Does your child have cerebral palsy as a result of a birth injury during pregnancy or delivery? Jim McEldrew is a Past President of the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association and has been handling cases of medical malpractice for over thirty years.
If you suspect medical malpractice was the cause of your child’s cerebral palsy, contact our attorneys in Philadelphia for a free legal review of the medical file from your pregnancy. We will consult with our medical experts about the facts of your case and represent you if a lawsuit is warranted against the treating doctor, obstetrician or hospital. We will represent individuals in cases of medical negligence in Pennsylvania and South Jersey.
Was Medical Malpractice the Cause of My Child’s Cerebral Palsy?
Medical malpractice by an ob/gyn before or during delivery is not the only cause of this birth injury. A child may have cerebral palsy through no fault of the obstretician, nurses and and the rest of the medical team. The mother, for example, may have developed an infection that results in brain damage to the baby while in the womb.
In other cases, cerebral palsy is the result of a mistake by the obstetrician or treating doctor. If the head injury or lack of oxygen that causes the brain injury may have been prevented by a doctor’s performance of the medical standard of care, then a medical malpractice attorney should be contacted to determine whether a lawsuit should be brought. A review of the medical file may determine that the injury was caused by the failure to detect or treat an infection during pregnancy, the failure to perform a C-section when the baby is too large or otherwise in fetal distress, or the negligent use of medical instruments, such as a vacuum or forceps, during delivery.
If you suspect malpractice, call 1-800-590-4116. Our medical malpractice lawyers will review the medical file from your pregnancy to determine whether the injury may have resulted from a mistake by the doctor or hospital.
What Will a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Accomplish?
Cover the Costs of Medical Treatment
Many families file a medical malpractice lawsuit because there is no other way to afford the high costs of care for individuals with a brain injury. The costs of raising a child with CP can be extraordinary. On average, cerebral palsy adds roughly $1 million in costs to the raising and medical care of an individual. When combined with the potential for lost wages and the high toll of pain & suffering, the birth injury can be quite costly on a family.
About Cerebral Palsy
The name Cerebral Palsy is one that you hear quite a bit in the medical community as well as in many other circles though you might be unsure as to what it is. Let’s discuss in depth what cerebral palsy entails and how it affects those who are suffering from it.
What is Cerebral Palsy?
CP is the term for a group of disorders that impair muscle coordination. It is a permanent condition that develops during pregnancy or shortly after the birth of the child. Every year, 8,000 to 10,000 children are diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Many individuals with the condition are able to lead a normal life span. As a result, there are roughly 750,000 people in the United States living with CP.
Unlike many other diseases or afflictions, Cerebral palsy is not limited to a single disability or illness, it is in fact a group of permanent disorders, each one bringing a different detrimental effect to the table. Some of the common issues attributed to it include:
- Inhibition of Movement
- Posture Issues
- Activity Limitation
Also, bear in mind that cerebral palsy affects the ability to think, learn, and communicate with 58% of those affected reporting issues with communication. In addition to that 42% suffer from vision related issues while around 40% exhibit some type of learning disability.
What are the Symptoms?
In the previous section, we did mention some of the symptoms, encompassing everything from communication, to epilepsy, and even vision related issues. Other symptoms however manifest themselves in a more physical form, for example, abnormal muscle tone, lack of motor development, lack of coordination, and contractures. You will also notice spams and other involuntary movements including facial gestures in the affected individual. There are a wide range of different issues that can affect the individual and they must all be taken into account when making a diagnosis. More important, however, is the cause of cerebral palsy.
What is the Cause of Cerebral Palsy?
There are several different causes of cerebral palsy with the condition normally being discernable shortly after childbirth. The following are some of the suspected causes:
Preterm Birth – It is estimated that 50% of children who develop cerebral palsy in their life were born prematurely with most cases thought to be the result of issues stemming from the actual birth. Multiple birth infants are also likely to develop CP, and one of the indicators is a lower birth weight.
Genetics – This is not a major factor, but about 2% of CP cases are inherent and in most cases, both parents must be carriers, otherwise it’s not likely that the child will suffer from it.
Childhood – Finally we come to the cause that most people are concerned with – the potential for contracting cerebral palsy during early childhood. Exposure to certain toxins can trigger the disorder (lead poisoning), and it could also be brought on by jaundice, brain injury(physical), near drowning, meningitis, and several others. Some these are preventable, some are not, it all depends on the situation, but if you find that your child is in a position where they have been affected by these factors, and if it was preventable, you have a case that needs to go forward immediately.
Treatment of Cerebral Palsy
There is no cure for cerebral palsy as the brain injury can not be healed. However, medical treatment allows many individuals with CP to improve their quality of life and reduce the complications from their injury. Depending on the severity of the condition, treatments range from physical therapy, medical devices, medicines to control the symptoms of CP, pain management and even surgery. These treatments may allow an individual with cerebral palsy to become more independent, improve their mobility, control pain and otherwise improve their life.