According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cerebral Palsy (CP) is the single most common motor disability in children, with an estimated one in 323 children being diagnosed. Specifically, this common birth injury occurs when there is not enough oxygen to a baby’s brain during delivery, or when there is physical trauma to the brain itself. CP is typically avoidable, but in cases where medical professionals aren’t vigilant enough in the delivery room, the result can be a lifetime of disability.
About Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy specifically refers to a neuro-muscular deficiency that affects a person’s brain, leading to a lack of coordination and muscle control. As a result, those who develop CP typically are unable to engage in normal movements, which can render them unable to eat, walk, play, and perform a number of other basic functions without constant assistance from a caregiver.
There are actually three types of CP, and they can vary in their effects. For starters, there is spastic CP, which results in a limited range of movement due to extreme muscle weakness. This form can affect one or both sides of the body. Though this is the least severe of the types, it is also the most common.
Dyskinetic CP, on the other hand, is characterized by involuntary movements (such as muscle spasms) in addition to difficulty with speech and hearing.
Finally, ataxic CP is the rarest and most severe form, resulting in a lack of balance and coordination, in addition to abnormal movements and spasms. Those affected with this form of CP also commonly have difficulty hearing and speaking.
Some of the more common complications associated with CP include:
- difficulty speaking
- impaired motor skills
- lack of muscle control
- frequent muscle spasms.
Unfortunately, there is no known cure for CP, though the condition is non-progressive, which means it will not worsen over time. Still, for children born with CP, the diagnosis means a lifetime of dependence on regular care to perform even the most basic of activities, which can be devastating for parents. It also often means high medical bills for the parents of the child throughout his or her life.
Potential Negligence and Malpractice
Perhaps the most devastating thing about CP for most parents is that it can sometimes be attributed to negligence or malpractice on the part of the delivery room staff. For example, a delay in delivering the baby could cause oxygen deprivation, which can cause CP. In other cases, using resources like forceps or vacuum extraction incorrectly during delivery can also cause trauma to the baby’s brain and result in CP.
Some other potential instances of negligence or malpractice that could be related to a CP diagnosis include:
- failure to diagnose and treat infections in newborns
- overlooking umbilical cord problems before delivery
- lack of proper monitoring during labor and/or delivery
- failure to treat seizures or heart rate issues during delivery.
Sadly, proving a child’s CP was caused by negligence or medical malpractice can be a major challenge in the court system, which is why so many parents of children with CP never go through with their cases. However, if your child has been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and you believe it may have been caused by a mistake or negligence by a medical professional, you are strongly encouraged to meet with an Indianapolis-area lawyer who specializes in these kinds of cases.
While it’s true that there is no way to compensate for the lifetime of disability that your child will experience, the fact remains that compensation from your case could help to offset the costs related to providing the necessary care your child will need, such as:
- special home care
- medical care
- transportation equipment.
Speak With a Lawyer Today
If your child has been diagnosed with any form of CP , you are encouraged to consult with a birth injury lawyer at McNeely Stephenson as soon as possible. There is a chance that you could be entitled to damages in the event that your child’s diagnosis can be determined to be caused by medical malpractice or negligence. Our experienced medical malpractice attorneys will be able to gather and analyze the details of your unique situation to determine the best course of action for your case, and will clearly answer any questions you may have about the litigation process.
Located near Indianapolis, the McNeely Stephenson law firm has been successfully representing Indiana residents harmed by medical negligence since 1982. Let the resources and experience of our compassionate legal team put you on the path to justice for your child and financial security for your family. Use our convenient online contact form or call us at 317-825-5200.