Parents usually look forward to the birth of their babies, especially when it appears that the baby is in good health. Unfortunately, some later learn that their bundle of joy has a medical condition. Sometimes, it’s no one’s fault, and the illness or injury couldn’t be prevented. However, some babies sustain preventable birth injuries, in which case you may have a medical malpractice case on your hands. Cerebral palsy is a group of conditions that can occur because someone made a mistake during labor or delivery.
Cerebral palsy can be treated but there is no cure. If your baby has been diagnosed with this illness, you may be wondering if you can get compensation. This is understandable since treatment can be costly and you may even have to stay home from work to care for your little one. You would be happy to know that you can recover damages for birth injuries. However, you need to prove that a doctor or the medical facility was negligent. Not every unsatisfactory outcome is grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. You will need to contact a medical malpractice attorney in Lakeland, FL for guidance. In the meantime, let’s take a closer look at cerebral palsy and how you can get compensation if your baby’s injuries resulted from negligence.
What Is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy is the most common motor disability in children. It occurs when the brain doesn’t develop normally or the developing brain is damaged in such a way that muscle control is limited. It is characterized by weak or otherwise compromised muscles that restrict the individual’s ability to maintain balance and move. Often, cerebral palsy develops because of a lack of oxygen during labor and delivery and around a fifth of cases are due to damage that takes place during the birthing process. Cerebral palsy has been at the center of many medical malpractice cases in the United States.
Cerebral palsy can present in different ways based on the extent of brain damage and the area of the body that was affected. Ataxic cerebral palsy results in poor balance and coordination while spastic cerebral palsy is characterized by stiff muscles and problems with movement. Meanwhile, dyskinetic cerebral palsy leads to uncontrollable movements. Despite these broad categorizations, symptoms vary from person to person. The severity of the condition also varies. Some people are generally able to care for themselves while others need around-the-clock care.
Cerebral palsy doesn’t get worse over time but the symptoms the individual experiences can change. In addition to the challenges with movement and posture, some people also develop spinal changes, problems with vision, hearing or speech, or mental disability. Given how serious and life-altering these symptoms can be, you should contact a lawyer as soon as you suspect something negligent happened. The sooner an attorney can investigate the matter, the sooner you’ll know if you have a valid medical malpractice claim.
Holding a Doctor or Hospital Liable for Medical Malpractice
To ascertain whether malpractice occurred, your attorney will seek expert testimony from other medical professionals. Whether you plan to file an insurance claim or a lawsuit, you’ll need convincing evidence that your child’s condition could have been avoided.
Cerebral palsy isn’t always due to medical error. Risk factors include:
- Infections during pregnancy
- Jaundice and kernicterus
- Multiple births
- Premature births
- Low birth weight
- Assisted reproductive technology fertility treatments
If your baby’s condition can be explained by one of these factors, you may not be able to hold anyone accountable. However, there are times when doctors make mistakes. You may have a valid claim if your little one’s cerebral palsy was the result of a medical professional’s:
- Failure to detect or treat an infection
- Failure to plan or carry out a cesarean section when it was medically advisable
- Failure to diagnose a prolapsed umbilical cord
- Failure to identify changes in fetal heart rate
- Improper use of vacuum extractors or forceps during delivery
If there are sufficient grounds, your Lakeland medical malpractice lawyer will advise you to file a claim against a doctor, the hospital or both. A physician would have been directly responsible for your care. However, facilities can also be held liable if they fail to ensure the safety of patients or hire staff without the necessary training and credentials.
Let the Team at Burnetti P.A. Help You
If you suspect that your or your baby was a victim of medical malpractice, you need to contact a Lakeland medical malpractice lawyer. We’ll investigate the matter and if you have a case, we’ll do everything we can to get you the compensation you deserve. Book a free consultation today!