Cerebral palsy is a birth injury that most frequently affects newborns and young children in the first few years of their life. Until the early 80s it was held that cerebral palsy in infants was the result of asphyxia or oxygen deprivation during birth; however, studies have shown that brain damage can occur even during the first 6 months of pregnancy due to any of the following reasons:
Abnormal development of the brain – caused by infections, viruses, disturbance to the head of the unborn baby, or changes in the genes that are responsible for the development of the brain
Periventricular leukomalacia (PVL) – these are factors that either affect the mother, like extremely low blood pressure and infections (like German measles), or are caused by the mother herself due to use of illegal drugs while pregnant
Intracranial hemorrhage – a brain hemorrhage (in the baby) due to stroke
Besides its possible development during the mother’s pregnancy, though, this brain disorder that affects balance, movement and body posture can also be caused by careless or negligent actions on the behalf of medical professionals.
Medical malpractice is often recognized as the cause of cerebral palsy. Though often unintentional, doctors and other medical practitioners can be held totally liable for failing to provide proper care for the pregnant mother or child during and after his or her birth. Unfortunately, in many cases, this proper care could have likely prevented the disease from developing. Some of the most common medical malpractices that result in cerebral palsy are:
Understanding whether these or other negligent acts were at fault for a child’s cerebral palsy can be difficult, but many professionals, such as another doctor or a cerebral palsy attorney can help a person assess the situation and understand who is at fault.
There are some no-medical causes of prolonged or severe loss of oxygen in a child’s brain that cause cerebral palsy, including vehicular accidents, near drowning, serious head injury, and child abuse. In these cases, another party may also be at fault for the child’s development of this disorder and can potentially be held liable.