What if a doctor at a D.C. hospital caused my child's cerebral palsy?

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Cerebral palsy can be caused by medical mistakes.

Unfortunately, cerebral palsy can be caused by medical mistakes made by the doctors and hospital staff at the hospital where you delivered your baby.  We've seen cases of malpractice at every hospital in D.C., even if the hospital has a good reputation, there are common medical mistakes we see that cause cerebral palsy:

  1. System errors - these are hospital wide failures in a system for how patients are diagnosed or treated, in other words, how things are done at the hospital.  System failures happen when they do not focus on patient safety.  In one case, a hospital had an overhead paging system for emergencies (we've all heard these in the hospital) but one of the team leaders for emergency responses couldn't hear the overhead intercom in his office because the speaker was down the hall, too far away to hear.  he didn't hear an overhead page and never got to a patient in time to help her. Another D.C. hospital did not have a system for making sure all of a patient's radiology studies (MRI, CT, x-ray) were read by a radiologist before the patient was discharged.  When an abnormal finding was discovered, the patient was already discharged without treatment, and no one told him about the diagnosis.
  2. Lack of experience - some D.C. hospitals are staffed with residents, interns and medical students.  Attending physicians rely on these less experienced medical professionals to be the "eyes and ears" and tell the attending doctor all of the important information about mother and baby.  But in practice, a medical student doesn't always know what's important - is it a lab value, blood pressure reading, elevated temperature - that is important? Many times, they don't know what to tell the more experienced doctors or when to act quickly when they need to.  Unfortunately, medical mistakes often get repeated in the medical chart.  A diagnosis made without all of the information gets repeated again and again and is never questioned. So other causes of symptoms and problems are never ruled out.
  3. Not consulting medical specialists - Medicine is specialized.  But sometimes doctors are hesitant to call in a specialist if a patient needs it.  Someone with a high risk pregnancy because she is a bit older, has high blood pressure or is at risk for delivering her baby prematurely, may need to see a maternal-fetal medicine specialist instead of an obstetrician. A newborn may need a neonatologist instead of a pediatrician.  Hospitals, especially in the D.C. area, are set up with many medical specialists available and on-call.  Not calling in a specialist can have severe consequences for a patient.

If you're worried your child's cerebral palsy was caused by a doctor in D.C.

Take action to get the very best for your child.  He or she may need special care, attention, and therapy - much of which Medicaid or health insurance doesn't cover. 

We can help.  We investigate the cause of your child's cerebral palsy.  If it was caused by medical mistakes, we can help you and your family get the resources your child needs to help him or her get the very best care and therapy available.

Frank R. Kearney, Attorney-at-Law
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Experienced DC Workers' Comp, Long Term Disability & Accident Lawyer