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Cerebral palsy currently affects around one in 400 children in the UK. The usual cause of cerebral palsy is an injury to the brain during or after birth.
Therefore, if you think this injury could be the result of medical negligence, you may be able to make a medical negligence claim.
What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy describes a physical impairment that can affect a person’s voluntary movement and coordination. In some cases, it’s also linked to learning difficulties and problems with hearing and sight.
Symptoms can vary, and individuals can have symptoms specific to them. One person may have mild symptoms, while another will have severe brain damage.
Premature birth is the most common cause of cerebral palsy. This applies to approximately 40% of children with cerebral palsy.
When a child is born with cerebral palsy, they may have suffered brain damage while developing in the womb or during birth. The principal causes of this brain damage, which can lead to cerebral palsy, are:
- Lack of oxygen, or
- An infection.
During development in the womb, if the baby is starved of oxygen, ultimately this may result in cerebral palsy. Or, if the baby suffers some form of trauma during birth, this too may lead to brain damage that causes cerebral palsy.
What Can Make Cerebral Palsy Medically Negligent?
If you think the cause of your child’s cerebral palsy is medical negligence, then you may be able to claim compensation for this.
This is likely to be because your child’s condition is the result of substandard pre or postnatal care.
In medical negligence cases like this, the healthcare professional looking after you during pregnancy will have a duty of care towards you, as a patient. If they break this duty of care by not providing care to a reasonable standard, and you suffer injury or loss as a result, then you could have grounds for a claim.
What Must You Do First?
It’s important to get a formal diagnosis of your child’s cerebral palsy. Even if your child has lived with this condition for years, it will be on official medical records.
It can be a difficult condition to diagnose in babies, and it may be that you won’t get a formal diagnosis until your baby is 12 months old, even if the symptoms are present earlier than this.
However, this doesn’t prevent you from making a medical negligence claim, if you believe your child’s cerebral palsy is the result of a negligent birth or negligent medical treatment.
This can also apply if you suffer the condition yourself.
Claiming medical negligence for cerebral palsy can be complex and time-consuming, and it’s important that you seek professional legal support and guidance from the start.