One in 323 babies is born with cerebral palsy, a physical disability that affects movement and posture in a variety of ways. The disability is caused by problems with brain development before, at, or after birth. Most of the time, cerebral palsy is congenital and the specific cause may not be known. In some cases, however, a medical care provider’s mistake can result in a baby developing the condition.
Certain risk factors make a baby more likely to develop cerebral palsy. These risk factors include premature babies or babies with low birth weights, multiple births such as twins, and complications during labor including breech births.
In about 10 to 15 percent of cases, however, cerebral palsy results from a birth injury caused by negligence. Below are three factors related to medical negligence that can lead to this type of lifelong injury.
- Cerebral palsy can develop as a result of undiagnosed or untreated infections in the mother during pregnancy. Infections like toxoplasmosis, rubella (German measles), cytomegalovirus, and herpes can all increase a baby’s risk of cerebral palsy. Mothers can protect themselves against some of these infections, such as rubella, through vaccination before pregnancy. Be aware of your health throughout your pregnancy, and make sure that your doctor is monitoring any suspicious infections.
- A mother and her baby can have different blood types. A condition called Rh incompatibility means that the mother’s Rh blood type (either positive or negative) is different from that of her baby. This condition can cause brain damage and severe jaundice, one of the major risk factors for cerebral palsy. This disorder can usually be prevented with injections of Rh immune globulin both during pregnancy and after birth. Expectant mothers should be aware of these risks and discuss them with a doctor.
- Restricted oxygen to the infant’s brain during labor or birth can lead to cerebral palsy. Asphyxia, a condition in which the brain does not receive oxygen, can have dangerous ramifications. Several types of birth injuries cause asphyxia, including umbilical cord problems, hemorrhaging, prolonged delivery, and maternal shock. An estimated 6 to 8 percent of cerebral palsy cases are caused by birth asphyxia.
Contact our birth injury lawyers if you or a loved one has been affected by cerebral palsy. We can investigate the situation, determine if you were a victim of negligence, and help you to gain the support you need to battle this disability.