What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy is a disorder caused by a brain injury or brain malformation. Some cases of cerebral palsy are the result of a prenatal problem which caused the brain not to develop properly. Other instances are caused by birth injuries during labor and delivery. In any case, the impairment is permanent and affects muscle control, coordination, reflex, and balance. Children who have cerebral palsy often have difficulty learning, speaking clearly and performing tasks that require the use of fine motor skills.
What Does CP Look Like?
It is estimated that 764,000 children and adults in the U.S. manifest one or more of the symptoms of cerebral palsy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year about 10,000 babies born in the United States will develop cerebral palsy. You may begin to suspect that your child has cerebral palsy if you observe the following symptoms:
- Delay in reaching milestones such as rolling over, sitting, crawling and walking
- Abnormal muscle tone
- Spastic movements
- Unusual posture
- Difficulty grasping objects
- Difficulty swallowing
- Inability to focus on objects
- Inability to hear
What Causes Cerebral Palsy?
There are a number of risk factors for cerebral palsy. If you had no health problems during your pregnancy and your baby had no illnesses after birth, such as encephalitis or meningitis, and he or she was not born prematurely, then it is possible the cerebral palsy developed because of the mistake of a doctor or other health care provider at the time the baby was born. Medical errors which can lead to the cerebral palsy disorder include:
- Failure to perform a Caesarean section (C-section) in time to prevent damage and loss of oxygen to the baby’s brain
- Failure to control the pace of labor and delivery, so that it is prolonged and the infant is harmed
- Improper use of forceps or excessive use of vacuum extraction
- Failure to properly monitor the baby’s heart rate
- Failure to act quickly when signs of fetal distress first appear
- Failure to detect complications, such as the umbilical cord being wrapped around the baby’s neck
If you suspect that medical negligence caused your child’s brain injury, contact an attorney who has experience with what can be complicated malpractice cases. At the Louthian Law Firm, you’ll find compassionate, wise counsel. We’re a family-owned, family-focused firm serving those in South Carolina who have been injured by the negligence of others. Call (803) 454-1200 or use our online contact form.
Other Birth Injuries
There are a number of other situations which can cause birth injuries. Erb’s palsy is sometimes confused with cerebral palsy, but rather than being caused by a brain injury it is caused by an injury to the brachial plexus—the nerves surrounding the shoulder—during the birth process. Erb’s palsy is also called brachial palsy, Erb-Duchenned paralysis, or Klumpke paralysis. Characterized by weakness or paralysis of the arm, the disorder causes varying amounts of impairment. When the upper arm is the only part of the limb affected, the condition is simply called a brachial plexus injury. Whether your child suffers from cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy, or another injury caused by negligence during labor and delivery, the Louthian Law Firm is here to help.
How Can We Help?
The Centers for Disease Control estimates that the lifetime cost to care for an individual with CP is nearly $1 million. Managing cerebral palsy requires a wide range of treatments and therapies. According to United Cerebral Palsy, children who receive early intervention services such as physical and occupational therapy and other support services are likely to have an improved quality of life. Play therapy, vocational therapy and speech therapy may be required.
A person with cerebral palsy may need assistive mobility devices, such as a wheelchair, standing device, adaptive tricycle, or mechanical lift. Sometimes it is necessary to modify the car or home environment to make it more accessible.
As if that weren’t enough, there are times when surgery is required to treat orthopedic, hearing or vision problems caused by the cerebral palsy. Adding to the medical costs is the necessity of maintaining a drug regimen that could include anti-convulsants, anti-depressants, muscle relaxers and pain medication.
When cerebral palsy is found to be the result of a medical professional’s negligence, compensation obtained through a medical malpractice lawsuit can help the family provide the necessary and desired care which will enable their child to lead as full a life as possible.
Louthian Law Firm, On Your Side
At the Louthian Law Firm, we have 80 years of experience in all areas of personal injury law, and we’re committed to putting that experience to work for you while offering the personal service and understanding that families in crisis need.
If your child has cerebral palsy which could have resulted from a medical mistake, please contact us quickly so that your case is not prohibited by the statute of limitations. The initial consultation is free, and if you have a case, we handle it on a contingency fee basis. This means we don’t get paid unless we recover money for you. Call (803) 454-1200 to hold accountable the medical professionals who caused your child and your family to suffer the effects of cerebral palsy.