When a medical professional responsible for delivering a baby fails to do their job correctly, the baby can suffer from birth injuries. One of those injuries could be cerebral palsy – a brain disorder where parts of the brain don’t fully develop. The results can be a child having to live with a debilitating disability that could have been prevented. If medical negligence led to your child developing this disorder, Shrager & Sachs can help. A skilled Philadelphia cerebral palsy lawyer from our firm will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
Cerebral palsy, also known as CP, mostly affects a person’s movement and posture, but there can be other conditions as well. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC) states that those with CP may also suffer from seizures, sensory issues with impaired vision and hearing, trouble with speech, spinal changes like scoliosis, joint problems, and intellectual disabilities.
Parents or guardians of the infant can file a claim against the negligent party. It’s important to bring this forward as soon as possible so you’re not working against time, as these claims have a statute of limitations of two years from the date of injury. You may also be depending on your claim to help afford care for your child. At Shrager & Sachs, we will carefully investigate your case to see what mistakes were made and how they affected your baby’s development. We will help you seek justice and move forward.
How Does Medical Negligence Cause Cerebral Palsy?
While cerebral palsy can occur on its own, there are several ways a medical professional can endanger the baby. Lack of oxygen during birth can often cause infant brain damage and possibly result in CP. But endangerment can occur outside of the birthing process, too. Doctors can put the fetus in danger of developing CP before delivery and after the baby is born.
The following are ways that medical errors can cause CP:
- Doctors may fail to recognize and treat an expecting mother’s infection.
- Doctors can prescribe dangerous drugs that affect the development of the fetus.
- Medical professionals can try to delay a cesarean section procedure. Waiting too long can put both the mother and baby at risk of injury.
- Failure to detect a prolapsed umbilical cord.
- Not monitoring the fetus’ heart rate before and during delivery.
- Mishandling medical instruments like forceps or a vacuum.
- Failure to treat a newborn with severe jaundice.
If one of these errors happened to you or you believe another negligent reason caused your child’s disorder, you should speak with one of our cerebral palsy lawyers in Philadelphia as soon as possible.
CP Facts and Statistics
If your child has suffered from a birth injury that caused cerebral palsy, then you should know some information about the disorder. The CDC reports that CP is the most common motor disability that occurs in childhood. In the United States, about one in every 345 children are diagnosed with CP, and the prevalence is higher in children who are born premature or have a low birth weight.
In general, data shows that the occurrence of CP has declined over the years, but that doesn’t mean it no longer affects children and their families. According to the CDC, Black children are more likely to have CP than white or Hispanic children. Black children with cerebral palsy were also 1.7 times more likely to have little to no walking ability compared to white children with cerebral palsy.
Over half of the children who have this disorder are able to walk independently. 7.8 percent of children use a hand-held mobility device in order to help them walk. Just over 33 percent have little to no walking ability at all because of CP.
Studies showed that the medical costs for children with cerebral palsy were ten times higher than children without CP. If your child suffered from a medical error that resulted in their cerebral palsy, then you deserve justice for the physical, emotional, and financial damage that this negligence has caused your child and your family. Our Philadelphia cerebral palsy attorney is here to get you justice.
Types of Cerebral Palsy
There are three types of cerebral palsy and the classification depends on the main type of movement disorder. But people don’t always fit into these three categories. There are also instances of people with mixed CP types.
- Spastic. The most common form of this disorder, about 80 percent of people with CP have spastic cerebral palsy. Their muscles have increased tone, making them stiff. Motion and movements with affected areas can be awkward. Increased muscle tone can stiffen the legs, arms, and sometimes both at the same time. A person can also have stiffness in their trunk and face.
- Dyskinesia. This kind of CP makes controlling movement difficult and can manifest as slow or rapid motions. It affects arms, hands, legs, and feet, so people with this form of CP usually have trouble with walking and sitting. If the person’s head and tongue are affected they may also have difficulty with swallowing, sucking, and speaking.
- Ataxia. A person with this form of CP cannot balance or coordinate well. Walking, writing, and reaching for something may be everyday tasks that they struggle with.
Regardless of the CP type, if your child developed this life-altering disorder because of medical malpractice, you deserve to get justice. Our Philadelphia cerebral palsy lawyers will do everything, so you can give your child the care they need.
How Can You Identify CP?
Immediately after the birth, doctors may tell you there were complications during the delivery and the infant needs to undergo a treatment that uses an infant cooling cap. These are used when the baby didn’t get enough oxygen during birth. The cap can reduce the chances of the baby developing CP, but you should also note that this treatment may be necessary because someone acted negligently during birth.
There are other circumstances where you may not know if your baby has cerebral palsy if the hospital made a mistake during delivery. There are a few symptoms you can look for in your newborn.
For a baby under the age of six months, CP may present in a number of ways. If the baby feels too stiff or floppy, or if their head lags when you pick them up, it may be a sign of the disorder. Other signs you can look for are overextension of the back and neck when you’re cradling them.
As the baby gets older, the signs may be more apparent. After the six-month mark, you may notice if the baby has issues with rolling over, bringing hands to their mouth or together, or seems to favor one arm and hand over the other.
Damages You Can Recover for Your Child
Dealing with the physical, emotional, and financial damages of CP can be difficult, especially when your child suffered from this disorder as a direct result of a doctor’s medical negligence. In order to hold them accountable for your child’s injuries and life-long consequences, you should know what you can recover from them for their mistakes.
There’s not a set amount that you can recover from your child suffering from a birth injury that caused their cerebral palsy. That’s why it’s crucial to have lawyers on your side who can accurately calculate what you’re owed for the damages you incurred and future costs of care for your child. Your cerebral palsy attorney will help you claim the economic and noneconomic damages that apply to your case.
Economic damages are easier to calculate because they’re the expenses that come with a price tag. Documents, receipts, and bills are all proof of economic damages, and your lawyer will use these to determine exactly how much you’re owed. Your medical bills, costs of equipment, treatments, therapies, prescriptions, and future costs of care will all be factored into these damages.
As a parent, you can factor in lost wages from missing work from your child’s disorder. Other costs you can include are the prices of special education, other accommodations, and any modifications you made to your house or vehicle to assist your child’s needs.
Noneconomic damages are harder to determine but are just as real as economic damages. These are for the more abstract costs that your child’s disorder has caused them and your family. Pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and mental anguish can all be factored into the damages that you incurred from the doctor’s error.
You might still be wondering what you can recover from a claim against the doctor who caused all these damages to your child and family. Our Philadelphia cerebral palsy lawyer will break down exactly what happened to get to the bottom of what you’re owed. We understand that this is a vulnerable time in your life, which is why we’ll guide you through the legal process and answer any questions you have.
Get Help from a Philadelphia Cerebral Palsy Attorney
You can hold negligent hospitals and doctors accountable for their actions. Shrager & Sachs will be beside you throughout the process to help you stand up for your child. These injuries should have been prevented and your child’s life completely changed because of it.
We can help you get compensation for medical care, forms of therapy like occupational and physical, home accommodations, special education, and the emotional pain and suffering of the situation. Give us a call today to schedule a free consultation of your case.