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Six ways medical negligence can lead to cerebral palsy

On Behalf of | May 7, 2021 | Medical Malpractice

Most expecting parents in New York look forward to bringing a healthy child home from the hospital. Unfortunately, mistakes made during the mother’s pregnancy, the labor and delivery process and just after birth can lead to serious conditions, including cerebral palsy.

Mistake 1: Birth injuries

Medical neglect can lead to birth injuries, especially when there are complications during the labor process. Oftentimes a physician may need to use a vacuum extractor or forceps, which can cause head injuries. Sometimes these injuries are so severe that they ultimately cause cerebral palsy.

Mistake 2: Ignoring infections

A fetus is highly sensitive to its environment, especially if the pregnant mother has contracted an infection. An untreated infection can affect a mother’s immune system in a way that simply overwhelms a developing fetus, leading to cerebral palsy. Infections in pregnant women should be identified and appropriately treated.

Mistake 3: Jaundice

Sometimes a baby is born with jaundice, meaning its blood cells have a buildup of bile pigments, known as bilirubin, which then circulates through the infant’s bloodstream. If jaundice goes untreated, it could develop into cerebral palsy if the condition is not identified early and treated appropriate.

Mistake 4: Rh incompatibility

If a pregnant woman’s blood is Rh-negative and the fetus’s blood is Rh-positive, this is known as Rh incompatibility, meaning the woman’s body will produce white blood cells to attack the fetus’s red blood cells, cutting off their oxygen supply and leading to jaundice. This condition is easily remedied through a RhoGAM shot given while the woman is pregnant. However, if a physician fails to identify Rh incompatibility, it could lead to cerebral palsy.

Mistake 5: Birth asphyxiation

A fetus can be asphyxiated during the labor and delivery process, depriving it of oxygen. This often occurs during breech births or if the umbilical cord is wrapped around the fetus’s neck. If an infant is born and is not breathing, they need immediate medical attention. The failure to identify and treat asphyxiation can lead to brain damage and cerebral palsy.

Mistake 6: Strokes

Sometimes an infant who suffers brain damage in the womb or during the labor and delivery process will also suffer a stroke. Strokes cause bleeding in the brain. If this bleeding is not addressed immediately, it could affect the area of the brain responsible for motor control, leading to cerebral palsy.

Learn more about medical malpractice

These are six ways a physician can commit medical malpractice during a woman’s pregnancy, during the labor and delivery process, or just after birth. Those who have a child who has developed cerebral palsy due to medical negligence may find our firm’s webpage on medical malpractice to be a useful resource.