Can Cerebral Palsy Be the Doctor’s Fault?

Cerebral palsy (CP) can happen anytime a baby is deprived of oxygen, which can lead to brain damage. A certain amount of trauma to the baby is normal during birth, and some problems during delivery are unavoidable. However, preventable mistakes can be caused by a doctor or other medical personnel under certain circumstances.

The cause of cerebral palsy is not always known, but all too often it is associated with birth injuries that never should have happened. Brain damage that can cause CP in newborns can be a result of:

  • Premature birth
  • Multiple births
  • Brain bleeds
  • Long labor and delivery
  • Birth defects
  • Low birth weight
  • Infections

Are you not sure if your baby’s cerebral palsy was caused by a mistake or not? Keep reading to learn more about the mistakes that can damage a newborn’s brain.

6 Types of Medical Malpractice Injuries That Can Cause CP

The following scenarios are some of the most common ways birth injuries can lead to cerebral palsy, though they definitely aren’t the only ways this can happen.

Failure to Properly Read a Fetal Monitor

Some doctors may downplay the readings on a fetal monitor. In some cases, doctors and nurses may be so overworked that they can’t think straight or even fall asleep, and this can also cause them to miss something on a monitor’s reading.

Failure to Detect or Treat Infections

Some cases of CP are caused by infections to the baby or mother that the doctor should have diagnosed. When a doctor fails to identify a condition that can lead to infection, it can cause brain damage in the infant.

Failure to Detect a Prolapsed Umbilical Cord

When a baby’s cord is prolapsed the fetus’s oxygen supply can be cut off. Failure to read or act upon the readouts of fetal monitoring can cause doctors or nurses to miss this condition.

Improper Use of Forceps and Vacuum Extractors

During some difficult births, forceps or vacuum extraction may be used to guide your baby through the birth canal. Occasionally a doctor will use too much force during this process, damaging a newborn’s fragile brain.

Mismanaged Second Stage Labor

The second stage of labor begins once you have dilated to 10 cm, and it ends when your baby is born. There is a lot that can go wrong during this stage, especially if your doctor improperly medicates you. If labor goes on too long, it increases the risk of complications.

Failure to Order a Cesarean

Sometimes there is no other option for a safe delivery other than to order a c-section. This can happen if the baby is too big to fit through the mother’s pelvis, labor is lasting too long, or the baby’s heart rate is dropping. When a doctor should have ordered a cesarean but fails to, the result could be CP.

What to Do If Your Baby Was Injured

If your baby was injured during labor and delivery, the first thing you should consider doing is getting an evaluation from a child neurologist. They will perform tests to rule out other conditions and confirm cerebral palsy. They can also recommend early intervention services that can improve your child’s life and increase their mobility and independence.

According to Tennessee Cerebral Palsy Lawyer, having a child with a cerebral palsy diagnosis can take a heavy toll on families. You will absolutely end up with medical and therapy bills, and you may even need to make expensive renovations to your home and car, depending on your child’s level of impairment.


If you are considering filing a lawsuit or you want more information, most personal injury lawyers that specialize in birth injury cases offer free case reviews. At worst, a lawyer may tell you that you don’t have a viable case. However, the best-case scenario is that the costs associated with your child’s future care may be covered.






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