Medical Negligence – Cerebral Palsy

What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral Palsy is a general term used to describe a disorder where abnormal development of the brain or damage to the developing brain adversely affects a child’s ability to control his or her muscles and which results in significant physical disabilities.

There are many different types of cerebral palsy which primarily are the result of the particular areas of the brain that have been damaged or have developed abnormally and there is no cure for this condition.

How can Cerebral Palsy be caused?

Cerebral Palsy can be caused as a result of a baby being starved of oxygen during the birthing process. This causes damage to specific areas of the brain and generally results in substantial physical and/or intellectual disabilities.

However, research indicates that less than 20% of cerebral palsy cases are the result of mismanagement of the birth process which results in hypoxic (lack of oxygen) brain damage.

Cerebral palsy can often be acquired prior to labour commencing such as from congenital brain malformations, infections experienced during pregnancy, medical conditions of the mother (for example, thyroid disorders) and placental disorders which can restrict or disrupt oxygen supply prior to the onset of labour.

There are also a relatively smaller number of cerebral palsy cases which are caused by brain damage occurring after birth which is usually associated with an infection (such as meningitis or encephalitis), from blood clotting problems (sickle cell disease) or from a stroke.

Investigations

Considerable expertise is required to properly investigate and to pursue a medical negligence claim which has resulted in the diagnosis of a newly born child with cerebral palsy.

The complete antenatal history, the events during the labour and birth and in early neonatal period are required to be fully investigated in order to identify any failures in the care and management afforded to mother and unborn child and to rule out pre-labour causes of the baby’s injuries.

Babies affected by cerebral palsy will require extra help and assistance, usually for the rest of their lives. A successful cerebral palsy claim should generally provide sufficient funding to ensure that your child receives all necessary future treatment, care, rehabilitation and aids and equipment in order to interact as fully as possible with their environment and to achieve their full developmental potential.

Legal Expertise

Ivor Fitzpatrick & Company have successfully brought to trial and settled cerebral palsy claims involving catastrophic injuries where full time 24-hour care and assistance has been funded for the remainder of the injured child’s life. David Harris leads our expert team of solicitors who can offer advice on such claims.

We have the necessary expertise, knowledge and resources to fully investigate the antenatal, intrapartum (during labour) care and the delivery of your child in order to identify whether birth was mismanaged and whether his/her cerebral palsy is attributable to avoidable failures of care.

We are also very experienced in undertaking the extensive “quantum” investigations which are necessary to fully assess and quantify the damages that are required to fully compensate your child for his/her injuries and to ensure that all his/her future needs are met.