Cerebral palsy is a group of several motor disorders that make it difficult for the affected individual to control their head, speak, or move their arms or legs in specific ways. It is the most common childhood disability in the United States, affecting between two to six out of every 1,000 births. Cerebral palsy often develops as a result of damage or injury to the cerebral cortex, which is the outer layer of the brain that is responsible for controlling muscle movement. This kind of damage often occurs during birth.
If your child missed certain developmental milestones or has exhibited issues with controlling their head, legs, or arms, this may indicate that they suffered damage to the cerebral cortex. If a preventable birth injury caused this damage, you might be entitled to compensation from the party or parties responsible for those injuries.
Clearwater families facing these circumstances can call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today at (800) 222-9529 to speak with a team member about their child’s case. A Clearwater cerebral palsy lawyer from our team can help you fight for the compensation you deserve.
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Understanding Cerebral Palsy
Damage to any part of the body can have lasting effects, but some illnesses are more serious than others. Cerebral palsy is particularly devastating because it affects so many aspects of a person’s life. It can affect an individual’s muscle control and coordination, their reflexes, and their ability to maintain proper posture and balance. It can also prevent them from walking and living independently because it involves the parts of the brain that are responsible for controlling voluntary muscle movements.
Cerebral palsy affects people in different ways, but it usually manifests in combination with one or more of the following:
- Trauma, physical injury, or infections that damage the brain’s white and gray matter.
- Genetic or environmental factors that disrupt the migration of brain cells during the child’s development in the womb.
- Birth or delivery events that cause bleeding in the brain, prevent oxygen from reaching the brain, or physically damage the makeup of the brain.
A Clearwater cerebral palsy lawyer understands the causes and symptoms of this lifelong brain disorder and can discuss your legal options after your child’s diagnosis.
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Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy
The symptoms your child exhibits because of their cerebral palsy will depend on where and to what extent they sustained brain damage. Most cerebral palsy patients have issues with coordination as well as stiff or spastic muscles, and they are usually unable to perform certain movements. They may also have problems with their hearing, sight, and balance.
Patients with mild cases of cerebral palsy may be able to overcome the disabilities that they face using regular treatment and therapy. However, once brain damage occurs, it does not heal. Cerebral palsy is, therefore, a permanent and life-long condition. If certain symptoms such as difficulty eating persist, chronic issues may develop over time, such as social and emotional dysfunction, malnutrition, low bone density, and frequent bone fractures.
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You expect the medical team responsible for treating and managing your child to perform their duties to a high standard and with the competence and professionalism demanded of their positions. They are also expected to be vigilant and ready to act in response to emergencies should they arise.
Doing this means they must plan the provision of care and take preventive steps to avoid specific events. These steps include monitoring the mother’s blood pressure and the baby’s position in the womb, as well as checking the results of pre-delivery tests that are administered to identify potential issues. Screenings for bacterial or viral infections and other tests—such as blood compatibility checks between the mother and her child—may also be required.
If a birth complication occurs, members of the delivery team must have the skills and experience needed to perform the emergency procedures required to protect the health and well-being of the mother and her child. Doing this is known as the duty of care. It also includes knowing how and when to use assistive devices for delivery.
In short, in an emergency, the medical team is expected to know what to do, when, and how. A failure to screen or test for potential issues, incorrectly reading or interpreting test results, failing to take preventive measures when needed, or incorrectly administering care in any way can lead to a birth injury. If it does, your child’s doctors may be held responsible for the damages that they cause to your child. Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today at (800) 222-9529 for a free consultation with a Clearwater cerebral palsy lawyer.
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The Costs of Cerebral Palsy
The costs of treating cerebral palsy can be as much as 26 times more than the care costs for children who are born healthy. Some estimates of the lifetime care costs for children with cerebral palsy are as high as $1.4 million in today’s dollars for therapy, surgeries, medicines, and assistive care. This does not include the cost of lost opportunities and other intangible costs such as emotional stress, depression, and the lower quality of life that the affected child and their family will suffer.
Depending on your case, you may be able to file a claim for all costs associated with managing and treating your child’s preventable birth injury. These could include:
- Medical care costs, including medication, surgery, and doctor’s visits
- Therapy costs
- Income lost while caretakers take time off from work to care for the child
- Emotional trauma and pain and suffering
- Home improvement costs associated with making the home accessible to the child
Speak with a Clearwater cerebral palsy lawyer to learn more about the costs that may apply to your case and what kinds of documentation are needed to prove your expenditures to the court.
Your Next Steps
If your child was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, you might need to perform certain medical tests to determine when, where, and how the birth injuries that led to brain damage and cerebral palsy occurred. Without an accurate diagnosis, you cannot start your child on a treatment regimen, and you also cannot predict how the illness or specific treatments may affect your child.
Beyond that, you might want to discuss the legal and financial aspects of a cerebral palsy diagnosis with a birth injury lawyer. Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today at (800) 222-9529 for guidance on handling a cerebral palsy diagnosis and collecting the evidence needed to file a claim. We are ready to help.