Cerebral Palsy due to Delayed C-Section
Cerebral palsy (CP) is one of the most catastrophic, heart wrenching birth injuries, partly because this lifelong condition can usually be prevented with timely delivery of the baby. This traumatic birth injury affects the brain and central nervous system, including parts of the body that control motor skills, muscles, cognition, sight, and hearing. Cerebral palsy is caused by low oxygen levels in the baby’s brain due to physical conditions in the womb, fetal distress, medical errors, and delayed C-sections.
New Jersey Obstetric Malpractice and Delayed Caesarean Sections
In New Jersey, thirty percent of babies are delivered by C-sections. Sometimes the patient and her OB-GYN have elected to do the procedure well in advance. However, 1 in every 159 mothers will require an emergency C-section, usually because the fetus is in distress, the labor is not progressing, or the labor is obstructed. Once the baby is in distress, through a reduced heart rate (known as bradycardia), the baby is at risk for cerebral palsy and other birth injuries if the C-section is not performed quickly.
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology urges doctors to complete emergency caesareans within thirty minutes, a guideline known as “decision to incision.” However, it is well-documented thirty minutes is far too long when an emergency limit the baby’s oxygen. These emergencies include issues with the umbilical cord, separation of the placenta, uterine rupture, placental abruption, slow heart rate, and fetal distress.
Causes of Cerebral Palsy due to Obstetric Malpractice
Depressed oxygen levels can damage the brain before and during delivery or after birth. Birth asphyxia, a condition related to hypoxia, accounts for ten percent of severe cerebral palsy cases, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Each year, 8,000 individuals are diagnosed with cerebral palsy. The Mayo Clinic estimates that cerebral palsy affects 3 out of every 1,000 children born in New Jersey and throughout the United States.
Cerebral palsy caused by medical malpractice commonly occurs in these situations:
- Labor and delivery room doctors and nurses fail to monitor fetal heart rate.
- Prolapsed or compressed umbilical cords are not detected.
- Infections and underlying health concerns are not treated during pregnancy.
- Emergency medical procedures are delayed or not performed.
- Hospital staff and anesthesiologists are not available in time.
While CP doesn’t shorten a child’s life, it does affect its quality. Depending on what portion of the brain was affected and the extent of the damage, the patient might be confined to a wheelchair, require mobility aids, or suffer from a limp and muscle weakness. The Mayo Clinic recognizes these forms of cerebral palsy:
- Spastic cerebral palsy affects the muscles and reflexes. It accounts for three-quarters of CP cases.
- Athetoid cerebral palsy is associated with writhing muscle movements, tremors, and spasms. This condition makes up to twenty percent of cases.
- Ataxic cerebral palsy causes involuntary muscle movements and poor coordination. It is present in approximately five percent of CP patients.
Some individuals suffer from mixed-type cerebral palsy that includes a combination of these symptoms.
At the New Jersey birth injury law firm of Mazie Slater Katz & Freeman, our New Jersey cerebral palsy lawyers will aggressively handle your medical malpractice case against negligent hospitals, nurses, and obstetricians. Delayed C-sections cause many cerebral palsy cases, and we have successfully recovered one of the largest birth injury damages recoveries in New Jersey history, securing an $18.5 million birth injury jury verdict on behalf of a New Jersey family whose son developed cerebral palsy when a C-section was improperly delayed by the obstetrician. We have also been named to the Best New Jersey Medical Malpractice Attorneys list by the Best Lawyers in America.
New Jersey Cerebral Palsy Lawyers
If your child suffers from cerebral palsy or other birth injury due to suspected obstetric malpractice or delays in care contact the New Jersey birth injury lawyers at Mazie Slater Katz & Freeman. Our New Jersey cerebral palsy lawyers will respond as soon as possible to discuss your case.