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:
- Improper use of medical tools during delivery including forceps and vacuum extractors
- Postponed delivery that causes the baby to be deprived of oxygen
- Failure to identify changes in the fetal heart rate monitor
- Failure to properly treat infections
- Failure to perform a necessary cesarean section
- Failure to detect and properly treat a prolapsed umbilical cord
Contact a Glen Ellyn Birth Injury Lawyer
Cerebral palsy has the potential to dramatically impact the lives of parents and children. If you have reason to believe that your child may have developed cerebral palsy due to medical malpractice, contact Schwartz Injury Law. We have obtained many successful case results for families affected by cerebral palsy and we are ready to put this experience to work for you. Schedule a free, confidential consultation with an accomplished Illinois medical malpractice attorney from our firm by calling us at 630-349-2325 today.