Cerebral Palsy is a group of disorders characterized by loss of movement and/or loss of other nerve functions. These disorders are caused by injuries to the brain that occur during fetal development or near or at the time of birth.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
The incidence of cerebral palsy is approximately 2 to 4 individuals for every 1000 births. Cerebral palsy results from injury to the cerebrum (the largest portion of the brain, involved with higher mental faculties, sensations, and voluntary muscle activities).
Cerebral palsy is sometimes related to birth asphyxia and trauma. The cause of hypoxia (low oxygen) to the damaged areas of the brain has not been adequately made clear, but it is believed that there are predisposing factors occurring during the development of the fetus that makes it more susceptible to hypoxia. Premature infants have a slightly higher incidence of cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy may also occur during early infancy as a result of cerebral injury caused by illnesses (encephalitis, meningitis, herpes simplex infections, and so on), as well as head injury during birth can result in subdural hematoma, blood vessel injuries, and others injuries.
Fetal distress resulting in Cerebral palsy due to negligence
Here are the facts of an actual lawsuit involving Fetal Distress and Cerebral Palsy which settled for $1.4 million, plus $40,000 in costs in March 1997.
The birth mother had an uneventful pregnancy, and was scheduled to deliver on July 30. On Aug. 8, she had a biophysical profile performed on her unborn child at 2 p.m., the profile showed no fetal motion, breathing, tone or amniotic fluid.
Her physician instructed her to drive to the hospital. She arrived at 4:30 p.m. Despite calls to his office and pager, her physician arrived at the hospital late at 7:30 p.m. An emergency Caesarean section was performed at 8:20 p.m.
Nearly 18 hours after birth, the baby had seizures and was brought to the Children's Hospital. Testing revealed evidence of damage to the brain and the baby was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and spastic quadre paresis.
The case, which settled for $1.4 million presumably argued that the delay in the doctor's response & the emergency delivery resulted in trauma to the infant resulting in the cerebral palsy and other injuries.
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