Written by Jeff Meyer on 27 Sep 2015
The 23-year-old swimmer Felix Bennett won three gold medals in Nottingham, UK during the Cerebral Palsy World Games. The second-in-command of Warringah Amateur Swimming Assocation, Ms. Lois Clarke, noted that Bennett, like many others, has persevered and succeeded in spite of his cerebral palsy.
An Overview of Cerebral Palsy
A condition primarily affecting muscle development and growth, cerebral palsy is a result of decreased oxygen levels within the bloodstream either during or shortly after delivery of an infant. Dangerously low oxygen levels within the bloodstream result in an insufficient amount of oxygen delivered to the brain; this in turn causes complications with the growth and development of the brain itself, and it affects the communication between the nervous system and the rest of the body.
Common symptoms that present themselves during the first 0-12 months of an infant’s life include:
- Difficulty nursing, caused by excessive weakness in muscles used to contract for sucking and swallowing motions
- Infantile spasms
- Ongoing, piercing cries
- Intensely listless positioning or extremely rigid and tense positioning
During childhood, cerebral palsy characterizes itself through further underdevelopment of the affected muscles. In some individuals, all four limbs are severely affected; in others, the severity of the cerebral palsy may simply cause slight atrophy of the muscles. Additional complications associated with the disorder include injuries related to recurring seizures and spasms, as well as accidents caused by weak and atrophied muscles. Individuals with cerebral palsy may also experience increased sensitivity to tactile sensations due to the miscommunication between the nervous system and the rest of the body. For many, this touch hypersensitivity may result in serious complications with oral health as maintaining good dental hygiene may prove to be extremely painful for those with tactile hypersensitivity.
What Are the Causes of Cerebral Palsy?
The main cause of cerebral palsy is neglect of a physician to satisfactorily execute the duties in their role as a caretaker. Cerebral palsy is a direct result of an inadequate amount of oxygen sent to the brain, which is caused when a doctor fails to perform his obligation as a healthcare provider adequately. This type of physician-induced disorder, commonly referred to as an iatrogenic disorder, is solid ground for an iatrogenic malpractice lawsuit.
How Do I Know If A Specific Case of Cerebral Palsy Is Physician-Induced?
As stated earlier, most cerebral palsy disorders are caused by the oversight and negligence of a physician. For further confirmation to confirm suspicions that you or a loved one is suffering from cerebral palsy as a result of medical malpractice, consider if any of the following apply to the birth of the individual afflicted with cerebral palsy:
- The mother’s water broke and hospital staff remained ignorant of the occurrence, ultimately causing fetal distress and a lacking supply of oxygen to fetus
- The hospital staff remained ignorant of fetal distress, even with the aid of a heartbeat monitor designated solely to the fetus clearly signaling fetal distress occurring
- Inappropriate assistive devices were used during delivery, ultimately damaging the infant’s brain in the process
- Hospital staff failed to recognize fetal distress after both artificially-induced delivery failed and a caesarean section failed
- Physician failed to recognize the need to switch from natural birth to caesarean section in an adequate amount of time, ultimately causing fetal distress and lack of oxygen supply to fetus
- Failure on physician’s part to identify umbilical cord wrapped around fetus’ neck, ultimately cutting off oxygen supply
- Failure on physician’s part to provide adequate prenatal healthcare, especially in the case of high-risk pregnancies
If you’re concerned that you or a loved one has cerebral palsy as a result of medical malpractice, you may have a right to compensation in the form of an iatrogenic malpractice suit against the physician responsible.