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Cerebral Palsy Birth Injury Topic of Illinois Malpractice Suit

medical malpractice statisticsAccording to allegations raised in a cerebral palsy lawsuit, the claimants’ newborn child suffered severe hypoxic ischemia, hemorrhages and hydrocephalus leading to CP because of the defendants’ failure to recognize signs of fetal distress during delivery. The plaintiffs are demanding general and special damages plus compensation for loss of wages and earning capacity in excess of $50,000. The medical negligence claim was brought on December 6, 2013 in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois.

The University of Illinois Medical Center – a division of the University of Illinois Health & Science System – is listed as defendant in the complaint, which argues attending physicians, nurses and health care professionals who cared for the mother plaintiff during her childbirth should be held liable for the minor child’s cerebral palsy birth injury.

Child born with severe brain damage, HIE

The Illinois family alleges that the defendants failed to properly assess and manage the plaintiff’s high risk pregnancy, and that had doctors expedited the minor plaintiff’s delivery via Cesarean section, the child’s brain damage and permanent injuries could have been avoided.

The defendants are charged with the following acts and omissions:

  • Failing to warn the mother of associated risks of a prolonged labor, fetal distress and oxygen deprivation
  • Failing to perform a timely C-section to avoid injury to the fetus
  • Failing to recognize and take appropriate steps to manage a non-reassuring fetal heart rate observed during labor
  • Failing to advise the mother plaintiff about the increased risk of hypoxia and brain damage to the baby and allowing her to opt for a C-section delivery
  • Allowing inexperienced personnel to assist in the complicated delivery, which contributed to the child’s cerebral palsy birth injury

The lawsuit further claims that as a direct and proximate result of the defendant’s professional negligence, the minor child has incurred great pain, suffering and disability and will in the future continue to suffer permanent neurological impairment and emotional trauma, requiring ongoing medical care. The child’s hypoxic brain injury necessitated a prolonged hospital stay at the University of Illinois Medical Center, where the minor will need continued treatment for the foreseeable future. The mother states that she has spent considerable sums of money on hospital and rehabilitative expenses for the child, and will continue to incur pecuniary loss due to the severity of the minor’s birth injuries.

Cerebral palsy birth injury caused by oxygen deprivation

Three causes of action are leveled in the case, including negligence-medical malpractice, negligent infliction of emotional distress and family expenses act, which covers future medical costs associated with the child’s injuries. As there is no cure for cerebral palsy, treatment only addresses symptoms, which can range from seizures and motor impairment to serious neurological and cognitive delays.

National statistics show that cerebral palsy affects roughly one to three out of every 1,000 children born, yet these odds increase dramatically in difficult or prolonged deliveries where the fetus is deprived of oxygen. Signs of fetal distress, including rapid or irregular heart rate, must be addressed swiftly to reduce chances of a neurological damage to the child.