Cerebral palsy is a permanent, non-progressive condition caused by damage to the area of the brain where movement is controlled. The most common problems encountered with cerebral palsy are difficulty moving and controlling muscles. This may result in problems walking, using the arms or hands, speaking, swallowing, breathing, hearing, seeing, and learning. Seizures may also occur. There are four types of cerebral palsy: spastic cerebral palsy, the most common type, involves stiff, contracted muscles in one to four limbs; ataxic cerebral palsy creates problems with balance, depth perception, and fine motor skills; athetoid cerebral palsy is characterized by uncontrolled movements in the arms, hands, legs, feet, face, mouth, and/or tongue; and mixed cerebral palsy which means two or more types are found in the same individual.
Damage to the brain causing cerebral palsy can happen during pregnancy, the birth process, or after a child is born. Lack of oxygen or blood flow to the brain, trauma to the baby’s head, and certain infections are among the causes of cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is sometimes caused by medical malpractice. For example, the fetus may not receive enough oxygen or blood flow to its brain during labor making immediate delivery necessary. Excessive use of Pitocin may cause inadequate blood flow to the fetal brain. If the doctor or nurses do not recognize or respond to the situation soon enough, cerebral palsy may result. If you are a victim of medical malpractice or medical negligence and need the assistance of a leading medical malpractice lawyer, contact Ryan Krebs, M.D., J.D.
The brain damage associated with cerebral palsy is permanent and causes life-long problems. Some of the problems can be improved or stabilized by therapy, medications, or surgery. Affected families are faced with special challenges. Costly life-time medical care can be a significant financial burden. If you suspect that medical malpractice played a role in the cerebral palsy, you may be entitled to funds that will help provide care and alleviate the stresses you are faced with.
The first and most important step is to take immediate action. There are time limits for bringing medical malpractice lawsuits, so you must not wait to seek help. The next step is to find a medical malpractice attorney with the experience, commitment and track record demonstrating the ability to handle these complex and expensive cases. Because of his background in medicine as well as law, Ryan Krebs, M.D., J.D. specializes in medical malpractice lawsuits including those involving birth injuries and cerebral palsy. Remember, there is no fee unless we win a settlement or verdict in your favor.
Other Birth Injuries Caused by Malpractice
Erb’s Palsy and Brachial Plexus Injuries
Cerebral palsy is not the only type of birth injury that can be caused by medical malpractice. Erb’s Palsy and Brachial Plexus Palsy are conditions in which the nerves connecting the spinal cord to the shoulder, arm, and/or wrist are damaged causing impaired use or worse, paralysis of the arm and/or wrist. Excessive stretching of the baby’s neck and shoulder by the obstetrician during delivery may cause Erb’s Palsy.
Group-B Strep can infect the unborn child during pregnancy or passage through the birth canal. Under some circumstances, failure to diagnose and treat Group-B Strep may constitute medical malpractice.
Kernicterus is a form of brain damage caused by too much bilirubin (yellow bilirubin pigment) in a newborn’s body. This build-up of yellow pigment, called jaundice, is common in newborns, as their livers are often not sufficiently developed to process all the bilirubin at once. In most cases, jaundice will clear up by itself and does not pose a danger to the baby. However, if the bile level rises too high, it can affect the brain and cause permanent damage.
Doctors need to closely monitor jaundice in newborns, treating high levels with phototherapy or blood transfusion to prevent brain damage. Prior to 1990, kernicterus had been almost eradicated as a health problem in newborns. However, since hospitals began the practice of discharging mothers and newborns within 48 hours of birth–before jaundice has fully developed–kernicterus has re-emerged as a serious health threat to newborns.
Parents whose babies have been injured by kernicterus may be entitled to financial compensation. Our birth injury lawyer at the Law Office of Ryan Krebs, M.D., J.D. can advise these families of their legal options.
The March of Dimes estimates that one out of every 28 babies born each year has some form of birth defect. These birth defects can be devastating for parents and potentially dangerous or fatal for the infant. Some types of defects, such as cleft lip and palate, can be successfully treated with surgery. Others, including many metabolic disorders and congenital heart defects, are life threatening.
There are a number of factors that can contribute to the development of a birth defect, including genetics, alcohol or illegal drug use during pregnancy, maternal infection, and many common over-the-counter and prescription medications such as Accutane®. Doctors or pharmacists who fail to warn their patients that certain medications pose a risk of fetal birth defect may be liable for medical malpractice.
If you or a loved one has suffered a birth defect, contact the Law Office of Ryan Krebs, M.D., J.D. The lawyers at the Law Office of Ryan Krebs, M.D., J.D. are experienced in this area of litigation.
Uterine rupture is a dangerous complication of the birthing process that generally results when a previous c-section scar rips open during an attempted Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC). In addition to endangering the mother’s life, this rupturing of the uterine wall causes a sudden drop in the baby’s blood pressure that can lead to permanent brain injury or death of the infant.
In cases of uterine rupture, a physician has approximately 13-17 minutes to perform an emergency C-section before oxygen loss to the infant’s brain causes irreversible brain damage. Doctors must be able to recognize the symptoms of uterine rupture and respond appropriately. The hospital must also be equipped with 24-hour anesthesia and the necessary staff to assist the doctor, should an emergency cesarean be necessary.
Because of the very serious risks involved with a vaginal birth following a previous c-section, patients considering this option need to be fully informed of the danger of uterine rupture by their doctor. Doctors and nurses who fail to advise their patients of the risks, or who do not recognize and respond appropriately to the signs of uterine rupture during delivery, may be guilty of medical malpractice.