C-Section Malpractice: Delayed Procedure Can Lead to Cerebral Palsy

One of the saddest types of medical malpractice cases that our office evaluates is those involving a failure to timely deliver a newborn baby despite clear indications that the baby was in distress prior to delivery.  In many of these instances, the babies suffer profoundly devastating injuries that affect them for the rest of their lives.  Chief among these injuries is a condition known as cerebral palsy, generally a preventable condition.  Generally speaking, cerebral palsy occurs when a baby does not receive enough oxygen to the brain in utero and begins showing signs of distress that are seen in the fetal heart monitoring strips that doctors and nurses use to assess the fetus’s condition and well-being.  In these circumstances, when an unborn baby is showing signs of fetal distress, the standard of care often dictates that an emergency c-section be performed.  If not, irreversible injury to the baby, such as cerebral palsy or other types of brain damage can occur. If your newborn has suffered a birth injury during a negligent C-section procedure, call our Baltimore medical malpractice attorneys today.

What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a complex medical condition that ranges in severity from mild to severe.  Typically, those afflicted with cerebral palsy have an inability to control their motor function; i.e., they lack adequate muscle control and coordination.  Common symptoms that can lead to a diagnosis of cerebral palsy include:  involuntary movements of limbs; muscle spasticity (tightness), inability to walk properly (gait); seizures, breathing problems or difficulty swallowing; bladder and bowel continence issues; learning disabilities, and the impairment of one or more senses (sight, hearing, etc.).  More severe cases may also result in a child having difficulty speaking.

How an Untimely C-Section Can Cause Cerebral Palsy

If the oxygen flowing to the child through the bloodstream is reduced or cut off for any significant period of time, asphyxia can occur and cerebral palsy can often result.  A lack of oxygen can often occur if the umbilical cord becomes wrapped around the infant’s neck, or if the infant’s head becomes stuck during the delivery.  In essence, when an infant is deprived of oxygen for a prolonged period of time, brain cells die, causing injury.  Doctors and nurses are trained to recognize and identify the tell-tale signs of fetal distress on the fetal tracings and/or ultrasounds that they use to evaluate the condition of the baby.  In many instances, minutes matter and intervention must be emergent and immediate.

At Bennett & Heyman, our lawyers routinely are asked to represent parents of infant children who have suffered profound brain injuries during the labor & delivery process.  In most instances, these infants are found to have suffered global cognitive delays along with the inability to complete most activities of daily living.  This means that they likely will never complete formal schooling, obtain any high school or college degrees, or be gainfully employed.  To properly care for these infants in their early years and as they grow older, millions upon millions of dollars are often required.  Accordingly, it is important that parents of brain-injured children seek the representation of competent attorneys who are familiar with how to properly pursue these legal cases and secure the necessary experts to testify in court as to the baby’s past and future needs.

Damages You May Recover in a Maryland C-Section Malpractice Case

In order to successfully pursue these cases, our lawyers will need to retain experts in the fields of obstetrics, maternal fetal medicine, neonatology, pulmonology, cardiology, life care planning, vocational rehabilitation, physical medicine and rehabilitation, nursing, economics and neurodevelopmental delays.  These individuals will carefully evaluate the injured baby and determine their care needs both presently and for the remainder of their lives.  It includes assessments of whether a child’s parents will be able to effectively care for the child as they too age or whether some type of facility care may be the best environment to provide the best possible care to the injured child.  These are difficult but important determinations that must be made because the care plan that is put in place must be sufficient to care for the child for however many more decades that they will live.  In many cases, these children will outlive their parents or caregivers and require the services of additional individuals to continue to provide the care they need.

In addition to the costs associated with the injured child’s past or future medical care needs, our lawyers also seek to recover the lost future earnings that the child has suffered as a result of his/her injuries.  In short, because these children are usually not likely to ever become employed, our lawyers seek to recover a lifetime of earnings from which the child will never benefit.  Recovering these losses can also help provide for the care and treatment that the child requires both now and into the future.

Our Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers Can Help

If you or a loved one has given birth to a child that has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy and you suspect a physician error or hospital negligence in the timeliness of delivery, call our lawyers for a free consultation at (410) 727-2168.  You may be entitled to a recovery that will enable your child to have the best possible care throughout the entirety of their lives.

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