How to prove that your child's cerebral palsy is not a genetic abnormality

In cases involving brain damage arising from a negligent delivery at birth (brain damage that is often referred to as hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy or "HIE"), the common defense is that genetic abnormalities caused the child's brain damage.  Ruling out genetic abnormalities will help you prove that genetics had no role in causing your child's cerebral palsy or brain damage.

There are two types of tests for genetic abnormalities: (1) a metabolic screen; and (2) a chromosome screen. 

Metabolic screening is typically performed as part of the analysis of the baby's blood shortly after birth and is present on lab reports showing the results of the blood studies.  The metabolic screen checks for enzyme deficiencies that can cause seizure disorders, neurological disorders, mental retardation and delay your child's developmental growth.  A newborn with a metabolic disease does not present with low Apgar scores and low pH levels in his/her blood.  Every state has a different metabolic screening test.  You should check the metabolic screening blood tests that are part of the initial newborn screening and if the results are normal, you can rule out a metabolic disease as the cause of your baby's brain damage.

The second type of genetic testing is chromosomal testing and there are two types of chromosomal testing: (1) Kerotype; and (2) Fish.  The chromosomal tests can show that your baby had extra or missing chromosomal material, which can result in developmental delays.  Typically, chromosomal testing is not performed unless a specific request is made by the newborn's pediatrician.

Newborns with genetic abnormalities are usually born stillborn or die within the first year of life.  When children are born with genetic abnormalities, they typically have an abnormal physical appearance, referred to as dysmorphic features.  The physical features of a newborn may suggest a genetic abnormality, and normal physical features often suggest that there are no genetic abnormalities.

A child can have both a chromosome abnormality and birth asphyxia and if that is the case, the defense will try to blame the genetic abnormality as the cause of the child's physical and mental problems.  In your child's case, you can disprove the defense argument that your child suffers from genetic abnormalities (unrelated to a traumatic birth) by performing simple metabolic and chromosomal screening.  This may be crucial to winning your case.