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How Does Malpractice Result in Cerebral Palsy?

By Norman Younker on September 26, 2014


A doctor holds an infant in his handsThe attorneys at Younker Hyde Macfarlane, PLLC are committed to helping victims and their families throughout the state. So many people have contacted our Salt Lake City office to discuss their medical negligence causes, and we are always here to offer counsel.

One of the tragic medical malpractice issues we address each year is cerebral palsy (CP), a birth injury that has lasting repercussions for the rest of a child's life. We'd like to look into this condition in a bit more detail and help you understand why it's important that negligent medical professionals be held accountable if they caused your child to develop CP.

What is cerebral palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a term applied to a specific set non-progressive disorders that affect the movement of the body. Since the condition is non-progressive, these issues will not worsen during the course of a child's life. In roughly one-third of cases, epilepsy and cognition problems may also be present, among other issues not related to mobility.

It is estimated that up to 11,500 children pre-school age and younger are diagnosed with cerebral palsy every year. The United Cerebral Palsy Association estimated that 764,000 Americans have cerebral palsy.

Causes of Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is most commonly caused by issues related to pregnancy and childbirth that result in damage to the motor control centers of the brain. Many times this is due to infections or injuries sustained during pregnancy or childbirth, though it is estimated that 2% of cerebral palsy cases are actually congenital.

The most common causes of cerebral palsy include the following experienced in utero, during birth, or soon after being born:

  • Oxygen deprivation
  • Infection
  • Head trauma
  • Severe illness
  • Blood incompatibility between mother and infant
  • Extreme dehydration

Children who are born premature are particularly at risk for developing cerebral palsy.

Is cerebral palsy avoidable/preventable?

In many cases, yes. Proper medical treatment during pregnancy and proper delivery and care of the newborn will help reduce the chances of cerebral palsy occurring. Dietary recommendations and other medical advice by reputable professionals can also decrease risks of cerebral palsy.

A number of cases of cerebral palsy are the result of negligent medical care of the fetus or mistakes made during the delivery of the child. In such cases, the medical professional needs to be held accountable for his or her mistakes.

Proving Fault In a Birth Injury Lawsuit

If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, it's important to look into your legal options. A birth injury lawsuit can be filed in order to receive just compensation for the various hardships that you and your child will face in the future.

Proving fault in these instances is key, and in order to prove fault, you must show that the doctor in charge of your prenatal care and/or the doctor who delivered your child were responsible for cerebral palsy occurring. This will involve careful analysis of medical records and the nature of the incident that likely caused the cerebral palsy to occur.

Statute of Limitations on Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

In Utah, the statute of limitations on medical malpractice lawsuits is two years after the injury has been discovered. Be sure to speak with our firm as soon as possible so that we can get the legal process going.

Compensation for Your Child's Challenges

Given the many physical and potential mental challenges that your child will face as a result of cerebral palsy, our primary concern when seeking compensation will be to address the hardships ahead for your family. The compensation that we obtain will help make living with cerebral palsy easier for your child as he or she grows up.

Meet with Our Medical Malpractice Lawyers About Your Case

If your child suffers from cerebral palsy or any other kinds of medical conditions sustained during childbirth, it's important that you contact our medical malpractice lawyers today. The entire team at Younker Hyde Macfarlane, PLLC will help you receive just compensation for the hardships that you and your loved ones have been forced to endure.

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