No parent in the Chicago area wants to see their child suffer from cerebral palsy. In the most serious cases of this condition, it can leave a child unable to walk or function; the child will need constant medical care and attention throughout his or her life.
Even in relatively minor cases, cerebral palsy will leave child experiencing difficulties with walking and will likely not be able to enjoy life and common childhood activities as would children who do not have this condition.
In many cases, this condition is hard to prevent, and even the most diligent of medical care will not be able to stop a child from developing the condition. However, there are many risk factors associated with cerebral palsy that doctors can and should guard against.
For instance, a difficult labor and delivery is a risk factor for a child's development cerebral palsy. The thought is that there are certain things which can go wrong at the time of childbirth that later contribute to the condition, possibly because the child's developing brain did not get enough oxygen at the critical time.
While a doctor cannot guarantee a perfect labor and delivery free of complications, they can and should prevent these sorts of issues from turning in to full-blown emergencies that can leave a child permanently disabled with cerebral palsy.
For instance, they can monitor mothers and their soon-to-be born babies carefully during the final hours before birth and, if there are problems, they can take quick action to get the child out of the womb so that they can get oxygen and proper medical care.
When doctors do not take these important but simple steps, parents can be faced having to pay for and support a disabled child who otherwise was perfectly healthy. These parents, and their children, have the right under Illinois law to hold their doctors financially accountable for such serious mistakes.