Could Doctors Have Prevented Your Child’s Cerebral Palsy?
Doctors are often reluctant to tell parents that they did something wrong during labor and delivery. This may be because of human nature—we don’t like to admit when we make mistakes. Also, it may be wishful thinking—doctors may hope that things turn around, and the baby makes a full recovery.
How Do You Know if Cerebral Palsy Was Preventable?
You’re not likely to get many answers from doctors. Even if a doctor admits that he caused a mistake, it can be some time before your child is diagnosed with cerebral palsy. The doctors that make the diagnosis will not likely be willing to go back and see if it was something that happened at birth, much less to determine if it was preventable. To find out, you will likely have to go to a birth injury lawyer. Your lawyer will ask you questions, will order the labor and delivery medical records, and will order the baby’s medical records. After an initial review, those records may be sent to many experts for a formal medical opinion—obstetricians, neonatologists, and pediatric neurologists, to name a few.
Here are some questions which can help you determine if your child’s cerebral palsy may have been preventable.
- Did the baby’s heart rate have any problems during labor and delivery? Did you hear words like “late deceleration,” (LINK) “distress,” or “non-reassuring?”
- How was the baby’s condition at birth? Did the baby require resuscitation, was the baby crying and moving? Did the doctors tell you the baby’s Apgar score?
- Did the baby have an extended stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)?
- Did you child have seizures?
- Were any brain scans abnormal?
- During labor, did the doctors give the mother oxygen, turn her on her side, or give her intravenous fluids?
- Was the baby born by emergency cesarean section, or with the assistance of vacuum or forceps?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, it may be a good idea to investigate further. Sometimes babies develop cerebral palsy for unknown reasons, and sometimes no one is at fault. Either way, it’s better to know.
There is no doubt, determining whether a doctor or other medical provider caused a baby’s cerebral palsy can be complicated. Just look at the wide variety of experts needed to prove these claims in court. A law firm can answer this question for you, and put your mind at ease. For more information, contact our medical malpractice attorneys at (440) 252-4399 or online for a free consultation.