A Comprehensive Cerebral Palsy Resource

Medical Mistakes That Can Lead to Cerebral Palsy

Although in most cases cerebral palsy is congenital, there are times when it is caused by medical mistakes. During labor and delivery, as well as during the first few days of a newborn’s life, there are a host of things that your doctor or midwife and nurses should be looking for to ensure the best health for you and your child. These things include the following:

  • Changes in fetal heart rate that could indicate some type of fetal distress
  • A prolapsed umbilical cord (occurs when the cord wraps around the baby’s neck and cuts off his/her oxygen supply)
  • Signs that the baby is stuck in the birth canal
  • Improper positioning for birth, indicating the need for a cesarean section
  • Seizures
  • Jaundice
  • Meningitis

In addition, certain maternal illnesses, such as German measles, high blood pressure, or toxemia, must be carefully treated to protect the baby. If a vacuum extraction or forceps are needed during delivery, they must be handled with extreme caution to avoid introducing injuries. Any of these issues, illnesses, and treatments can cause cerebral palsy if they are ignored, or administered incorrectly or without the full knowledge and attention of your medical team.

If you are uncertain whether your child’s cerebral palsy is due to mistakes made during pregnancy, labor, or delivery, the following list suggests that it might be:

  • Emergency cesarean section performed
  • Vacuum extraction or forceps needed for delivery
  • CPR or oxygen administered right after birth
  • Special testing or time in the NICU needed

Medical malpractice is not a term that should be used lightly; however, it does happen. Occasionally doctors, midwives, and nurses don’t follow the best standards of care, and birth injuries such as cerebral palsy are the result. When this type of negligence occurs, some type of monetary compensation may legally be yours to help you and your child deal with the aftermath.