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Cerebral Palsy Malpractice - Preterm Birth Injuries

LAWYER HELPLINE: ☎ 855 804 7145

The goal of every pregnancy is to have the mother go to term with a healthy infant. Unfortunately, about 12.8 percent of births or more than a million per year in the US are considered preterm. A preterm birth is any birth occurring before 37 weeks gestation. The rate of preterm birth has increased approximately 35 percent since 1980.

Serious Problem

Preterm birth is a very serious health issue in Canada and the US. Preterm infants are at a greater risk of preterm birth injuries resulting in cognitive delay and cerebral palsy. Fetal death rates are higher in preterm births, most due to infection and intracerebral hemorrhage. Lasting disabilities are more common in preterm birth, particularly behavioural problems, mental retardation, learning disabilities, lung problems, hearing and vision loss and cerebral palsy. As adults who were preterm, there is evidence that they are at higher risk of getting high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease.

Late Preterm

Fortunately, more than seventy percent of preterm infants are born between 34 and 36 weeks. These are considered to be late preterm births. Cesarean sections done at the wrong time or done because of a health condition in the mother are believed to be the most common cause of preterm birth and subsequent preterm birth complications.

Early Preterm

Almost 12 percent of preterm infants are born between 32 and 33 weeks gestation; about ten percent are born between 28 and 31 weeks gestation; only about 6 percent of all preterm births occur before twenty eight weeks gestation. The earlier the preterm birth, the higher is the rate of complications such as breathing trouble and cerebral palsy. Advances in neonatology have improved the way these newborns are handled so fewer are developing complications and more simply grow to term and are discharged to home without major complications.

Spontaneous Labor

Most preterm births are caused by preterm labor that happens spontaneously with or without rupture of membranes. Rupture of membranes can trigger preterm labor if it happens before 37 weeks gestation. Such preterm labor may be due to a subtle maternal infection involving the amniotic fluid. Such an infant born this way needs antibiotics so they don't get infected themselves.

Early Delivery

One concern is the increase in women asking to be delivered early or doctors who misinterpret the maternal dates and do a cesarean section too soon, resulting in an unnecessary preterm birth. A mother should wait until she is at least 39 weeks gestation to request a cesarean section or induction of labor. If spontaneous labor happens after 37 weeks, however, it is safe to continue the labor with an added concern that respiratory problems or cerebral palsy can be an issue even if the child is born at 37 weeks spontaneously.

Intracerebral Hemorrhage

Preterm birth injuries include having an intracerebral hemorrhage. This is bleeding into the ventricles of the brain, which are the fluid-filled chambers deep inside the brain. A hemorrhage can occur spontaneously or as a result of the trauma of birth. Intracerebral hemorrhage can easily lead to brain damage and cerebral palsy, especially because motor brain cells line the ventricles of the brain.

Skull Fracture

Skull fracture can occur in a preterm infant who suffers a vaginal birth. This can lead to bleeding complications or it can heal on its own without complication. The skull of the infant who is preterm is very malleable so it tends not to fracture unless the trauma is severe. This is partly why most preterm babies are delivered by cesarean section rather than vaginal delivery, even when preterm labor is the cause of the preterm birth. A baby born by cesarean section is more comfortably born and suffers from less birth injury.

Cerebral Palsy Medical Malpractice Lawyers

Most cases of cerebral palsy occur naturally as a birth injury and do not involve medical malpractice however a small percentage of these cases are most definitely caused by negligence on the part of healthcare professionals. If you have any reason whatsoever to suspect that your childs condition has been caused by a clinical error amounting to medical malpractice on the part of any healthcare professional, be it a doctor, midwife, nurse or technician please contact us without delay. There are time limits on claims against medical staff, hospitals and clinics and delay can preclude an award of compensation. Our medical malpractice lawyers offer a free consultation without obligation to establish whether or not you have a viable case to claim compensation for your childs injuries. Please contact us without delay by completion of the contact form or you can email our offices and a specialist medical malpractice lawyer will call you.

LAWYER HELPLINE: ☎ 855 804 7145