35%. In a certain context, 35% may not seem like a lot. After all, that’s just over a third, or slightly more than one out of every three. It’s even significantly below half. An interesting, but relatively small subset of the whole, you may say.
But what if we told you that research has shown up to 35% of children diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy were diagnosed with CP because of a lack of oxygen experienced by the baby during labor and delivery that may have been completely preventable. Suddenly, 35% now appears to be much larger in number, with results impacting thousands of innocent children. We’re no longer dealing with mere numbers or percentages, but real life consequences for many of our children.
The sad reality is that while Cerebral Palsy is not preventable in every instance, there are a sizable number of children that have been needlessly harmed by simple, though avoidable, medical errors committed by distracted or negligent medical personnel. While a myriad of factors can result in Cerebral Palsy, the core reality is that it can be a birth related injury in a significant number of instances. As Cerebral Palsy can be caused during pregnancy, delivery or in the post-birth care, there is an expansive amount of records and information that must be reviewed to understand ‘why this child?’ How was the child’s Cerebral Palsy caused?
Some of the more frequent explanations include: a failure to take into account birth history on the part of the medical team; prescribing anti-depressants to the mother; delays in performing or ordering a C-section; difficulty using certain equipment like forceps or vacuum extraction devices during the delivery; or improper care once the child was in a NICU or showed signs of asphyxia (lack of oxygen) or other birth related trauma. These are all items that can contribute to a child living with Cerebral Palsy for the rest of their life. These are parts of that 35%. They are also, oftentimes, completely preventable.
While a recent study made news worldwide for finding a relationship between Cerebral Palsy and genetics, this association was already widely known. No true statements or research of value have ever attempted to claim CP was solely caused in a bubble of incompetence or improper behavior by specialists. However, public awareness has swung so heavily the opposite direction that it’s necessary to highlight that medical professionals can and sometimes do have a role in causing a child to live with Cerebral Palsy for the rest of their lives. Simply put, it’s not true, and we must never accept that every child with Cerebral Palsy was just “born this way.”
So what can be done? Put simply, ask questions. If your child has been diagnosed, or you are concerned your child may be at risk for Cerebral Palsy, due to a family history, difficult pregnancies or warning signs of any difficulties encountered during labor, delivery or as a newborn, speak to your doctor or medical professional immediately to find out the preventative measures are being taken. If you do have a baby or young child with Cerebral Palsy, seek out more information. Request your birth records. Compare notes with anyone else who may have been in the delivery room on the timeline of the delivery, or was aware of the care in the nursery or the NICU.
What’s more, consider a Medical Legal Review. Managed by a team of medical-legal professionals who have worked with birth injuries for decades, Medical Legal Reviews allow us to take a confidential look at your child’s birth records and determine if more could or should have been done. If that is the case, your family can pursue Lifetime Benefits on behalf of your child that can pay for decades of care to come and to help ensure your child is always able to have effective care which enables them to achieve their full potential.
If you have questions about your child’s Cerebral Palsy and if it was preventable, please contact us at your earliest convenience, either through calling us (800-462-5772), filling out our web-based contact form, or by reaching out via Facebook.