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.