Cerebral Palsy Medical Malpractice

Cerebral Palsy is a dangerous medical condition that occurs when oxygen cannot reach an infant’s brain during delivery.  the birth injury can range from mild to severe and will be affected for the rest of their lives. Specifically, Cerebral Palsy is a neurological disorder that effects body movement and muscle coordination. There are three main types of Cerebral Palsy: Spastic, Athetoid/Dyskinetic, and Ataxic, each impact different parts of the brain and body:

• Spastic: This is the majority type. Spastic cerebral palsy is caused by a lesion in the brain that permanently damages the nerves, leading to neuromuscular mobility impairment. This affects every area of the body and leads to jerky, erratic movements, and difficulty relaxing muscles.

• Athetoid/Dyskinetic: Results in damage to the areas of the brain that control reflexes, coordination and involuntary movements. Also, it can cause muscles to become too tense or too loose. Symptoms include difficulty walking and sitting or standing upright.

• Ataxic: Damage to the cerebellum, leading to difficulty to muscle movements, balance, and coordination.

Unfortunately, some cases are caused by medical mistakes; early delivery or trauma during the birth process. It is possible for both causes to result from medical malpractice.

The most common medical mistakes that can lead to Cerebral Palsy are:

• Failure to respond to the mother’s changing conditions, such as high blood pressure or toxemia.
• Not responding to changes in the fetal heart rate.
• Failure to detect a prolapsed umbilical cord which may cut off oxygen to the baby’s brain.
• Leaving a baby in the birth canal too long, which can cause a lack of oxygen to the brain.
• Excessive use of vacuum extraction.
• Improper use of forceps.
• Failure to recognize/treat seizures immediately following delivery.
• Failure to perform a cesarean section in the presence of fetal distress.
• Failure to plan a C-section for an overlarge or sick baby.
• Failure to timely diagnose and treat certain medical conditions (i.e. jaundice or meningitis).

However, not all mistakes during birth can give the right to file a medical malpractice claim. Instead, prove that the medical professional failed to provide the required standard of care for your child. Determining whether that error rose to the level of medical negligence often requires the opinions of medical experts.

If you can prove that a doctor was negligent, you can hold that doctor liable for:

• Medical expenses for your child’s condition (past and future).
• Lost opportunities due to cerebral palsy.
• Lost enjoyment of life.
• Pain and emotional trauma.

Vihn Tran was born prematurely but was healthy at birth and discharged within 48 hours. When he was 2 weeks old, an ultrasound showed a urologic condition called hydronephrosis, a mild swelling of the kidneys and had to undergo a renal scan. In March 2006, the Tran went to a Royal Oak, Michigan hospital for the renal scan for an IV line. Hospital personnel had difficulty establishing the IV line because Tran’s condition changed dramatically. He suffered a lack of oxygen and blood to his brain, resulting in cerebral palsy.

Hospital personnel did no immediate call for a code blue. The personnel neglected to check a pulse and provide chest compressions. A lawsuit was filed in 2016 on behalf of Tran.

On September 26, 2018, an Oakland County jury awarded the family more than $130 million in damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit filed against the hospital. The jury award came after a three-week civil trial and is believed to be the one of the largest jury settlements in Michigan.


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