Cerebral Palsy: A Serious Type of Birth Injury
The overall health of a pregnant woman and her unborn child are under the care of an Obstetrician, or OB/Gyn, a medical professional especially trained to manage pregnancy, labor and birth. Thus, it is part of an Obstetrician’s duty to know what medications can and cannot be prescribed to a pregnant woman (or anyone expecting who may be under his/her care), as there are prescription drugs that may cause side effects that can result to severe health conditions in the mother and/or unborn child.
Likewise, any vice that the pregnant woman has, such as smoking, drinking, use of illegal drugs (and even over-eating) should be checked and stopped by an OB/Gyn to ensure the good health, especially, of the child yet to be born; if not stopped, the toxins coming from any of these vices can result to a serious birth injury that may change the life of the unborn for the rest of his/her life.
Besides the time spent inside his/her mother’s womb, an equally critical time for the child is the time of delivery. Many errors have been committed in delivery rooms (in the past) due to the carelessness and negligence of the team, or any of its members, managing the delivery process. A couple of these errors are injecting a wrong dose of anesthesia or clamping the head, with the use of forceps, quite tightly that the flow of oxygen to the baby’s head is temporarily obstructed.
The years prior to 1980, doctors believed that the deprivation of oxygen to the baby’s brain during labor or birth, which is known as asphyxia, caused a birth injury called cerebral palsy. This injury is a result of an abnormality in the brain development of an unborn child, resulting to loss of motor function impairment in muscle coordination. Cerebral palsy, which affects thousands of babies in the U.S. every year, makes walking, playing, eating, talking and playing quite difficult to a child.
Rather than asphyxia as being the major cause of brain injury that leads to CP, scientists discovered that abnormality in the brain development may be caused either by bleeding inside the brain or Intracranial Hemorrhage, which is usually the result of a stroke, or Periventricular Leukomalacia (PVL), a lack of oxygen that causes severe damage to brain cells, which can be caused by use of illegal drugs, very low blood pressure, infection or very low blood pressure.
Birth injuries often happen because of improper care or failure of a doctor to provide reasonable level of care. As explained in the website of the law firm Habush Habush & Rottier, S.C., “The birth of a child is one of the miraculous wonders many have the privilege to witness in their lifetimes. When a mother or child suffers a birth injury, families are often left bewildered, wondering how and why such a tragedy occurred. Many birth injury situations involve unforeseeable complications that must be treated as best as possible when they occur. In other situations, a birth injury is preventable and may be the result of medical error, negligence, or malpractice. Birth injuries and birth traumas are often considered the same thing.
The common causes of birth injuries include:
- Complications during pregnancy;
- Improper dating;
- Complications during childbirth;
- Ob/Gyn errors such as mishandling of an instrument, improper delivery technique, incorrect estimation of birth date, improper prenatal testing, failure to perform C-section in a timely manner, diagnostic errors, and failure to treat a condition; and,
- Obstetrical mistakes such as failure to recognize fetal distress, failure to diagnose or treat infection, and failure to respond to complications in a timely manner.”
When medical malpractice is the cause of a child or mother’s birth injury, the responsible party can be held liable for the victims’ losses and suffering. This is why it may be necessary for a family to contact a medical malpractice lawyer immediately in case of any hint of medical malpractice as this may help the family learn more about birth injury medical malpractice lawsuits.