Oxygen deprivation during the birthing process can result in serious injury to the child or death. Children who do not receive enough oxygen during the birthing process may be born with a hypoxic brain injury. A child born with a hypoxic brain injury can develop cerebral palsy – a disorder that affects movement and posture. The functional effect of cerebral palsy can be one or more of the following: impaired movement, involuntary movement, rigidness of limbs, abnormal posture, or unsteadiness in walking. Children who suffer from cerebral palsy often also suffer from abnormalities in brain development including, but not limited to, intellectual disability or seizures. Therefore it is essential that the physicians and medical staff assisting in childbirth diligently watch for signs of oxygen deprivation in order to prevent a hypoxic brain injury that can develop into cerebral palsy.
Cerebral palsy as a result of a hypoxic brain injury during the birthing process is not uncommon. Just last month, the Madison St. Clair Record reported that another Illinois birth injury lawsuit was filed in St. Clair County. The family of the victim alleged that negligence by physicians during the birthing process resulted in a brain injury at Protestant Memorial Hospital in Belleville. According to the complaint, the physician’s failure to do an immediate cesarean delivery or perform inutero resuscitation resulted in a hypoxic brain injury. The hypoxic brain injury caused the development of cerebral palsy in their daughter. The child now suffers with the injury every day. She must cope with a learning disability and physical disfigurement. Her parents also face steep medical costs. In their three-count complaint, they seek more than $150,000 plus costs.
In 2003, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released an article stating that the average lifetime cost for one person with cerebral palsy is estimated to be $921,000 (in 2003 dollars) more than the average healthy person. However, $921,000 is merely a baseline number because the study did not take into account many other expenses such as hospital outpatient and emergency room visits, residential care, and out-of-pocket expenses.
Our Chicago birth injury attorneys at Levin and Perconti are disheartened but not surprised with this incident. Negligent cerebral palsy birth injuries should and can be prevented so that the next generation can enjoy life to the fullest. Parents whose children have been affected by a negligent birth injury should not have to shoulder the financial burden on their own and should immediately contact professionals for legal help.
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$9.5 Million Settlement Reached in Cerebral Palsy Case