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When is a Doctor or Hospital Legally Responsible for a Child Developing Cerebral Palsy?Cerebral palsy is a disorder caused by the atypical development of a child’s brain often stemming from brain injury or infection. Children with cerebral palsy typically experience loss of muscle control, reduced muscle tone, impaired movement, lack of balance and coordination, involuntary movements, eye problems, and other serious symptoms. Research into the many causes of cerebral palsy is still ongoing, but in some cases, cerebral palsy is a direct result of a doctor or other medical professional’s negligence during the child’s birth. If your child has cerebral palsy, you may question whether or not medical malpractice played a role in your child’s development of this disorder.

Understanding the Medical Standard of Care

There are typically four elements needed to establish medical malpractice. Firstly, the doctor must have owned the patient a duty of care. This means that a doctor-patient relationship existed so the doctor had a duty to provide medical care to the patient. Secondly, the doctor deviated from the “medical standard of care.” The standard of care refers to the level of care that a competent doctor of similar experience and training would have provided under similar circumstances. Thirdly, the doctor’s failure to meet the medical standard of care caused the patient’s injury. Lastly, the injury led to damages such as additional medical expenses or pain and suffering.

Examples of Medical Malpractice That Can Cause Cerebral Palsy

There are countless things that can go wrong during a pregnancy or birth. This is why doctors must receive such a great deal of education and training before becoming a certified physician. If a doctor or other medical professional did not appropriately treat a medical condition during pregnancy or birth, he or she may be liable for the harm done to a child. In some situations, the liable party is the hospital as a whole. Examples of medical malpractice that often lead to the development of cerebral palsy include but are not limited to:

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Can Cerebral Palsy Be Linked to Medical Malpractice?Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a congenital disorder that affects an individual’s muscle movement, tone, and posture. Because it hinders the body’s ability to move in a coordinated manner, people that are diagnosed with CP may need assistance with bodily functions such as breathing, eating, and motor skills. Since CP is often caused by brain damage that occurred either before or during a child’s birth, early detection can help parents establish a medical malpractice lawsuit. If you suspect that a doctor, nurse, physician, or medical staff member acted negligently during your pregnancy or at the time of birth, it is important to speak with an experienced birth injury attorney.

What Can Cause Cerebral Palsy?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CP is the most common motor disability found in children. Although the explanation of CP is not always known, there are several causes that can be linked to the disorder, such as:

  • Genetic illness
  • Low birth weight
  • Untreated jaundice
  • Premature birth
  • A stroke in the womb or after birth
  • Lack of oxygen reaching the brain
  • Infections during pregnancy
  • Medical problems faced by the mother during pregnancy

The failure of medical professionals to act accordingly throughout pregnancy or the birthing process can also lead to CP. For instance, if infections or changes in heart rate go undetected, the doctor or nurse may be held liable. Furthermore, the careless actions of a medical staff member may lead to CP. Improper tool use, medication errors, or administrative mistakes can be linked to medical malpractice.

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Tinley Park birth injury lawyer hypoxia

What Is the Statute of Limitations on a Birth Injury Claim in Illinois?

Illinois law recognizes that the extent of a birth injury is often not fully realized until a child nears school age. The Illinois medical malpractice statute of limitations, which you can find at 735 ILCS section 5/13-212(a), states that the statute of limitations is 8 years after a child’s birth to file a birth injury claim for damages.

Oxygen Deprivation May Be Attributed to Medical Malpractice

Birth injuries due to hypoxia are often preventable. Labor and delivery staff are expected to closely monitor the baby’s heart rate and take swift action if there are signs that the baby’s health is in danger. If labor and delivery professionals are negligent and fail to meet the medical standard of care, causing significant injury and damages to a baby, they can be sued for medical malpractice.

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