Few childhood developmental illnesses are as common and as documented as cerebral palsy. First identified around 5 BC by the ancient Greeks, cerebral palsy is the most frequently occurring motor disorder in children in the United States. It is usually first identified by the parents who notice movement or learning issues in their child.
Cerebral palsy can be caused by many different factors including genetic mutations and the abnormal migration of brain cells during gestation. Damage or abnormal development of specific areas of the brain exhibit a high correlation with the incidence of cerebral palsy.
Once brain damage occurs, it is permanent. This makes cerebral palsy a permanent condition. At best, if a patient exhibits mild symptoms, he or she may be able to overcome the health issues the condition poses using noninvasive therapies and medication. Serious cases may require surgery to cut or shorten muscles and nerves as well as therapy and injections alongside regular therapy. Does your child have cerebral palsy? We understand your worries and concerns. Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at (800) 222-9529 to discuss your case.
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Causes and Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy
Illnesses such as cerebral palsy are classified based on the type of physiological damage that causes the condition, as well as the symptoms that the patient exhibits as a result. For example, spastic cerebral palsy, which is the most common type of cerebral palsy, results in stiff muscles and jerky movements. Other types of cerebral palsy such as athetoid or ataxic cerebral palsy can cause issues with coordination and balance, even though all three disorders are classified as cerebral palsy.
That being said, anything that causes damage to the motor control centers of the brain can lead to various forms of cerebral palsy. Examples include vehicle or sports accidents and even bullet wounds and child abuse. Delivery room errors can also cause it if a doctor or a member of the delivery team harms a baby’s soft skull, causing trauma and irreversible damage to the infant’s developing brain in the process. Medication errors, infections, maternal obesity, multiple births, premature births, low birth weight, and genetic disorders can also cause cerebral palsy.
In terms of symptoms, cerebral palsy can present in mild or serious forms. Mild cases may lead to awkwardness or clumsiness while walking or using the limbs, but the patient would likely be able to, for example, feed, change his or her clothes, or bathe on their own. Serious cases can lead to an inability to hold the head up or use the limbs in any meaningful way. This type of severe incapacitation can lead to life-long care costs and usually requires monitoring around the clock.
A bitter truth regarding cerebral palsy is that it can affect an individual from the moment he or she is born and sticks with him or her throughout life. In infancy, it can lead to an inability to raise the head or to suck, chew, or swallow. Older patients can have issues with coordinated movement and fine motor skills and may exhibit excessive drooling, slow mental development, and difficulty focusing the eyes or hear properly. These symptoms can lead to social rejection, isolation from the community, limited movement leading to muscle atrophy, and further damage to the body.
Older patients can suffer from misaligned joints, bone contractures, and trouble breathing. Epilepsy and speech issues often co-occur with cerebral palsy. All of these health issues make cerebral palsy one of the most devastating conditions a child can suffer from. The interesting thing is that the brain damage that causes cerebral palsy itself is defined as nonprogressive and it does not worsen over time. The wide spectrum of health issues faced by patients is due to the compounding of symptoms as the body of the patient grows.
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Paying for Care and Treatment
Since cerebral palsy is permanent and has no known cure, and since the health issues it causes can have such a harsh impact on the quality of life of the affected individual and his or her family, the costs of care can be astronomical. Some estimates place the lifetime care costs of children born with cerebral palsy at over $1 million. This is between 10 and 25 times higher than the cost of caring for a healthy child. These costs can place a great deal of stress on the mental and financial stability of a family and can lead to many secondary health issues such as depression.
If your child’s condition was the result of preventable causes, we can help you file a medical malpractice claim against the at-fault party or parties responsible. You should seek these damages to ensure you are able to cover the care costs of your child and pay for the tests, therapy, medications, and assistive devices that your child needs to live as normal and independent a life as possible. You may have to take time off from work or hire additional caregivers, all at your own expense, so you should recover these costs as well.
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The legal and medical jargon surrounding malpractice cases can be extremely complex. Filing a claim for damages requires an understanding of local health laws, insurance policies, filing requirements, statutory rules that govern evidence collection, and statutes of limitation during which you must collect evidence and file your claim.
We are here to help. At no upfront cost to you, we will:
- Interview the delivery team to determine the cause of your child’s injuries.
- Determine who, if anyone, was guilty of medical negligence.
- Quantify the value of your damages so you can seek fair compensation.
- Connect you with the treatment and care facilities that can diagnose and hopefully rehabilitate your child.
Whether your child has a mild, moderate, or extreme case of cerebral palsy, you are not alone. We have helped many families navigate the complex domains of insurance coverage and malpractice litigation and we are here to help you get your life back on track. Contact the Birth Injury Lawyers Group for a free, no-obligation case evaluation at (800) 222-9529.