New Jersey Cerebral Palsy Malpractice Lawyers
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 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 (ACOG) urges doctors to complete emergency caesarean sections within thirty minutes, a guideline known as “decision to incision.” However, it’s well documented thirty minutes is far too long when an emergency limits the baby’s oxygen. These emergencies may include issues with the umbilical cord, separation of the placenta, uterine rupture, placental abruption, slow heart rate, and fetal distress.
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 (NINDS). Each year, 8,000 individuals are diagnosed with the condition. The Mayo Clinic estimates three out of every thousand children born in New Jersey and throughout the United States are affected by this.
Medical Malpractice and Cerebral Palsy
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 properly treated during pregnancy.
- Emergency medical procedures are delayed or not performed.
- Hospital staff and anesthesiologists are not available in time.
While the condition 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 these 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 these patients.
- Some individuals suffer from mixed-type cerebral palsy that includes a combination of these symptoms.
C-Section Birth Injury Lawsuits in NJ
Our team of attorneys has a proven record of achieving exceptional results for victims of medical malpractice and birth injuries. For example, in 2010 we recovered $18.5 million in damages for an Essex County family whose child developed cerebral palsy due to a delayed C-section. If your child suffers from this or other birth injury due to suspected obstetric malpractice or delays in care, contact Mazie Slater Katz & Freeman. Our lawyers will respond as soon as possible to discuss your case.