You love your child. However, having a child with Cerebral Palsy (CP) requires additional patience and dedication that many other parents could hardly begin to fathom. Aside from helping your child with tasks that other kids begin to handle on their own, he or she may need additional support and guidance throughout his or her childhood and life. Unfortunately, these additional educational services, medical care, and other supportive services can be extremely expensive and remain outside of the reach of many families. However, if a medical mistake, medical negligence, or some other improper act caused your child’s Cerebral Palsy condition to develop, you may have the ability to secure the resources your child needs to reach his or her full potential and to ensure a high quality of life.
At Reiff & Bily, our personal injury attorneys believe that injury victims and their families should not be forced to subsidize the costs of careless or negligent behavior by medical professionals. Therefore, for more than three decades we have fought to hold parties responsible for birth injuries and other injuries financial accountable for their actions. To schedule a free and confidential initial legal consultation, call Reiff & Bily at (215) 274-0072 today or contact us online.
What Is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a condition that occurs in infancy or early childhood. The condition is caused by damage to portions of a baby’s developing brain that control muscle coordination, motor skills, and movement. Cerebral Palsy can cause problems with walking, crawling, balancing, speech, swallowing and chewing, and with bowel and bladder functions. Learning disabilities, mental retardation, behavioral problems, hearing and visual impairment, seizures, muscle spasticity, muscle rigidity, and muscle weakness may also be caused by cerebral palsy.
How Does Cerebral Palsy Develop?
Usually the damage done to a baby’s brain that results in Cerebral Palsy occurs at three distinct stages: during pregnancy, following labor and delivery, or within the first three years of a child’s life.
During pregnancy maternal infections and exposure to toxins and harmful drugs may cause cerebral palsy. Children that are deprived of oxygen during labor, and are subject to other birth injuries caused by medical mistakes and negligence can also leave children with cerebral palsy. Infants and toddlers that contract brain infections like bacterial meningitis or viral encephalitis, are born prematurely or with severe jaundice, sustain serious head injuries, are exposed to lead or other toxins, or have bleeding in the brain are also at a risk for developing cerebral palsy.
Mistakes made at birth may unfortunately leave parents and children to deal with the devastating effects of cerebral palsy and resulting birth injury. Throughout labor, doctors, nurses, midwives, and other medical staff must closely monitor the health and condition of your baby. Medical professionals should be able to determine if your baby is experiencing fetal distress, is lacking oxygen or is exhibiting other troublesome signs by regularly checking fetal monitor strips, baby monitors, or by administering stress tests. If doctors fail to recognize signs signaling that your child is distressed or running out of oxygen, he or she may suffer severe brain damage and a resulting birth injury with adverse lifetime consequences. Unfortunately, there are numerous accounts of doctors failing to deliver a distressed baby quickly enough causing the child to develop Cerebral Palsy.
How Do You Determine if a Birth Injury Caused Your Child’s Cerebral Palsy?
It can be difficult to determine if your child has been deprived oxygen or developed cerebral palsy immediately following a complicated delivery. In fact, many children are not diagnosed until they are around three years old. However, an early sign of brain damage is seizures. Typically, people think seizures mean a body shaking or convulsing uncontrollably. However, seizures may present themselves in infants as a blank stare, slowed or stopped breathing, rapid blinking, nodding of the head, loss of muscle tone, a loud pitched cry, tightening of an arm or leg, shivering, or lip smacking. Other early signs of brain damage and cerebral palsy include delays in reaching developmental milestones, delay in crawling or walking, trouble sitting upright, floppy muscle tone, or walking on toes.
Parents should resist the urge to diagnosis their child and seek professional medical guidance. Ideally, this medical opinion should be rendered by an independent doctor who did not play a role in the birthing process or other aspects of the baby’s care. Furthermore, the parents should attempt to find a medical doctor who is experienced in diagnosing the condition.
How is Cerebral Palsy Managed Throughout a Child’s Life?
People suffering from Cerebral Palsy will often require life-long care and costly treatment such as physical and occupational therapy, speech therapy, surgeries, and treatment for muscle spasms, pain, and epilepsy. People with Cerebral Palsy may also need help with mobility and require wheelchairs, crutches, leg braces, and orthotic devices. Caring for an individual with cerebral palsy can cost over $1 million throughout the course of an individual with cerebral palsy’s life. Unfortunately, this $1 million dollar figure does not include outpatient care, family out of pocket expenses, specialized education costs, rehabilitations costs, residential care, or emergency visits. Furthermore, the figure does not consider the child’s loss of ability to work and earn money and support him- or herself throughout his or her life due to the condition.
Work With a Philadelphia Cerebral Palsy and Birth Injury Lawyer
The experienced birth injury team at Reiff & Bily, along with our team of doctors and nurses has seen firsthand what carelessness, negligence, and medical mistakes in the delivery room can result in. We understand that what can start out as a normal, happy and exciting labor, can quickly turn into a nightmare in the delivery room. Doctors, obstetricians, nurses, midwives, and other medical staff may be at fault for your child developing Cerebral Palsy, and our Philadelphia birth injury lawyers will seek out a qualified and credible team of physicians, nurses, and birth injury experts to determine who should be held responsible for your pain, suffering, and the medical costs you will face.
If your child was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy due to complications during birth or you believe mistakes in the hospital were made, you may be entitled to compensation not just for the pain and agony you are faced with now, but also to ensure your child will be able to receive the best medical care for the rest their life. Our Cerebral Palsy and birth injury lawyers understand the value of one’s lost hopes and dreams and are greedy for justice when it comes to holding the wrongdoers accountable. Contact one of our birth injury lawyers for a free consultation and we can help put you on the road to healing and happiness. To schedule a free and confidential initial consultation call (215) 274-0072 or contact us online today.