Cerebral Palsy & Birth Injury Claims

Cerebral Palsy is essentially a disorder of motor function caused by an acquired defect or injury to the developing brain. This disorder usually exhibits itself as abnormal muscle tone, contraction and strength. Sometimes the injury to motor function is combined with cognitive disability if the insult goes on long enough and/or is particularly severe.

It is possible for the developing brain to be injured by different insults at different times and it is worth noting that only a small number of children found to have Cerebral Palsy will have this disability as a result of the negligent management of their mother’s pregnancy, delivery or indeed the neonatal care given to the baby.

Cerebral Palsy and other forms of neurological deficits often result from hypoxia, which is effectively starvation of oxygen/oxygenated blood, causing damage to the brain and consequently physical and sometimes intellectual disabilities.

Over the past 2 decades there has been an increasing body of scientific research which strongly suggests that hypoxia is not an all or nothing event. In other words there can be a spectrum of disability and it is often the case that more modest hypoxic insults might cause more subtle forms of neurological deficits such as learning and or behavioural difficulties without any overt signs of motor problems or cerebral palsy.

Whilst Cerebral Palsy may occur without negligence, it is certainly true also to say that in many instances a mother’s pregnancy, labour and delivery or the baby’s immediate postnatal care can be handled poorly by Obstetric and Midwifery staff or Paediatricians. In those circumstances, the injury to the baby’s brain could often have been avoided completely, or at least very significantly reduced, had competent medical treatment been given.

There are various common complications which may arise during pregnancy, labour or in the neonatal period which may not be properly or competently dealt with by the doctors involved. Our Solicitors who specialise in the area of Cerebral Palsy and Birth Injuries deal with these issues regularly and successfully achieve compensation for the injured child.

Examples of such common complications include failure of medical personnel to deal competently with an abnormal CTG trace (which shows the baby’s heart rate and the mother’s contractions); misuse of Oxytocin/ Syntocinon used to induce or accelerate labour; problems caused to the baby following attempted instrumental delivery (by forceps or vacuum); injuries to the baby due to problems which might arise in the antenatal period such as pre-eclampsia; injuries to the baby due to uterine rupture or placental abruption (which are not competently managed) and undiagnosed/untreated hypoglycemia in the newborn baby; incompetently performed resuscitation of a sick new born baby and/or incompetently managed ventilation of a sick neonate.

Michael Boylan has spent more than 30 years fighting birth injury cases on behalf of children and their families and has successfully brought to Trial and/or settled in excess of 70 birth injury claims over the 3 decades. If you consider that your labour, the delivery of your child or the antenatal or post natal care was not properly handled and your child has Cerebral Palsy, you may have a valid claim for compensation for your child’s injuries and for the care they will need in the future.

Recent cases of note