According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 10,000 babies born in the U.S. each year have cerebral palsy. Although the disease may develop after birth, it is usually present when the baby is born.
Genetic disorders and other “acts of God” account for many cases of cerebral palsy, but birth injuries can contribute to the condition as well. Experts estimate that 10 to 15 percent of all cases of cerebral palsy are the result of brain injury.
For example, oxygen deprivation during delivery, if not quickly recognized and alleviated, can permanently damage the infant brain.
Other examples of medical malpractice that may cause cerebral palsy include:
Mistakes in performing a C-section, such as failure to timely execute an emergency C-section.
Failure to diagnose meningitis, an infection in the brain and spinal cord.
Improper use of delivery aids such as forceps and vacuum extractors.
Use of too much force in delivery.
Parents and doctors usually begin to suspect cerebral palsy when the baby is about six months of age and is not achieving significant developmental milestones. Symptoms may include:
Lack of coordination
Parents whose babies display symptoms of cerebral palsy should speak with their pediatrician. If your baby is diagnosed with cerebral palsy and you think birth injury may have been a factor, speak with an experienced birth injury lawyer and find out your rights and remedies.