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A new study, presented in February 2014 at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual Pregnancy Meeting, shows that a variant in SERPINE1, a gene that plays a significant role in blood clotting and inflammation, is likely associated with cerebral palsy and death in early preterm babies.

Premature births have been linked to a number of serious health conditions, but the recent study points specifically to the risk of cerebral palsy in significantly preterm babies. This is the second study that has found a gene variant to be associated with higher cerebral palsy risks. Cerebral palsy often develops shortly before or during childbirth, when an infant does not receive adequate oxygen to his or her brain. One of the study's authors stated publicly that since preterm birth is known to be the leading cause of childhood brain injury, this study may help open the gateway to the genetic identification of babies at an increased risk.

While many preterm births cannot be prevented, many physicians have been held accountable for infant cerebral palsy based on several factors, including the following:

  • Failure to respond to changes in the fetus's vitals during labor
  • Failure to order specific tests during pregnancy
  • Refusal to perform a Caesarean section when the fetus is clearly in distress
  • Excessive use of vacuum extraction

Results from the collaborative study, conducted by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver NICHD Maternal-Fetal Medicine Units and Neonatal Research Networks, may also help to place greater emphasis on the importance of early genetic testing in identifying increased infant cerebral palsy risk.

If you believe medical negligence contributed to your child's cerebral palsy or other birth injury, seek legal guidance from a professional who can investigate the issue and help you explore your options. If you choose to file a lawsuit alleging malpractice in Chicago or elsewhere in Illinois, your attorney provides valuable knowledge, advice and emotional support. Contact Jeffrey M. Goldberg Law Offices today.

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