The negligence of a doctor, nurse, or any other hospital worker can cause a child’s quadriparesis. The debilitating condition can occur as a result of a birth injury that harms the nervous system. Improper monitoring of the mother or baby and incorrect use of tools during delivery are some of the negligent actions of health care providers that can cause a child to suffer birth injuries. The providers can be held accountable for birth injuries.
What is Quadriparesis?
Quadriparesis, also known as tetraparesis, is a condition in which the afflicted person experiences permanent or temporary weakness in all the limbs. It occurs when the nerves that send signals from the brain to the muscles in a person’s limbs are disturbed. Its symptoms include:
- Limp muscles
- Unusual tightness or stiffness of muscles
- Inability to walk
- Lack of motor control
- Bladder control issues
Common causes of the condition include:
- Neuromuscular disease
- Toxins or poisons
- Injury to the spine
How Does Medical Negligence Cause Quadriparesis?
Many instances of quadriparesis in children could have been prevented if the hospital staff involved in the delivery process displayed the required foresight and competence. The common medical errors that lead to quadriparesis include:
Improper Monitoring of Distress
Doctors may fail to recognize signs of fetal distress. Failure to carry out the correct medical response to distress may cause an infant to develop quadriparesis.
For example, the heart rate pattern on the fetal heart monitor may show signs of distress in the fetus. That may call for the baby to be delivered by an emergency Caesarean section or forceps delivery. If the obstetrician allows normal vaginal birth to proceed, the baby may be born neurologically impaired and be ultimately diagnosed with spastic quadriparesis.
Medical professionals have the responsibility of monitoring patients closely. If failure to properly monitor a baby and take the appropriate actions leads to injury or death, the professional involved has been negligent.
Failure to Detect and Treat Maternal Infections
A child’s quadriparesis can be attributed to his or her mother’s infections, such as meningitis and group B strep infection. When the infections exist in the birth canal, children can catch them when being born as they pass through the canal.
Physicians have a duty to observe mothers adequately to rule out or treat any health condition, including infections, over the term of a pregnancy. If the treating physician fails to closely monitor a mother for infections known to harm a baby during pregnancy or fails to diagnose and treat an infection soon and effectively to protect a baby, that might qualify as medical negligence.
Injury to the Spine During Delivery
Quadriparesis can occur after a health care provider causes an injury that damages a child’s spinal cord. Incorrect use of birth-assisting tools like forceps and vacuum extraction tools can cause spinal injuries. Administering wrong medication and mishandling of infants can also lead to spinal injuries.
Other instances of medical negligence that could cause quadriparesis include the failure to diagnose and treat umbilical cord prolapse and the failure or delay in planning and performing a C-section.
Does Medical Negligence Warrant Legal Action?
A person suffering from a neurological disorder like quadriparesis may require as much as $800,000 more over his or her lifetime than the average healthy individual. People with quadriparesis often need ongoing medical assistance as well as a considerable amount of special care and therapy.
Physical therapy is usually employed whenever possible to alleviate the muscle atrophy that the condition causes. Wheelchairs, scooters, canes, and other assistive devices may be needed to help a person who has quadriparesis move. Additional measures may be required to mitigate other impaired physical functions, such as impaired emptying of food from the stomach.
With all the services required to help children with quadriparesis lead a more comfortable life, it comes as no surprise that families usually find it hard to cover the costs of the services. People who develop quadriparesis because of errors made by medical professionals may be entitled to receive compensation by filing a lawsuit. That may be the best way for families to cover the damages suffered and adequately provide for children with quadriparesis. Some of the damages pursued in such cases are medications, medical bills, mental and physical stress, caretaker expenses, diminished quality of life, and lost earning potential.
Medical negligence lawyers usually advise parents not to procrastinate once they establish they may have a claim. Collecting the necessary evidence to hold the health care providers accountable for their negligence and build a strong case takes some time. Additionally, a time limit exists for filing a lawsuit. In Illinois, birth injury lawsuits must be filed not more than eight years since the child was injured. If a child was disabled because of the birth injury, the limit extends until he or she turns 22.