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When should a cerebral palsy claim be investigated?

For many children and adults throughout the UK, there is no link between their cerebral palsy and the circumstances surrounding their birth. However, for others, cerebral palsy may have been avoidable had they not suffered a catastrophic injury as a result of clinical negligence.

Hypoxic Ischaemic Encephalopathy (HIE) is one of the most common injuries that causes cerebral palsy in children.

HIE occurs when the brain is starved of oxygen, it can occur suddenly or over the course of a few hours or even a few days.

When discussing a case of HIE with a solicitor you should consider questions such as:

Was the baby breathing at birth? Was intubation needed? Did the baby suffer fitting? If so, for how long and how close to the birth itself did the fitting occur?

These questions can help determine when the hypoxia occurred.

In order for a claim to be successful, typically it will need to be proven that the damaging period of hypoxia should have been avoided and whether inadequate care was administered at the point of birth as well as the period prior to birth.

At any point during the birthing process, the baby can be compromised, and any such signs should be investigated during the evidence gathering stage of the claim.

There are several signs of a baby becoming compromised and being at risk of hypoxia.

An abnormal heart rate

Monitoring a CTG correctly during the birthing process is vital to the child’s safety. Failure by the doctors, midwife or other hospital staff to correctly interpret the CTG
can cause serious complications, and put the baby at major risk of hypoxia.

This is one of the more common reasonings behind a serious injury claim for cerebral palsy being made.

Reduced movement

A lack of movement from the child after birth can be a sign that he or she has been deprived of oxygen. This should be investigated by doctors once the post-natal care of the child begins immediately after birth.

Scenarios where a child may be at risk

There are circumstances that may cause hypoxia during childbirth that can be unforeseen by both the midwife and doctor, however, in many instances, there are scenarios that are easier to identify.

One such scenario is a protracted labour. The extended period of labour can be a cause for concern, and can often lead to a caesarean section being administered. This is especially the case in situations when protracted labour occurs during an unassisted delivery.

Issues can also arise when a labour is induced, as well as when there is an inadequate response to a medical emergency involving a pregnant mother.

In many situations where HIE occurs, parents are left in a confused and vulnerable state as tests carried out on the baby at birth may not be accessible without obtaining the child’s medical records.

Should this occur it’s vital you have the correct legal advice.

If you or a loved one’s child has suffered HIE or has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy and you believe it has happened as a result of clinical negligence, get in touch today.

Our serious injury team have a wealth of experience in the brain injury field and are part of the nationally renowned Thorneycroft Solicitors Personal Injury team.

We understand that suffering a catastrophic brain injury can have devastating consequences and can potentially change the life of the victim and their family forever.

Whilst rehabilitation and securing quality care should be the priority, the second priority should be securing a solicitor who can help you claim the compensation you deserve.

Our specialist brain injury solicitors have in-depth knowledge of the long-term effects of HIE and other brain injuries.

We work with medical teams at the earliest opportunity to ensure your claim progresses as quickly as possible and you achieve the correct level of compensation for your injury.

For further information or if you would like to discuss a potential catastrophic injury claim, please call us on 0800 1979 345 or complete our online enquiry form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.