Is your doctor responsible for your baby’s cerebral palsy?

On Behalf of | Feb 7, 2022 | Medical Malpractice |

Cerebral palsy is a serious birth injury that occurs when the oxygen supply to your baby’s brain becomes temporarily disrupted. There are a few different ways birth injuries can occur, but what if you suspect your doctor’s actions are responsible for your child’s injury?

The Mayo Clinic defines CP as a brain injury that permanently affects an individual. The word “palsy” refers to the incapacity or paralysis of various parts of a person’s body. While some causes of CP may be out of your control, there are others you can watch out for.


While a doctor’s negligence is not always the cause of CP, many cases are, in fact, attributable to medical malpractice. Examples of these types of cases include the following:

  • Failure to properly diagnose and treat a maternal infection during pregnancy, such as rubella, cytomegalovirus or toxoplasmosis
  • Improper use of obstetrical forceps or vacuum extractors during a difficult delivery
  • Failure to timely perform a C-Section when serious labor complications arise

The other main cause of CP is premature birth, which may or may not be the doctor’s fault. Studies reveal that babies born prematurely are 30 times more likely to suffer from CP than full-term babies.

Four types

Cerebral palsy affects individuals differently depending on the injury. The health care community recognizes the following four types of CP:

  1. Spastic, resulting in debilitating muscle stiffness resulting in great difficulty moving or even paralysis; the three subtypes of spastic CP include diplegia, affecting the legs and lower body; hemiplegia, affecting either the right or left side of the body; and quadriplegia, affecting all four limbs, as well as the face.
  2. Dyskinetic, which includes sudden involuntary movements as muscles switch back and forth between overly stiff and overly loose.
  3. Ataxic that leads to a significant lack of coordination and balance.
  4. Mixed, consisting of two or more of the above types.

Under Pennsylvania law, parents who believe their child’s CP may be attributable to the negligence of a medical professional have two years to initiate a claim before the statute of limitations runs out.