What Causes Cerebral Palsy ?
Some of the well known causes of cerebral palsy include birth asphyxia, oxygen deprivation and fetal distress. Cerebral palsy is not caused by any single circumstance and is usually a result of a group of disorders with similar roots involving problems with coordination, control and movement. Cerebral palsy is usually a result of injury during fetal development or during birth. Most cases of cerebral palsy are not detected for several months after birth and the specific cause of cerebral palsy (CP) is extremely hard to determine without a careful and detailed look in the medical records and history of the mother and child and even then a more defined diagnosis may not be detemined until age one for some children.
Some of the major causes of cerebral palsy include:
- Oxygen deprivation to before or during birth
- Physical injuries during or following birth
- Loss of oxygen to the infant during birth - birth asphyxia
- Rh Disease- blood type incompatibility between mother and infant
- Lack of growth factors during intra-uterine development
- Premature birth
- Untreated or mistreated jaundice leading to kernicterus and athetoid cerebral palsy
- Bacterial infection of the mother, fetus or infant affecting the central nervous system
- Inability of placenta to provide the fetus with sufficient oxygen and nutrients
Fetal Distress During Birth - Birth Asphyxia
Severe oxygen shortage in the brain or trauma to the head during labor and delivery is a well established cause of cerebral palsy. In most circumstances, an infant's blood is able to compensate for occasional short periods of time of low levels of oxygen, and asphyxia (lack of oxygen caused by interruption in breathing or poor oxygen supply) which can happen during the labor and delivery. If however the birth asphyxia last for an expended period of time, then the baby may develop severe brain damage called hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy which can lead to severe brain damage and cerebral palsy. During labor, a fetal heart rate monitoring machine and fetal scalp pH sampling are routinely used to detect fetal distress, birth asphyxia, to prevent loss levels of oxygen and preventing brain damage and cerebral palsy.
During labor, the OB/GYN, the OB nurses and other medical experts can review the fetal heart monitoring strips and the fetal heart monitor itself, to determine if the baby is in distress and whether to order an emergency cesarean section or whether to allow the vaginal delivery to progress. In determining the cause of cerebral palsy in some infants,an OB/GYN may be found negligent in failing to properly monitor the fetal heart monitor strips and other available test results and recommending a timely C-Section. If you believe that your infant was in fetal distress and the doctors or nurses failed to recognize the fetal distress and respond accordingly, then this found to be medical negligence and a cause of your child's cerebral palsy.
Cerebral Palsy Due to Birthing Injury or Trauma
Sometimes cerebral palsy is the result of a birth injury that causes the infant to be traumatized or deprived of oxygen (asphyxia). Other causes or conditions contributing to cerebral palsy trauma or asphyxia, including:
- Difficult forceps delivery
- Difficult vacuum extraction delivery
- Long time period or extended labor
- Shoulder dystocia - baby's shoulder width is too broad to fit into vaginal canal
- Low amniotic fluid
- Twisted or compressed umbilical cord
- Macrosomia or a baby that is "large for gestational age"
- Placental abruption - placenta abruptus
Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit - Talk with Lawyer
If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy and you believe that your child’s cerebral palsy may have been caused by a medical mistake, fetal distress, birth asphyxia or a birthing injury or trauma, then call us for a Free & Confidential Consultation. Talk to a Board Certified Personal Injury Trial Lawyer at 1-800-883-9858 or click here for Free CP Case Review