Few childhood illnesses have as large an impact on a family as cerebral palsy. When it comes to childhood disabilities involving movement, no illness is more common than cerebral palsy. It has no known cause, but we know it involves issues with the parts of the brain that control movement. However, because the part of the brain that controls movement also plays a role in everything from memory, speech, mental growth, and vision, children who suffer from cerebral palsy face a very wide range of debilitating illnesses throughout life.
If your child suffered a birth injury of any type or if he or she exhibits any of the symptoms of cerebral palsy, we can help. At the Birth Injury Lawyers Group, we help families understand and then tackle the many challenges that birth injuries cause. We also help them collect the evidence needed to prove the negligence of their child’s doctor or another caregiver if negligence was involved in causing their child’s injuries. If this applies to you, we will help you file a claim for damages. Call us for a free consultation and case evaluation at (800) 222-9529.
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Causes and Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy
The symptoms exhibited by an individual with cerebral palsy will depend on the age of the patient as well as when and how cerebral palsy developed.
It is important to understand that cerebral palsy is not one condition. It is a blanket term that refers to a set of motor and movement issues. The brain is composed of different layers. Within these layers, there are different sections or centers that are responsible for different functions. For example, the hypothalamus regulates your heartbeat and body temperature why the occipital lobe is involved in vision. Cerebral palsy involves damage or abnormal development of the cerebrum and the cerebral cortex. These are the parts of the brain that are responsible for various voluntary movements.
Damage to these parts of the brain can happen at any time. For example, a motor vehicle accident can cause brain damage, as can a serious fall. Sports injuries and physical activities can also cause brain damage and cerebral palsy. In children, however, it often occurs because of birth-related or developmental issues. These issues can be either natural or accidental.
Consider a baby that suffers a genetic mutation that affects the development of the cerebral cortex. This is not uncommon. Sometimes, during gestation–which is when a baby is developing in the womb–the brain does not grow the way it should be. It may lack certain nutrients or the brain cells that migrate to specific locations within the brain may not end up in the right places. When these types of issues occur, they are usually categorized as nonpreventable injuries that your child’s doctor or care team could not realistically have done anything to prevent.
The other class of injuries that can lead to cerebral palsy is preventable accidents. If a medical team fails to test for certain infections, blood compatibility issues, or accidentally causes trauma to a baby’s brain and the baby develops cerebral palsy as a result, the delivery team should be held accountable for these errors. Medical caregivers are held to a high standard and mistakes such as these are not tolerated when it comes to patient care. When these mistakes occur, those responsible are said to have not fulfilled the duty of care that they owed their patients and they can be sued for any damages that result.
In terms of symptoms, babies and small children with cerebral palsy usually cannot hold their head up or control the movement of their mouths. Older children and adolescents can have issues with walking and using their limbs. Mental lags and slow learning and intellectual development may also occur. In adults, cerebral palsy can cause heart issues and problems breathing. It can also lead to bone breaks and fractures. This is because cerebral palsy can make it hard for some patients to eat and swallow. This makes it difficult to get the nutrients they need, causing many bone issues.
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Damages and Compensation
When can you seek compensation for the damages that cerebral palsy caused you to suffer, and what kinds of expenses are usually covered for such cases?
You need to be able to prove that specific actions of your child’s care team caused your child to suffer specific injuries, and that those injuries were not only preventable but that they led to expenses that you should not have had to bear. Doing this will involve:
- Interviewing the delivery team
- Collecting evidence of bodily injury
- Aggregating the costs and expenses of treatment
Some of the cost categories you may be able to seek damages for include:
- Testing costs and medical expenses
- Lost income
- Care and therapy costs
- Surgery costs
- Special education costs
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Your Next Steps
If your child was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, you will have a great deal to take care of. You need to have your child formally tested and diagnosed so that you know what type of palsy he or she has and the extent of the physical damages he or she suffered during birth. You need to do this to be able to initiate treatment because different types and modes of treatment focus on helping the patient overcome specific injuries and disabilities.
Next, you need to think about the long-term consequences of your child’s injuries. Cerebral palsy has no known cure and is permanent. You need to be able to pay for the treatments your child needs for as long as he or she needs them. This is why you must seek damages and compensation from any at-fault party or parties responsible for your child’s injuries.
We are here to help. Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today at (800) 222-9529 to learn more about what your legal options are and how to go about filing a medical malpractice case if negligence was involved in causing your child’s preventable birth injuries. Call now.