Can a Labor and Delivery Error Cause Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy is the most common motor-related childhood diagnosis in the United States. In many cases, labor and delivery errors and medical malpractice causes a child to be diagnosed with cerebral palsy. When doctors or nurses fail to use a reasonable standard of care during labor and delivery, they can cause a devastating brain injury that results in a cerebral palsy diagnosis. When the negligence of doctors causes cerebral palsy, the parents of the affected child can hold them financially accountable for their actions through a birth injury lawsuit.

North Carolina Birth Injury Lawsuits

When a physician and a patient enter into a physician-patient relationship for the provision of medical services, a duty arises requiring the physician to conform to the statutory standard of care. When a pregnant woman consults a physician and the physician agrees to provide treatment, a duty of care is imposed upon the physician to both the woman and baby.

North Carolina recognizes birth injury lawsuits as a type of personal injury lawsuit. When a doctor or medical professional fails to meet a reasonable standard of care during labor and delivery, the injured person can hold the negligent doctor financially accountable through a personal injury lawsuit.

The injured party will need to prove that they had a physician-patient relationship with the negligent doctor. He or she will also need to prove that the doctor failed to meet the reasonable standard of care and that this negligence caused the brain injury that resulted in cerebral palsy. Finally, the injured child will need to show the damages that have resulted from cerebral palsy.

Doctors, Nurses, and Midwives Have a Duty to Recognize Fetal Distress

Lack of oxygen can cause a fetus or newborn to suffer a brain injury that can cause cerebral palsy. Health care providers who care for women during labor and delivery owe the mother and child reasonable and professional medical care. They have a duty to recognize the signs and symptoms of fetal distress and react to the dangerous situation appropriately. When a doctor, nurse, or midwife fails to recognize the standards of fetal distress, their negligence can cause an irreversible injury. Failing to respond to the signs of fetal distress is a breach of a medical provider’s duty and places them at risk of facing a medical malpractice claim.

Common Causes of Labor and Delivery Injuries

The following are some of the most common contributors to birth trauma:

  • Failure to monitor a fetal heartbeat
  • Failure to do a C-section when it was necessary
  • Failure to do a C-section in time to prevent brain damage or brachial plexus injury
  • Injury due to a lack of oxygen or forceps that can lead to cerebral palsy
  • A lack of anticipation and treatment of Rh incompatibility
Reading and Interpreting Fetal Heart Monitor Strips

It is common practice to use an internal fetal heart rate monitor to assist in identifying fetal brain injuries caused by oxygen deficiencies. During a difficult, or complicated labor, a fetal heart rate monitor can help put doctors on notice that the fetus is in distress. When a doctor fails to use an internal fetal heart rate monitor when the monitor is necessary, the fetus could become cut off from the oxygen supply and suffer serious brain damage.

At Arnold & Smith, PLLC, our medical malpractice attorneys who handle birth injury claims, know how to interpret fetal heart strips as well as the medical records from a child’s labor and delivery. We will investigate whether or not your doctor, nurse, or midwife correctly monitored your child’s heart rate and interpreted any changes in your condition as the pregnant mother.

Investigating Birth Injuries Cause Cerebral Palsy

We will also analyze whether or not a healthcare provider missed an important symptom or change on the fetal heart rate monitor. In some cases, doctors do not adequately communicate with the nurses in the room, causing time delays and mistakes that result in fetal distress and brain injuries to the baby. In other cases, nurses do not properly follow the chain of command in the labor and delivery room, causing dangerous mistakes or time delays.

We are familiar with the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) guidelines that govern complicated labor and deliveries. These guidelines also set forth the time limits within which doctors and hospitals should begin a Caesarian section due to possible fetal distress. In many cases, doctors will excuse their negligence by blaming a complicated birth on a child’s cerebral palsy diagnosis. Our assertive lawyers know how to thoroughly investigate labor and deliveries in order to get to the truth of the matter. We are experienced in determining whether your child’s cerebral palsy was the result of a doctor, nurse, or midwife’s negligence or it was unavoidable.

Contact Our Experienced Labor and Delivery Lawyers

If negligence in your labor and delivery caused your child’s birth injury, you might be entitled to compensation. Contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today to schedule your initial consultation. Call our office at (704) 370-2828 to evaluate your options or fill out our contact form to schedule your initial consultation. Now taking cases throughout North Carolina with offices in Uptown Charlotte, Mooresville, and Monroe.

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