Can Cerebral Palsy Be Caused by My Doctor?

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As those that live with it or have a family member afflicted with it know, cerebral palsy is a disorder affecting muscle coordination and voluntary movements. It affects both children and adults. The disorder typically stems from a non-progressive brain injury or malformation either in the womb or in the early stages of development. Most of the time, symptoms are apparent from very early childhood. Unfortunately, while there are a host of treatments for the condition, there is no known cure for cerebral palsy.


Could My Doctor or My Child’s Doctor Have Caused Cerebral Palsy?


While there are cases of cerebral palsy that are simply inevitable, many instances of cerebral palsy are directly attributable to medical provider negligence. Doctors and hospitals do make mistakes that lead to a patient experiencing brain trauma followed by the development of cerebral palsy. These mistakes can happen even more frequently if the doctor is in a rush or the hospital is short-staffed. Once the injury to the brain has occurred, the patient is essentially on a life-long path of treatment, therapy, and management of symptoms.


What Are the Most Common Causes of Cerebral Palsy?


Many of these doctor-caused instances of cerebral palsy occur during the birth process. Leaving an infant in the birth canal for too long, the negligent use of forceps or vacuum extraction to aid the birth process, and/or the failure to detect a prolapsed umbilical cord are all common doctor-attributed errors. While they may be hardly noted – or not noted at all – at the time, medical records subpoenaed during a lawsuit can offer clues as to which of these causes, if any, led to the development of cerebral palsy.


In addition, brain injuries resulting in cerebral palsy can be caused by illnesses that are misdiagnosed by doctors. The misdiagnosis can lead to days, weeks, or months without proper and necessary medical care, which can either cause cerebral palsy or allow the root cause to become significantly worse. Common examples include infections and seizure disorders.


What Can I Do If I Suspect My Doctor Caused My Cerebral Palsy?


While no one can cure cerebral palsy at this time, there are many treatments available to you or a loved one affected by this disorder. Common treatments include speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy.  Many infants and children afflicted with cerebral palsy also develop secondary disorders as their bodies and brains grow, including epilepsy and other brain disorders. Medication can treat these conditions and sometimes bring them under control, although insurance often does not fully cover the costs of such treatment.


If you have reason to suspect that a doctor or hospital or other health care provider was at fault in your development of cerebral palsy, you should contact a trusted medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will be able to go over the facts of your case with an experienced eye, and explain options. You cannot live life without cerebral palsy, but with a little help, you can hold responsible the parties whose negligence caused the disorder. In addition, you can ensure that treatment options such as therapy and medications are available to you or a loved one when you need them most. Contact the cerebral palsy attorneys at The Trial Law Offices of Bradley I. Kramer, M.D., Esq. in Los Angeles for a free legal consultation.

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