This Blog is the sixth in a series of posts on Cerebral Palsy (CP) and its relation to medical malpractice. To obtain more information on CP, please reference our previous blog posts explaining CP, its causes, signs and symptoms, different types and diagnosis.
Wagners has extensive experience in medical malpractice and complex litigation, and has represented clients throughout Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI. Wagners has been successful in many birth trauma cases, and has obtained for its clients the much needed and lifelong financial support for families with children of CP.
Can Cerebral Palsy be Prevented?
Although in many instances CP is not preventable, in some cases CP is caused by injury to the infant brain during labour and delivery that could have been prevented by adequate medical care and attention.
Medical malpractice claims arise where the hospital, nurses and treating physicians do not identify and properly manage the risks of CP, or where improper medical care results in infant brain injury. Errors by nurses or doctors that may give rise to a medical malpractice claim include the following:
- not diagnosing and treating maternal infection;
- improper assessment of the mother and/or baby’s vital signs;
- not initiating an emergency and timely C-section;
- improperly using vacuum extraction or forceps during delivery;
- not recognizing or quickly responding to signs of fetal distress;
- not detecting that the umbilical cord is wrapped around a baby’s neck, cutting off oxygen to the brain;
- not ensuring that the fetus has adequate oxygen;
- not treating jaundice in a newborn infant; and
- not properly identifying or managing shoulder dystocia.
How is Cerebral Palsy Treated?
There is no cure for CP, and although it is not a progressive disorder, the symptoms can become increasingly severe over time.
Supportive treatments, medications, and surgery help many individuals. Supportive treatments may include physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. External braces and other assistive technology are often helpful. Certain medications may be prescribed to help relax stiff muscles. Surgery may include lengthening muscles and cutting overly active nerves.
The ability to live independently with CP varies widely, depending partly on the severity of each person’s impairment. Some individuals with CP only need assistance with certain activities, and others with significant physical disability require personal, 24 hour-a-day care assistants for all activities of daily living.
All of these above treatments involved in the care for a child with CP can be extremely costly. In fact, the lifetime cost of rehabilitative and assistive aids to help CP sufferers commonly runs into the millions of dollars.
If you suspect your child’s CP may be a result of medical malpractice, you may be eligible to seek compensation for the losses incurred by you and your family, including pain and suffering, medical expenses, and past and future treatment costs.
Please do not hesitate to call Wagners if you have further questions about medical malpractice and CP and would like to consult with a lawyer.