Cerebral palsy is a medical term which refers to a range of neurological disorders which hinder body movement and muscle coordination. It is a developmental condition which affects both children as well as adults.
What are the Causes?
In seventy percent of the cases, the cause of cerebral palsy is congenital and the condition develops during pregnancy because of a variety of reasons including disease, injury and positioning. In ten percent of the cases, the condition is caused by disease or injury during early childhood when the brain is still forming.
In twenty percent of the cases, the condition is caused by birth injury which was either unavoidable or because of the negligence of the healthcare provider. Cerebral palsy is not diagnosed at birth and it is detected when the baby fails to meet certain development milestones. Many children do not receive a firm diagnosis of this condition until they reach the age of two or three.
What are the Symptoms?
The symptoms of cerebral palsy include:
- Stiff and permanently contracted muscles;
- Involuntary or uncontrolled movements of the body and face;
- Lack of movement control over the arms and legs;
- Muscle tightness and spasms;
- Impairment of sight, hearing or speech;
- Impairment of brain function; and/or
- Poor coordination and difficulty with quick or precise movements.
What is the Treatment?
Individuals with cerebral palsy who receive proper treatment can live a normal and productive lifespan. They often require medicine, surgeries, therapies and adaptive equipment and a lifetime of such care can be expensive both in terms of money as well as time.
You can get a medical review to know whether your child’s cerebral palsy was caused by the negligence of a healthcare provider and whether you have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
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The Role of Medical Malpractice with Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy can be caused by certain medical mistakes such as:
- The failure to detect a prolapsed umbilical cord.
- The failure to appropriately monitor fetal heart rate before and during labor and birth.
- The failure to detect or properly treat infections in the mother during pregnancy.
- The failure to plan and schedule a caesarean section when a baby is too large for a safe delivery.
What are the Requirements for a Medical Malpractice Claim?
The term “medical malpractice” refers to a doctor’s or hospital’s failure to fulfill their legal responsibilities while caring for you or your child. The lawsuits for cerebral palsy require evidence that your child’s condition could have been prevented if the medical staff or facility was more attentive.
Investigation will have to establish that the medical staff or facility showed signs of neglect or malpractice and that your child had some signs or symptoms of a birth injury. You can pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit if you suspect that a delivery doctor, nurse or hospital did not meet their required standard of care.
Should I Contact a Lawyer?
The link between cerebral palsy and medical malpractice can be complicated. Also, the facts in each case and the laws in each state are different. If you have specific questions about filing a claim for medical negligence, it would be beneficial to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney before proceeding.