Cerebral Palsy Claims
Cerebral Palsy is a long-lasting disorder that affects muscle tone movement, and motor skills. Motor skills are the ability to move in a coordinated and purposeful way. It is one of the most common congenital (existing before birth) disorders of childhood. It can also lead to other health issues such as speech, vision and hearing problems. These can extend to learning disabilities in children. There is no cure for cerebral palsy. However, treatment, therapy, special equipment and in some cases, surgery can help children who are living with the condition.
Cerebral Palsy claims can be quite complex and be emotionally difficult for the parents. This is why it is important that you speak with a cerebral palsy solicitor as soon as you can. They will help you determine if you have a medical negligence case.
In legal terms, there are two types of cerebral palsy cases. There are caused by negligence on the part of the health professional and non-negligent cases.
It is worth mentioning that not all cases are due to the negligent management of a mother’s pregnancy, delivery or indeed the neonatal care given to the baby by health professionals. In fact, it is rare for problems/complications during a mothers labour and delivery to cause Cerebral Palsy.
In cases where negligence is not the cause, cerebral palsy is caused by congenital malformation of the brain. This occurs when the foetus is growing inside the womb leading to the child being born. There is a birth defect as opposed to developing this disorder as a result of negligence on the part of the medical professional. Many cases are as a result of problems during pregnancy when a foetus’ brain is either damaged or does not develop normally. This can be due to infections, maternal health problems, a genetic disorder or something else that interferes with normal brain development.
In some cases, Cerebral Palsy is caused by medical negligence on the part of the doctor, nurse or midwife. There are a number of different mistakes, actions, misjudgments that can be made by the health professional during a mother’s pregnancy, labour and delivery or the baby’s immediate post-natal that can cause cerebral palsy, these can include:
- Failure of medical personnel to deal competently with an abnormal CGT trace and respond to changes in the baby’s heart rate. CGT is a monitor that tracks the baby’s heart rate and provides an indication of the well-being of the baby.
- Failure to recognise/treat/respond to a mother’s high blood pressure or toxaemia (toxaemia – blood poisoning from a bacterial infection)
- Misuse of Oxytocin/Syncline used to induce or accelerate labour.
- Injuries cause during delivery by forceps/vacuum
- Injuries caused to the baby due to placental abruption or even incompetently performed resuscitation of a sick newborn.
- Leaving the baby in the birth canal for too long, leading to a lack of oxygen. This is known as intrapartum asphyxia.
- Failure to perform caesarean section where necessary
Common types of Cerebral Palsy
This is the most common form. It affects the body’s ability to relax muscles causing rigidity meaning that control or movement will, therefore, be poor. Often a child will have severe learning difficulties and a reduced life expectancy.
This form has more subtle symptoms often associated with problems with balance, speech and perhaps shaky hand movements.
Making A Claim
Making cerebral palsy claims as a result of medical negligence * differ from other personal injury claims * in that is not assessed by the Injuries Board. This means that the claim must be made through the courts. To do this you will need to speak with a cerebral palsy solicitor to make sure you take the right steps forward.
The time in which you bring a claim forward is an important factor to take into consideration. A person has two years following the date of the injury or two years following the date of knowledge of the injury to make a claim.
For birth-related injuries to a child caused by medical negligence, the date of the injury will be deemed to be the child’s date of birth. In cases where the injured party is a child, the two-year time limit for making a claim doesn’t begin until the child turns 18 years of age. In the meantime, a parent can make a claim on the child’s behalf if they wish to do so.
The first step in assessing if you can move forward with a claim is to contact a medical negligence solicitor. In order for the solicitor to establish a medical negligence case the following steps will need to be taken:
- All medical records will need to be obtained
- A medical examination and subsequent report with an expert in the field will need to be organised. This is to prove your medical negligence claim *. It will also show that the medical practice you were treated by fell short of acceptable standards
TELL US ABOUT YOUR CASE
Once these steps have been taken, you will work together with your cerebral palsy solicitor to take the claim further. Tracey Solicitors has a dedicated medical negligence solicitors team that can take you through the process. For a confidential discussion phone Caoimhe McConnell on 00353 1 649 9900 or email email@example.com and tell her about your case.