At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, we have helped many families affected by birth injuries, including cerebral palsy. Whether your child was diagnosed with spastic, ataxic or athetoid / dyskinetic cerebral palsy , we may be able to help. Our attorneys have experience in handling these types of matters and we have access to objective medical experts to determine whether medical malpractice caused your child's injury.
If medical malpractice caused your child's birth injury, your child may be entitled to compensation for both their physical injury and so they can get the best possible services available to them.
Call 315-479-9000 now for a free consultation with the birth injury lawyers at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano.
What Is Cerebral Palsy?
It is one of the most serious health conditions that occur due to birth injury and medical negligence during labor and delivery. It is believed that lack of oxygen supply to the baby's brain during delivery process results in cerebral palsy. The impact of cerebral palsy lasts for life on the affected baby and its family. Cerebral palsy is caused by several neurological disorders that affect muscle coordination and body movement.
Common Types of Cerebral Palsy
- Spastic Cerebral Palsy - Spastic cerebral palsy is sometimes used interchangeably with the term bilateral spasticity. This is the most common type of cerebral palsy and it is associated with very stiff or tight muscle tone.
- Ataxic Cerebral Palsy - Ataxic cerebral palsy is the least frequent type of cerebral palsy and it is typically caused by damage to the cerebellar structures. Damage to the cerebellum causes difficulty in coordination and is often associated with decreased muscle tone.
- Athetoid / Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy - Athetoid cerebral palsy or dyskinetic cerebral palsy (ADCP) is a type of cerebral palsy primarily associated with damage to the basal ganglia in the form of lesions that occur during brain development due to bilirubin encephalopathy and hypoxic-ischemic brain injury. This condition is often characterized with both hypertonia and hypotonia due to the child's inability to control muscle tone.
Causes and Risk Factors
In most cases, cerebral palsy patients have had it from birth. The causes might be hypoxia (less oxygen supply to brain), asphyxia (less oxygen supply to the body), premature delivery, or birth injury due to medical negligence during labor or childbirth or both. However, not every newborn having cerebral palsy is a result of medical malpractice. Sometimes, the medical staff, doctors, and hospitals work with utmost care and provide the best possible prenatal care during the pregnancy, labor, and the delivery process and still things go wrong. However, that it not always the case. Common causes of cerebral palsy due to medical malpractice are:
- If doctor fails to detect or treat an infection (such as meningitis) of the pregnant mother
- If the doctor does not properly monitor the heart rate of fetus during labor and delivery process
- If the umbilical cord has fallen out of place and the doctor fails to detect it
- If the doctor does not go for a cesarean section delivery despite the baby's large size for the birth canal
- If the doctor delays or fails to perform a planned C-section resulting in head first delivery causing complications
- Wrong or negligent usage of vacuum cup or forceps during the delivery causing damage to the infant's head
Cerebral palsy is a type of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (partial oxygen deprivation) brain injury that can cause developmental disabilities such as:
- Impaired motor skills
- Speech difficulty
- Hearing and vision impairments
- Learning disability
- Cognitive disability
- Emotional difficulties
Compensation For Your Child's Care
A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that the lifetime cost of medical care for a baby with cerebral palsy can reach nearly $1 million (in 2003 dollars). This estimate does not include the loss of income and benefits of parents who must become caregivers or other out-of-pocket expenses. In more severe cases, the lifetime cost of medical treatment and special services easily exceeds $1 million.
The National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities studied children enrolled in Medicaid in 2005 and found that medical costs for children with cerebral palsy were 10 times higher than for children without cerebral palsy or intellectual disability ($16,721 vs. $1,674 in 2005 dollars). The medical costs for children with cerebral palsy and intellectual disability were 26 times higher ($43,338 vs. $1,674 in 2005 dollars).
Do I have a Birth Injury Lawsuit?
Children and families have viable medical malpractice cases for causing birth injuries when a doctor or medical provider deviated from generally accepted medical standards and that negligence caused or contributed to your child's injury. To determine if you have a case, procedurally our office will obtain the medical records of both the mother and child to review what happened. Our medical experts will thereafter conduct independent reviews as well to see if you have a case.
If you believe that your child's cerebral palsy may be a result of medical malpractice, you should seek legal assistance from a knowledgeable and experienced birth injury lawyer. If you wait for too long, you may lose the chance to get the compensation that you deserve for your child's sake.
Call us today at 315-479-9000 to see whether you have a case. Consultations are always free and you will never be responsible for any legal fees unless we are able to recover compensation for you.