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Cerebral Palsy: A Possible Result of Doctor’s Negligence

Caring for an unborn child can be a very challenging task for an Obstetrician, also called an OB/Gyn, especially if the mother has vices, like drinking and/or smoking, or taking special medication for a serious illness. Women, of course, know that whatever enters their bodily system, whether it be food or medication, may serve as either nutrient or poison to the baby inside their womb. This is why doctors would require all the necessary information they can get from pregnant and expecting women, so that they would be able to provide correct and timely treatment, as well as the right medication, which will keep both mother and child healthy and safe until the baby’s birth.

Medical malpractice is one dreaded factor that can ultimately alter the life of the unborn and the family to whom he/she belongs. Negligence through erroneous and improper treatment by an OB/Gyn during the mother’s pregnancy period or carelessness by all those involved during the baby’s delivery, such as giving the mother a wrong dosage of anesthesia or applying too much pressure to the child’s head (when forceps are used), can lead to serious harm, like cerebral palsy.

Cerebral palsy is one kind of birth defect that affects thousands of newly born babies in the US every year. This illness is a form of brain injury or an abnormality in a baby’s brain development that will affect his/her motor function or impair his/her muscle coordination which, in turn, will make walking, playing, running, eating and even talking difficult for him/her.

Before the 80s, doctors believed that CP was due to brain damage caused by the possible deprivation of oxygen to the baby’s brain during labor or birth. This mistake was corrected after studies showed that the possibility of damage to an unborn’s brain was higher during the first six months of pregnancy than during labor or delivery. The possible factors that could damage or affect the brain development, which the study showed, were: an abnormality in the brain’s development process; bleeding inside the brain, which is a condition called Intracranial hemorrhage; or Periventricular Leukomalacia (PVL), a lack of oxygen to the brain that causes severe damage to the brain cells. PVL usually occurs when the mother gives premature birth, use of illegal drugs or suffers from infection and very low blood pressure.

Every mother will definitely want to give birth to a healthy baby. But besides knowing how to take proper care of herself and her unborn child, having a really good doctor who will have genuine care for her and her child is equally important. No mother, for example, would want to have the same experience of one 46-year old woman whose periods had stopped. She was diagnosed as simply going through menopause, a possibility for a woman her age; though, it could also have been something else, like pregnancy, for instance. Had she not insisted on a pregnancy test, nobody, not even her doctor, would have found out that she was already five months on the way. She decided to change doctors –saving her child from possible harmful treatment that she did not actually need.

It is a sad fact, but medical malpractice is real. And mothers, whose child may be suffering from cerebral palsy, may think it better to consult legal opinion regarding the condition of their child. If proofs show that their child’s CP is due to their doctor’s negligent acts, then the law encourages them to pursue justice and allows them to file a claims lawsuit for the damages their child and family have been, and will be, subjected to.

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