Although unpreventable birth complications or gene mutations can cause birth injuries, medical negligence can also be a cause. If a doctor or a medical delivery team makes treatment errors or fails to perform actions to protect the physical health and well-being of a mother and her child, the child may sustain serious birth injuries, leading to a wide range of medical issues.
Cerebral palsy is one such illness, and it can develop via damage to the cerebral cortex, the part of the brain that controls the body’s voluntary motor functions. This kind of damage is almost always irreversible, hence cerebral palsy is a life-long condition. If you live in Raleigh and your child sustained a birth injury or received a diagnosis of cerebral palsy, the Birth Injury Lawyers Group can help. Call a cerebral palsy attorney for a free consultation and case evaluation at (800) 222-9529.
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Causes of Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is one of the most commonly occurring childhood motor disabilities in the United States. Depending on how severe your child’s birth injuries are, he or she may exhibit mild or serious symptoms, ranging from difficulty sitting, walking, and moving, to limited ability to perform basic actions such as tying their shoes or grasping objects.
Cerebral palsy correlates positively with certain risk factors, as well as the following conditions:
- Brain damage sustained before, during, or soon after birth
- Insufficient oxygen supply during birth
- Infections in the mother or baby
- Medical negligence via the incorrect use of delivery equipment
- Diagnostic or administrative errors
Cerebral palsy also shows positive correlations with large fetuses, low birth weight, premature deliveries (usually defined as birth before 37 weeks), multiple births, and C-section deliveries. All these cases can involve complications that may require emergency procedures to deliver the baby or sustain the baby after delivery. Also, those are the cases during which childbirth injuries most often occur.
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Degree of Severity of Cerebral Palsy
The Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) is a one to five scale used to determine the severity of cerebral palsy. Your child’s doctor and any caregivers who treat your child will take this measure into consideration when designing a cerebral palsy therapy and rehabilitation program for your child.
Your Raleigh cerebral palsy lawyer and any insurance agencies involved in handling or overseeing the legal or financial aspects of your child’s treatment will also consider this measure when reviewing or arriving at decisions regarding your birth injury case. It is critical that you accurately assess your child’s illness and determine his or her disability level.
- Level 1: The patient can walk without any serious limitations.
- Level 2: The patient can walk long distances without serious limitations but cannot run or jump. Assistive devices may also be required to get around outside the home.
- Level 3: The patient can sit with some support and can stand without any support but requires assistive devices to walk.
- Level 4: The patient can walk using assistive devices but requires support to sit.
- Level 5: The patient requires support to hold up the head and neck. They may also require support to sit and stand and may or may not be able to control a motorized wheelchair.
As is painfully clear from the definitions above, cerebral palsy is a serious ailment and can significantly impact a person’s independence and quality of life. If the infant’s injuries at birth that led to the development of cerebral palsy were the result of negligence, you should seek to determine who was at fault for your child’s injuries at birth and seek financial compensation from them. The Birth Injury Lawyers Group can provide you with the expertise and guidance to do that. Simply call us at (800) 222-9529.
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The Financial Costs of Cerebral Palsy Treatment and Care
The medical costs for children with cerebral palsy can be 10 to 26 times higher than the care costs of children who are born healthy. Some estimates of the lifetime care costs for children with cerebral palsy are as high as $1 million for therapy, surgeries, medicines, and assistive care.
The first step in the journey of a child diagnosed with cerebral palsy is testing—accurately determining when, where, and how the injuries at birth that led to brain damage and cerebral palsy occurred. Without an accurate cerebral palsy diagnosis, you cannot start the patient on a cerebral palsy treatment regimen, and you also cannot predict how the illness—or treatments, for that matter—may affect the patient.
Doing this will involve:
- Obtaining a complete medical history
- Having the patient perform a physical exam
- Conducting tests to evaluate the brain’s electrical activity
- Conducting an MRI or a CT scan to reveal or pinpoint brain injuries or abnormalities
- Obtaining blood samples to test for infections or bleeding disorders
- Testing vision and hearing since these senses may be affected by cerebral cortex damage
- Evaluating the mental development of the child and screen him or her for intellectual disabilities
These are just the initial steps required before administering the appropriate treatments. Once these tests are completed, based on the results, your child’s doctor may prescribe physical therapy, medications, or even surgery to help your child overcome or manage his or her symptoms or disabilities. Cerebral palsy cases are expensive. Not only does it involve significant testing and treatment, but it is also a permanent condition and exposes the affected family to long-term care costs.
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Overcoming Challenges of Caring for a Child with Cerebral Palsy
A cerebral palsy diagnosis can be a shock to the family. You and your family will need to quickly adapt and respond to the challenges that come with it. Here are a few tips on how to get by.
- Work on your child’s independence. Encourage his or her effort, however small it may be.
- Ask questions and look for answers relevant to your child when speaking with physicians, therapists, and teachers.
- Sign up for groups, organizations, or counseling services that can provide you with the support you need to get through this trying time.
Call a Raleigh cerebral palsy lawyer with the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today at (800) 222-9529 for guidance with respect to handling a cerebral palsy diagnosis, collecting the evidence needed to file a birth injury case, and get your life back on track.