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Diagnosing Cerebral Palsy

Syracuse Lawyers for Cerebral Palsy Lawsuits

Cerebral palsy is a group of developmental disorders that present the leading cause of childhood disability. It impacts muscle coordination and fine motor skills and can be the result of brain damage while a baby is in utero or during labor. Sometimes it is the result of injuries immediately after birth. When there are complications during pregnancy or childbirth, an obstetrician-gynecologist and any relevant specialists owe both your baby and you a professional duty to provide care and treat those complications. Errors by the doctor can result in a baby developing cerebral palsy. However, in some cases, errors are also made after a child’s birth by a pediatrician or other specialist. Diagnosing cerebral palsy is a critical step in the process of obtaining treatment and it should occur in a timely fashion and with an adherence to the pertinent professional standards. Our strategic Syracuse cerebral palsy lawyers stand ready to represent you if you and your child were harmed by a doctor’s mistake in diagnosis or treatment.

Diagnosing Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy may not be the result of negligence. However, it is important to retain a lawyer who works with credible experts and can make an informed evaluation of your case. In order to recover damages for birth injuries we will need to establish: (1) your doctor owed you and the baby a professional duty of care, (2) breach of the professional duty of care, (3) causation, and (4) damages. The professional duty of care that is owed depends on what a reasonably competent physician in Syracuse in the same specialty as the defendant would have done when faced with the same circumstances. Diagnosing cerebral palsy is itself an important responsibility in getting your child the right care.

A timely diagnosis of cerebral palsy at an early age can include developmental monitoring, developmental screening, developmental and medical evaluations, and developmental monitoring. With developmental monitoring, a child’s growth is tracked over time. As a parent, you’ll be asked if you have concerns about how your child is developing. A pediatrician typically takes down and updates a child’s developmental history over time and also observes the child during a physical exam to watch his or her movements.

Developmental Screening

Certain children are at a higher risk for developmental problems because of their preterm birth or low birthweight. They must be given appropriate developmental screening, which includes a test to see whether a child has any particular developmental delays such as delays in the ordinary development of motor skills or movement. However, all children should be screened for developmental delays during visits to the doctor at 9 months, 18 months, and either 24 or 30 months.

At 9 months, movement issues may be readily observed. Milder issues that may not have been spotted can be more readily seen at 18 months. Most movement delays will be observed by 30 months. When an issue is seen, the doctor should make referrals. A doctor who doesn’t do proper doctor’s visits and fails to observe movement issues or give due weight to a parent’s concerns may be held accountable in a medical malpractice lawsuit for any further harm that a child experiences as a result of the failure to conduct the proper screening and act in response to its results.

Developmental Evaluations

A developmental evaluation can also be helpful in diagnosing the specific type of cerebral palsy. In the course of this evaluation, a primary care physician or specialist will examine your child’s posture, reflexes, muscle tone, and motor skills. He or she should take a medical history from you and rule out, if appropriate, any other disorders that could cause the same concerns. Referrals should be made as necessary.

Specialists that can perform the initial developmental evaluation may include neurodevelopment pediatricians, developmental pediatricians, child neurologists, pediatric physiatrists, and pediatric rehabilitation doctors. Each of these owes a professional duty of care to patients and their parents. In order to hold one or more of these doctors responsible for medical malpractice, we would need to show that the defendant’s departure from the professional standard of care in diagnosing cerebral palsy, rather than the existence of the cerebral palsy itself, resulted in losses.

Seeking the Best Outcome After Malpractice

If your child was harmed due to a failure to diagnose cerebral palsy in Syracuse, you should talk to our veteran trial lawyers about whether you have a viable claim. DeFrancisco & Falgiatano represents clients in Cooperstown, Lowville, Oneida, Rochester, Utica, Auburn, Watertown, Canandaigua, Herkimer, Oswego, Wampsville, Lyons, Ithaca, Elmira, and Binghamton. Complete our online form or call us at 315-479-9000 for a free consultation.

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"I suffered a serious injury as a result of medical malpractice. My husband and I retained Jeff DeFrancisco to assist us in this case. We were extremely happy with his representation and highly recommend him." Kelley R., Syracuse, NY
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