Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy is an umbrella term used to describe damage to the developing brain, the majority of which occurs during pregnancy, labour, delivery and neonatal period.
Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy vary greatly. Generally speaking, Cerebral Palsy affects movement and coordination. It is characterised by involuntary jerking movements, a poor sense of balance, spastic muscles and speech impairment. It can affect just one or more limbs, or can affect the entirety of the body. Some people report additional difficulties with speech, vision, behaviour and learning. One in every two people affected experiences chronic pain.

Do I have grounds for a medical negligence case?

Often, Cerebral Palsy does not occur due to negligence- it can arise due to a congenital malformation of the brain, for example.
However, in some cases, medical negligence on the part of the Obstetrician, Midwives and/or Paediatricians can result in injury to the baby’s brain which could have been avoided completely, or significantly reduced, had the baby and its mother received the standard of care expected of professionals of equal status and skill, faced with the same set of circumstances, at the same time.
The following are some scenarios where negligent care can result in brain injury:

  • Failure to monitor foetal development during pregnancy
  • Undiagnosed intrauterine growth restriction
  • Failure to diagnose reduced liquor
  • Failure to carry out, or properly interpret, a CTG trace
  • Failure to recognise signs of an abnormal CTG trace
  • Failure to recognise, or respond to, signs of foetal distress during delivery
  • Failure to appropriately progress, or accelerate, labour
  • Delay in delivering the baby
  • Failure to induce or accelerate labour
  • Misuse of Oxytocin or Syntocinon
  • Failure to perform a caesarean section where appropriate
  • Failure to recognise signs of asphyxia
  • Allowing a situation whereby the baby remains in the birth canal for too long and suffers injury due to deprivation of oxygen
  • Failure to diagnose and treat maternal infections such as Group B Strep infection
  • Failure to diagnose and/or treat toxaemia
  • Failure to diagnose and treat conditions such as pre-eclampsia
  • Failure to diagnose and/or treat hypertension during pregnancy
  • Failure to treat premature rupture of the membranes appropriately
  • Poor management of an umbilical cord prolapse resulting in deprivation of oxygen for the baby
  • Injuries caused by forceps or vacuum during delivery
  • Poor management of placental abruption/uterine rupture resulting in injury to the baby
  • Failure to acknowledge, or respond appropriately to meconium stained liquor
  • Failure to diagnose and/or appropriately treat baby’s meningitis
  • Failure to monitor the baby’s blood glucose levels
  • Failure to diagnose baby’s hypoglycaemia
  • Negligence/Mismanagement during resuscitation or intubation of the baby resulting in injury
  • Negligence/mismanagement of baby’s care during ventilation
  • Failure to monitor, and where necessary respond to,  bilirubin levels
  • Failure to diagnose or treat jaundice in a timely manner, or at all
  • Allowing hypocarbia to develop during ventilation due to negligence
  • Failure to diagnose and treat hydrocephalus- a neurological disorder caused by an abnormal buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in the ventricles of the brain.
  • Delay in treatment of hydrocephalus

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What does a claim for compensation cover?

Each claim will be different. Generally speaking, a claim for compensation consists of two heads of damages: General damages and Special Damages. The terms General Damages refers to compensation for past and future pain and suffering. The term special damages refers to all other ‘out of pocket’ expenses a plaintiff is caused to incur as a direct result of their injury- examples might include accommodation costs, therapy costs, care costs, medical expenses and other medical treatment fees.

If your child has been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and you have concerns regarding the circumstances of their birth, contact Brigid to discuss your concerns.

Get In Touch

If your child has been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and you have concerns regarding the circumstances of their birth, contact Brigid O’Donnell Solicitors to discuss your concerns. Brigid is a native of Cashel, Tipperary and is happy to arrange a consultation, either remotely, or in person at a time and place to convenient to you.

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