There is a common misconception that cerebral palsy (CP) is always of a genetic etiology (cause). In fact, in our experience, even therapists and healthcare providers may be unaware that cerebral palsy can be caused by a traumatic birth, lack of oxygen during the birthing process, hypoglycemia during the neonatal period, or any number of other causes.
What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy is caused by abnormal brain development or damage to the developing brain which can be due to any number of causes, some of which are preventable. Although CP can sometimes be a result of genetics, this is certainly not always the case. Cerebral palsy can develop during pregnancy (antepartum), labour and delivery (intrapartum) or in the newborn stage (neonatal).
In our experience, parents might never be told the cause of their child’s cerebral palsy by treating physicians. In other cases, the child’s treating physicians tell the parents that the cerebral palsy is genetic, which may be incorrect. Parents of children with cerebral palsy are often surprised when we tell them that their child’s cerebral palsy may have been caused by medical malpractice and was preventable with proper medical care.
Investigating Causes of Cerebral Palsy
Treating physicians – even specialists – may themselves not know the cause of the CP. A thorough investigation as to whether or not the cerebral palsy was preventable typically entails obtaining the medical opinions of several sub-specialists from various disciplines of medicine, including obstetricians (or perinatologists), neonatologists, neurologists and neuro-radiologists. These specialists must analyze several aspects of the medical information from the perspective of their respective specialties in order to provide a comprehensive and conclusive answer. This kind of comprehensive review and analysis is typically not done in the clinical setting.
Parents might be left wondering how a healthy pregnancy went so wrong, why their healthy newborn developed seizures, why their delivery was so traumatic, or why their baby developed fetal distress during labour and delivery. However, they often do not have the ability, resources, time or energy to investigate further. Oftentimes, the first time that our clients receive a definitive answer as to the cause of their child’s brain injury is following our medico-legal investigation with the help of our team of experts.
In cases where cerebral palsy was caused by medical negligence, both the family and the child with cerebral palsy may be entitled to significant financial compensation for therapies, attendant care, housing modifications, medical equipment, modified transportation etc.
If you are struggling with caring for a child with cerebral palsy, we may be able to help. Contact the lawyers at Sommers Roth & Elmaleh to find out what options are available for you and your family. We have represented parents, children, and their families in a number of ground-breaking medical malpractice lawsuits and have obtained significant compensation for many individuals with cerebral palsy. Call us at 1-416-961-1212 or contact us online for a free, no obligation consultation.
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