Cerebral Palsy: Legal Options

By | September 16, 2013

Cerebral palsy is caused when not enough oxygen reaches a baby’s brain during a woman’s pregnancy or during the birthing process. When oxygen does not reach the baby’s brain, then distress occurs and serious brain damage could occur. There are different forms of cerebral palsy, but one of the most common reasons that cerebral palsy occurs is usually a slow response to save the baby from distress. The damage done to the brain causes the child to have posture issues, muscle spasms and difficulty in moving normally. If a mother feels that her child was in distress during labor, and the physicians or nurses delayed help, then she should consider seeking the help of a birth injury lawyer to decide if her child’s cerebral palsy was caused by medical negligence.

What Causes Cerebral Palsy?

Around 8,000 babies in the United States are diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Many of these cases are preventable. When nerves in the brain are damaged, then the brain cannot deliver the proper signs to some parts of the body to function properly. With cerebral palsy, signs usually do not reach the muscles, therefore causing difficulty in muscle control. Another cause of cerebral palsy is if the mother contracted any infections during her pregnancy. If her physician does not treat the viral or bacterial infections properly, then the baby could suffer brain damage. Mistreatment in jaundice can also cause damage to the brain, which in turn can cause a birth injury. It is therefore very important for physicians and nurses to act quickly when any health issues occur before, during or after pregnancy in order to prevent any damage to the health of the mother or child.

A cerebral palsy lawyer can determine if the baby’s cerebral palsy was preventable or not. If during labor or delivery doctors experience difficulties delivering the baby, then their actions may cause brain damage to the baby. For example, the doctors may have had trouble delivering a large baby. If the baby suffers distress or not enough oxygen reaches the brain, then the baby could suffer from some sort of birth injury. Another example is if there is pressure on the umbilical cord; this can cause brain damage to the child because the umbilical cord provides oxygen and blood to the brain. Doctors and nurses must act quickly if any unforeseen events occur. Any delay could cause a serious birth injury like cerebral palsy.

Cerebral palsy is most likely to occur when the baby is still in the mother’s womb. Some cases are caused during the labor process while a few others are caused after the birth. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this injury because when the brain cells die, the damage is done. Parents must then seek help for the medical and physical needs of the child.

Legal Options

If medical negligence is to blame, then the parents of the injured child should seek the help of a birth injury lawyer to compensate their family for the pain, suffering and medical expenses of the child and parents. A child born with cerebral palsy will have difficulty moving, speaking and performing some daily tasks. Parents will need to provide special care for these children. Their educational and personal needs are different from children born without any health issues, so the cost of caring for these children exceeds the average cost of taking care of a non-special needs child.

Even though cerebral palsy is not fatal, the expenses the family will face are high. The long-term needs of the child need to be met, and if a doctor, nurse or hospital was responsible for the birth injury, then they should be responsible for their actions. Physical therapy is needed to help the child to learn to control their limbs and muscles. When the child reaches school, then they will need help with communicating and socializing. Medications may also be necessary to control the seizures and spasms that occur with cerebral palsy individuals. All of these needs are necessary for the individual, and with time, they should be able to control their movements. The life expectancy of a child with cerebral palsy does not decrease because of the disorder, but their life will not be as easy as a normal child.

If your child was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, and you feel that medical negligence was to blame, then you should contact a cerebral palsy lawyer for a consultation. They will discuss the case with you and determine if your case was caused by negligence. The compensation could help lessen the financial expenses that come with raising a child with cerebral palsy.

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