Cerebral Palsy & Medical Malpractice
Cerebral Palsy and Medical Malpractice

Cerebral Palsy and Medical Malpractice

Rachel Olszewski
Rachel Olszewski

The medical staff at the Mayo Clinic define “Cerebral palsy” (CP) as a general term for a group of disorders that appear during the first few weeks, months, or years of life and affect a child’s ability to coordinate body movements. Cerebral palsy can cause muscles to be weak and floppy, or rigid and stiff.

In the United States, CP occurs in about two to four out of every 1,000 births. Approximately 20% of all CP cases result from brain damage, including lack of oxygen, that occurs during the birth process. CP can occur as the result of medical malpractice, which means you may be entitled to receive legal compensation for your child’s injuries.

However, just because a baby is born with cerebral palsy, it doesn’t always mean that medical mistakes have been made. There are times when doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals act with the greatest care while attending to mother and baby, and there are still negative outcomes.


To know whether or not medical negligence played a role in your child’s development of cerebral palsy, look for the following:

  • Failure to identify and treat infections in the mother during her pregnancy
  • Failure to monitor the fetal heart rate appropriately during labor and childbirth
  • Failure to schedule and perform a C-section surgery when the baby cannot be properly delivered
  • Delaying a C-section surgery that is needed due to emergency
  • Failing to identify a prolapsed umbilical cord or a cord wrapped around the baby’s neck.
  • Other mistakes by the doctor or nurses, such as using forceps unnecessarily or a vacuum during delivery.

Families may have grounds for pursuing a medical malpractice claim against doctors and medical staff. However, proving medical malpractice occurred is very difficult, and something you should discuss with an experienced attorney. Some of the elements that need to be established to prove medical malpractice include:

  • The doctor did not provide care that fit within accepted medical standards
  • The failure to provide care that fit within accepted medical standards caused your child’s injuries

Contact Us

If you believe your child’s CP diagnosis is a result of medical malpractice during delivery, contact us today. These types of cases are complicated, and we have helped secure maximum recoveries for victims and their families. You can reach Attorney Melissa Scartelli at 570-346-2600.


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Rachel Olszewski
Rachel Olszewski

Rachel D. Olszewski, an attorney at Scartelli Olszewski, P.C., is a dedicated advocate for clients who have suffered unjust harm. Following the legacy of her esteemed family members, Rachel specializes in personal injury, medical malpractice, and criminal defense. She is actively involved in professional associations and serves on the board of the Luzerne County Bar Association Charitable Foundation. Rachel is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania state courts and the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.
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