so overwhelmed with joy in the delivery room that they aren’t looking for signs of a birth injury.

Following a CP diagnosis, parents may start to remember seemingly normal situations that were actually indicative of medical malpractice. There are a number of resources that parents can use to determine if you have grounds for a CP lawsuit.

Cerebral palsy lawsuits require evidence that your child’s condition could have been prevented by a more attentive medical staff or facility. For this to be established, investigation will need to show that the medical staff or facility showed signs of neglect or malpractice, and that your child exhibited some signs or symptoms of a birth injury.

The most efficient way to establish whether you have a case is by receiving a free case evaluation from a law firm experienced in CP cases.

Unfortunately, medical malpractice can cause several developmental and neurological complications, including cerebral palsy. If you suspect that a delivering doctor, nurse or medical facility fell below their required standard of care, it is every parent’s right to pursue a lawsuit.

Symptoms Of A Birth Injury

A birth injury is a specific type of brain or nerve damage that occurs before, during or shortly after your child is born. Children suffering from brain or nerve trauma at birth have a high risk of developing conditions related to neurological damage, such as cerebral palsy.

Most prenatal and delivering doctors will do everything in their power to ensure that your baby is born healthy. However, there are still many cases of CP that stem from preventable birth injuries.

There are a number of signs that parents can look for that would suggest their child’s CP could have been prevented with a more attentive medical staff. Some early symptoms of a birth injury will present themselves during pregnancy or delivery, while others can be observed shortly after birth.

Symptoms of a birth injury include:

  • Skull fractures
  • Low oxygen levels
  • Low heart rate
  • Weak or absent reflexes
  • Excessive drooling
  • Hands curled into a claw-like shape
  • Muscle stiffness or looseness
  • Arched back while crying
  • Seizures

Click here for a more detailed list of the symptoms of a birth injury.

If your child exhibited any of the above symptoms and was later diagnosed with CP, parents should consider getting in touch with a CP lawyer. An experienced lawyer will be able to help determine if your child’s condition could have been prevented.

Evidence of Medical Malpractice and CP

Cerebral palsy can develop when there is an insufficient amount of oxygen reaching the infant brain, causing neurological damage. This brain or nerve damage can be the result of medical errors or neglect that occurred during pregnancy, delivery or birth. These medical mistakes are a form of medical malpractice.

Medical malpractice is a term that describes when a doctor or hospital fails to fulfill their legal responsibilities while caring for you or your child.

Some examples of medical malpractice that can lead to cerebral palsy are:

  • Failure to detect and/or properly treat infections
  • Failure to detect changes in fetal heart rate monitor
  • Failure to schedule or perform a medically advisable cesarean section
  • Failure to detect a prolapsed umbilical cord
  • Improper use of delivery tools, such as vacuum extractors and forceps

Each year, thousands of cases of cerebral palsy are caused by medical negligence or malpractice. If you have any reason to believe that your child’s condition is the result of improper care, attention or medical training, it is in your family’s best interest to get a legal case evaluation.

Could filing a lawsuit help cover the cost of your child’s treatment?

Get your free case evaluation

Hospital Negligence

Medical malpractice lawsuits can be filed against an individual physician, or against the hospital as a whole. In the case of hospital negligence, this typically includes holding the hospital directly liable for their own neglect.

Hospitals are expected to have policies and practices in place that any other reasonable medical facility would. They are also expected to provide a patient environment that is reasonably safe and sterile.

Additionally, hospitals are responsible for hiring medical staff with appropriate education, training and licensing. If a member of the medical staff does not meet the requirements to practice as a physician, the hospital can be held legally accountable.

Hospitals can also be held liable for any birth injury that is the result of not having enough nurses or doctors on duty at all times to maintain quality patient care.

How A Case Evaluation Can Help

A case evaluation is a way for parents to receive a neutral assessment of the details of their case. This step will help to answer any questions parents may have regarding whether they have a case or not.

Most cerebral palsy lawyers will evaluate your case free of charge.

Case evaluations should be conducted with a law firm that has experience specifically with CP cases. Lawyers who have already been through the process of filing these types of lawsuits will know exactly what kind of evidence to look for, and what makes a strong case.

Find Out If You Have A Case

While there are various signs and situations that can offer insight into whether you have grounds for a cerebral palsy lawsuit, this is a question that can only be fully answered through a case evaluation.

Medical malpractice lawsuits tend to be complex, both from a medical and legal standpoint. By getting in touch with a law firm that is experienced with birth injuries and medical malpractice lawsuits, you will ensure that your case is being evaluated by experts in the field.

Click here to get started with your free case evaluation today.

Sources & Author Edited: October 24, 2016
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  7. Diffen (2016). Malpractice vs. Negligence. Retrieved on July 11, 2016, from: http://www.diffen.com/difference/Malpractice_vs_Negligence
  8. The Pickett Law Firm (2016). What is the Difference Between Medical Malpractice & Medical Negligence? Retrieved on July 11, 2016, from: http://wdpickett-law.com/faqs/what-is-the-difference-between-medical-malpractice-medical-negligence/
  9. Cerebral Palsy: A Complete Guide for Caregiving 2nd ed. Freeman Miller, M.D. and Steven J. Bachrach, M.D. The Johns Hopkins University Press. Baltimore, MD. 2006.
  10. All Law. (2015). Injury Lawsuits Against Hospitals & Doctors: Medical Malpractice Overview. Retrieved on April 18, 2016, from: http://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/medical-malpractice/injury-lawsuits-against-hospitals-doctors.html
  11. Find Law. (2016). Medical Malpractice: Who Can Be Sued? Retrieved on April 18, 2016, from: http://injury.findlaw.com/medical-malpractice/medical-malpractice-who-can-be-sued-.html
  12. PubMed.gov (2015). Cerebral palsy litigation: change course or abandon ship. Retrieved on May 19, 2016, from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25183322
  13. Injury Claim Coach (2016). Filing Birth Injury Lawsuits Against Doctors, Hospitals and Midwives. Retrieved on May 19, 2016, from: http://www.injuryclaimcoach.com/birth-injury-lawsuit.html
  14. http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/birth-injuries-cerebral-palsy-34181.html
About the Writer
Kimberlee Bochek

Kimberlee is a writer and researcher who is passionate about helping children with disabilities enjoy a happy, healthy life. She works closely with our attorneys to create content that educates the families and caretakers of children with cerebral palsy.