OBM

Medical Negligence

Cerebral Palsy Claims

Cerebral Palsy compensation claims can be complicated and emotionally draining for parents. This is why it’s important to reach out for legal guidance as soon as possible if you or a member of your family has been injured by substandard medical care resulting in Cerebral Palsy. We are here to support you through this process and provide you with all of the information you need to ensure your family has access to the best treatment and resources available to you. If you’re unsure whether your child was harmed as a result of medical negligence, we can help.

Approximately 2 of every 1000 babies born in the EU will be diagnosed with a form of Cerebral Palsy before the age of 8. This makes it one of the most widespread causes of childhood disability. Our experienced medical negligence team understands the worry, anger, and sadness that occur following this diagnosis. This adjustment is often an emotional rollercoaster for parents and the financial burden that follows can be overwhelming. It is even more difficult for families to deal with if it could have been avoidable. If your child has Cerebral Palsy as a result of medical malpractice we understand the impact that this diagnosis has on your life and it is our priority to get you the compensation you deserve. 

Our specialised solicitors will talk through your options with kindness and compassion to assist you in determining whether or not you have a Cerebral Palsy claim. If you believe you have been affected by Cerebral Palsy due to medical malpractice, please contact us for a free consultation. We have helped many families to pursue Cerebral Palsy claims and we are here to help you too.


What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral Palsy is a group of non-progressive neurological disorders caused by an injury to the part of the brain that controls posture and muscle movement. Onset can occur while a baby is still in the womb, during delivery, or during the first two years of life. Parents of children with Cerebral Palsy tend to notice that their children do not progress at the same pace as their peers and won’t roll over, crawl, or walk until much later - if at all.

Although the condition is always serious, the severity of symptoms can vary. Hallmark symptoms include:

  • impaired movements
    limb spasticity
    lack of muscle coordination and balance/”clumsiness”
    involuntary movements
    difficulty maintaining posture
    learning disabilities
    gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD)
    vision and hearing difficulties 

There are 4 types of Cerebral Palsy: 

  • Spastic Cerebral Palsy: This is the most common type of cerebral palsy affecting about 80% of those diagnosed. Muscle tone is higher in people with Spastic Cerebral Palsy. This means their muscles are tight and their movements can be difficult as a result. The life expectancy of the child is often shortened due to significant cognitive difficulties and learning challenges.
  • Athetoid Cerebral Palsy: Only about 10% of patients with Cerebral Palsy have the Athetoid variation, which is far less common than Spastic Cerebral Palsy. This is caused by damage to the cerebellum, which affects balance and coordination, and the basal ganglia, which impairs voluntary motor function. Muscles can be rigid or floppy, and newborns with this condition often have feeding difficulties.
  • Ataxic Cerebral Palsy: Ataxic is the third kind of Cerebral Palsy and is probably the least common. It also occurs when the cerebellum is damaged, causing problems with coordination and balance. Symptoms are more subtle overall but still have a significant impact on quality of life. Children diagnosed with this form of the condition can have issues with balance, unsteady limbs, and issues with speech.
  • Mixed Type Cerebral Palsy: The last category of Cerebral Palsy is the Mixed Type. It occurs when multiple areas of the brain are damaged, resulting in a range of symptoms. Just one limb, one side of the body, or all four limbs might be affected by Mixed Cerebral Palsy.

The lifelong impact of these disabilities makes Cerebral Palsy malpractice claims some of the largest in this field due to the costs of future care for the child. There is no current cure for Cerebral Palsy. However, quality of life can be improved with the assistance of specialised treatment and equipment, therapy, and sometimes surgery. 

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What medical mistakes cause cerebral palsy?

It is important to note that not all cases of Cerebral Palsy are due to medical malpractice. However, medical professionals have a responsibility to identify babies that are at a higher risk of developing cerebral palsy and carefully monitor these pregnancies and deliveries. In some cases, Cerebral Palsy is unavoidable due to congenital malformation of the brain. This can happen as a result of infections, the age of the mother (-20, 40+), premature delivery, or another factor that interferes with brain development. 

Medical negligence can occur when these risks are not properly monitored. For example, mature mothers should be offered antenatal checks on a more frequent basis to ensure normal development of the baby.

In instances where cerebral palsy is a result of medical negligence, there are a number of actions that can lead to this devastating consequence for parents. These include:

  • Inadequate prenatal care and failure to provide appropriate interventions during labor and delivery, e.g. delay in performing a necessity casearean section.
    Failure to respond to variations in the baby's heart rate and deal appropriately with an irregular CGT trace. CGT is a monitor that measures a baby's heart rate and gives an indication of his or her health.
    Failure to detect, treat, or respond to a high blood pressure or infection in the mother.
    When Oxytocin/Syncline is misused to speed or induce labor.
    Trauma or injury caused by forceps/vacuum use during delivery.
    Injuries caused by poor resuscitation of the baby or placental abruption.
    Leaving the baby in the delivery canal for too long, resulting in a lack of oxygen. This is medically referred to as Intrapartum Asphyxia.

Can an injury cause Cerebral Palsy?

During a traumatic birth, doctors are sometimes forced to use certain methods to ensure safe delivery of the child. This often involves the use of forceps of vacuum suction to help the child move through the birth canal and avoid distress or fetal asphyxia. However the Catch-22 in this instance is that improper use of these methods, such applying excessive pressure to the brain, can cause severe complication such as brain damage, skull fractures, and Cerebral Palsy.

Can I bring a claim for Cerebral Palsy caused by medical negligence?

In order to file a claim for medical negligence, you must prove that:

  • Your child’s cerebral palsy was caused by poor medical care that fell below acceptable medical standards.
    The actions or inactions of healthcare providers caused cerebral palsy.

A test developed by the Supreme Court and the National Maternity Hospital has outlined the requirements that must be met to indicate that medical professionals failed to provide an acceptable standard of care to the mother and child. You will be entitled to compensation if you can provide expert evidence to satisfy the court that there has been a breach of care by your medical team that resulted in this diagnosis. 

We will collect evidence including medical records and expert medical opinion to prove your case. If you would like to discuss whether you may be entitled to compensation, speak with our specialist Cerebral Palsy medical negligence solicitors for an expert assessment of your claim. You can be assured that your case will be handled with care and empathy from the moment you first contact us and we will provide you with honest feedback on the merits of your claim.