Maryland Cerebral Palsy Attorneys
The joy that comes with the birth of a new baby is shattered when parents discover the newborn was injured in some way during the birthing process. Birthing process refers to the time of labor and delivery and a short period of time immediately after birth.
What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy is not a disease, but a condition that results when an area of the brain that controls movement is damaged. The condition ranges from mild to severe depending on how seriously the brain was damaged. Some who suffer from the condition have simple balance problems and may have some difficulty walking. Others are injured so severely they are confined to a wheelchair for the rest of their life.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a report from about 10 years ago found that approximately one-third of all those afflicted with CP was unable to walk even with assistance. More than half of those diagnosed with CP also have some cognitive disabilities. Many of them also suffer from seizure disorders.
Types of Cerebral Palsy
There are four types of CP:
- Spastic: This is the most common type characterized by difficult or stiff movement.
- Ataxic: The afflicted person has a loss of depth perception which in turn causes balance issues.
- Athetoid/Dyskinetic: This type results in uncontrolled or involuntary movements.
- Mixed: When the affected person has more than one type of CP.
Causes of Cerebral Palsy: Negligence During the Birthing Process
Although not all cases of cerebral palsy in a newborn are caused by the negligence of the health care provider, many of the cases are preventable and caused solely by medical malpractice. Some of the negligent acts, or negligent failures to act, during the birthing process include, but are not limited to:
- Failure to properly monitor the heartbeat of the fetus during labor and subsequent failure to note that the fetus is in distress. This may result in oxygen deprivation to the brain which in turn causes brain damage.
- Allowing for a prolonged labor prior to performing a Cesarean section which results in oxygen deprivation to the fetus and subsequent brain damage.
- Failure to notice a prolapsed umbilical cord resulting in decreased oxygen to the brain and subsequent brain damage resulting in CP.
- Careless use of forceps or vacuum extractor during birth resulting in brain damage.
- Breech babies, which means born feet first instead of head first, resulting in decreased oxygen to the brain and brain damage.
Signs and Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy
There are some specific signs and symptoms parents can watch for in the early development of their newborn and toddler as the child reaches certain ages. A child may have one, some, or all of the following:
- Spastic movements and apparent lack of muscle tone.
- Lack of motor control.
- Abnormal reflexes.
- General developmental delays in almost all physical areas such as not sitting alone, not crawling, not taking steps.
- Excessive drooling and inability to swallow properly.
- Difficulty with speech.
- Cognitive disabilities.
Unfortunately, to date, there is no known cure. Symptoms may be alleviated by physical and occupational therapy, possible surgical intervention, and some medications.
If you are the parent of a child who has been diagnosed with CP, or who you suspect has CP, you could benefit from consulting with one of our birth injury attorneys who is experienced in working with parents of birth-injured children, particularly those who have CP. The attorney will review the facts of your case, and consult with medical experts to see if you have a claim for medical malpractice.
This is important to you and the future of your child. Some who suffer from CP need lifelong care. If you have a valid claim for medical malpractice, you may be able to collect damages that will cover your child’s current and future medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and caretaker expenses if your child is unable to care for themselves. You may think you can provide care yourself, but you need to consider the very real possibility that your child will need continuing care even after he or she becomes an adult and after you are no longer able to provide care for him or her.
The law requires a medical malpractice claim to be filed within a certain period of time. It is important to consult with an attorney as soon as you become aware there may have been malpractice so you do not lose your chance of obtaining compensation for your child’s medical expenses and future care.
There are ways you may be able to establish financial support for your child with CP. Visit our financial resources page for more information.
Lawsuits & Settlements
At D’Amore Personal Injury Law, LLC, we zealously fight for our clients to obtain all of the compensation to which they are legally entitled. We have obtained Millions of Dollars for brain injured children, providing them with the safety and security of knowing they can afford a lifetime of care. If you have a child who was injured during the birthing process, contact us for a free case consultation.