There are several potential causes of cerebral palsy, which in itself is not one specific condition but a term used to describe cases of poor motor function caused by a brain abnormality that does not improve.

One cause of cerebral palsy is an injury sustained during the birth of a child. In some circumstances such an injury may give rise to a clinical negligence claim, such as when the labour has been poorly handled by hospital staff.

Poor birth management can include:

  • Delay in inducing labour when necessary
  • Failing to detect abnormalities on scans prior to birth
  • Failing to act appropriately when the umbilical cord becomes wrapped around the baby's neck
  • Failing to deliver by caesarean section where necessary
  • Failure to notice signs of foetal distress
  • Failing to appropriately manage a birth where the child is in breech position
  • Mismanagement of the use of drugs such as Syntocinon
  • Using excessive force when delivering a child with forceps
  • Use of wrong incubator settings

The effects of cerebral palsy can be catastrophic. The nature of such a brain injury may mean that your child will need help with most aspects of daily life. In such cases, if negligence is proven, compensation awards can reach in excess of £8 - £9 million.

Public Funding (Legal Aid) is usually available to fund cases of this kind but you will need to discuss your case with a solicitor who holds a contract with the Legal Aid Agency, which enables them to apply for Legal Aid.

Geldards have a strong track record in handling birth injury claims and cerebral palsy cases and have a contract with the Legal Services Commission. If you would like to discuss your case further please contact a member of our specialist medical negligence team for a free initial consultation.


RELEVANT BIRTH INJURY & CEREBRAL PALSY CASES

CLAIMANT v SURREY & SUSSEX HEALTHCARE NHS TRUST

The claimant born in 2009 sustained an acute, profound hypoxic insult prior to delivery.

Due to negligent treatment he suffers with a severe form of cerebral palsy, epilepsy, has no speech, but relatively preserved cognitive function.

The Trust admitted liability early on.

A capitalised lump sum of £2.5 million, together with periodical payments of £93,000 per annum rising to £245,000 pa


CLAIMANT v SURREY AND SUSSEX HEALTHCARE NHS TRUST

Secondary psychiatric injury claim arising out of childbirth in which her son was negligently delivered by caesarean section and suffers Cerebral Palsy as a consequence. Breach has been admitted in the respect of the infant’s claim and interim damages exceeding £2.2 million have been paid, for the benefit of the child to provide a home for him and his family, suitably adapted to accommodate his severe disability..

Damages for the Mother’s psychiatric injury have settled at £25,000.


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