Cerebral palsy refers to a range of muscle and nervous system disorders that stem from brain damage—specifically, damage to the cerebral cortex, which is responsible for voluntary muscle control. This damage can lead to the symptoms commonly characterized by cerebral palsy.
Since brain damage of this type is usually permanent, patients who have cerebral palsy can expect to have the illness for their entire lives. Treatments focus on helping the patient live with their disabilities.
If your child suffered a birth injury or was recently diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a St. Petersburg cerebral palsy lawyer from the Birth Injury Lawyers Group can help. Families in St. Petersburg can call us at (800) 222-9529 for a free consultation with a team member. We will discuss your child’s treatment options with you, as well as what you can do from a legal standpoint.
This discussion will involve determining the cause for your child’s injuries, collecting evidence to prove the nature and extent of cerebral cortex damage, and understanding why such damage occurred in the first place.
For a free legal consultation with St. Petersburg Cerebral Palsy lawyer, call 1-800-222-9529
Cerebral Palsy Causes and Effects
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke points out that the exact cause of most cerebral palsy cases is unknown. Cerebral palsy correlates with certain risk factors, and the disorder leads to issues with walking, posture, controlling the head, eating, swallowing, and moving various parts of the body. Because it is a nerve and muscle illness, it is classified as a neurological and musculoskeletal ailment. It can have serious and long-lasting effects on the affected individual.
There are a few risk factors commonly associated with cerebral palsy. These factors, whenever present, increase the likelihood of a child suffering brain damage and developing cerebral palsy as a result.
Some of these risk factors include:
- Genetic or environmental factors that affect the development of brain cells during pregnancy
- Birth complications, such as placental detachment or breech delivery, that often lead to emergency C-sections
- Premature delivery and low birth weight
- Maternal or gestational diabetes
- Infections during pregnancy
- Untreated jaundice
- Fetal strokes or brain bleeding, which can limit the oxygen supply to the baby’s brain or disrupt blood flow
- Any form of head trauma during delivery, such as pushing, squeezing, or stretching of the baby’s head using the hands of the delivery team or assistive devices that are used to remove babies stuck in the mother’s womb
Unlike Erb’s palsy, which involves nerve damage that can heal or repaired with surgical interventions such as nerve grafts or nerve transplants, damage to the cerebral cortex cannot be fixed. If your child was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a St. Petersburg cerebral palsy lawyer can help you determine the following before assessing your legal options moving forward:
- How and why it occurred
- Why the risk factors above, if any, were present
- Why the risk factors were not addressed
- What the medical team did in response to risks or complications while attempting to secure the health and wellbeing of your child
St. Petersburg Cerebral Palsy Lawyer Near Me 1-800-222-9529
How Medical Negligence Occurs
Doctors, nurses, delivery room staff, and other caregivers who are entrusted with patient care know what they are doing—at least, that is our expectation. We expect them to know:
- What to do if an emergency arises
- How to perform health screenings and safety tests
- How to use the tools and equipment needed during delivery
- How to read the charts, reports, and scans that are used to determine the health and vital signs of the mother and her child in the days and weeks leading up to the delivery, as well as during the delivery itself
This care during delivery involves many things. It involves active monitoring of the mother’s oxygen levels and blood pressure, how much she has dilated, and how long her labor is. It also involves determining whether an emergency C-section is required if prolonged labor can be detrimental to the baby’s health and whether the mother or the baby has infections of any sort. The baby’s position in the womb, issues with the placenta or umbilical cord, blood compatibility issues, and many other health indicators need to be tested and screened.
When negligence occurs, it is most often either a failure to perform one of the actions listed above or the incorrect performance of one of those actions. If your child’s doctor neglects to perform a certain test that would have helped determine that a birth complication was likely, or if they did perform the test but misread the test results, that could be negligence. The same goes for improperly using birth delivery tools, injuring the baby while removing it from the mother, or misdiagnosing a newborn’s disorder.
If the delivery team takes all the steps that the medical community deems necessary as part of standard care procedures for delivering your child, that essentially means they did everything “right.” Failing to do so, however, can mean they are liable for medical malpractice.
A major issue for the family of the child, however, is proving that the “right” steps were not performed or were incorrectly performed. This can be quite difficult, especially since hospitals, doctors, and other medical staff strive to avoid blame for birth injuries. A St. Petersburg cerebral palsy lawyer may be able to cut through red tape to determine if malpractice took place in the delivery room.
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The Benefits of Expert Legal Assistance
At the Birth Injury Lawyers Group, we assist families of children diagnosed with birth injuries—whether Erb’s palsy, hypoxia, cerebral palsy, or other conditions—connect the injuries that their child suffered to specific instances of medical malpractice.
Making these connections involves a St. Petersburg cerebral palsy lawyer doing the following:
- Collecting your child’s medical history and birth records
- Interviewing the medical team that delivered your child
- Obtaining testimony from medical experts as to the role that negligence played in causing your child’s injuries
- Composing a letter of intent to sue to send to the at-fault parties from whom you want to seek compensation
- Quantifying the damages that you suffered directly or indirectly from your child’s illness
- Guiding you along the way so that you do not miss important filing deadlines (§ 95.11 of the 2019 Florida Statutes outlines the statute of limitations for medical malpractice) or other administrative steps.
Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today at (800) 222-9529 for help with the above tasks. Cerebral palsy is an area where we have extensive experience, so call us today for a free consultation with a team member about what to do to make it through this trying time.