Each year, thousands of babies and infants are diagnosed with cerebral palsy. While some children develop the condition as a consequence of premature birth or viral infection, it can also be caused by medical negligence. If you suspect that your child’s condition was caused by medical malpractice or a health care professional’s negligence, you may be able to take action.
What Causes Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy is often caused by injuries sustained before, during, or shortly after birth. While doctors cannot identify a definite cause for every case of cerebral palsy, it is typically associated with oxygen deprivation in labor or delivery.
Oxygen deprivation can be caused by:
- The umbilical cord being wrapped around the baby’s neck during delivery
- The umbilical cord being twisted, deformed, or compressed
- Problems with the placenta
When complications arise during labor or delivery, doctors have to think on their feet and react quickly. If a physician cannot take swift action, or they make a critical mistake, a newborn may be cut off from oxygen for so long that their brain is permanently damaged. This can result in cerebral palsy, among other problems.
Warning Signs and Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is most likely to occur in certain circumstances. Risk factors include, but are not limited to:
- Low birth weight
- Viral infections or diseases that are passed from mother to fetus
- Alcohol abuse during pregnancy
- Drug abuse during pregnancy
- Physical trauma
- Birth and labor complications
When a baby has cerebral palsy, their brain’s physiological development may be permanently stunted. This stunting often manifests in physical and cognitive irregularities. However, cerebral palsy is not always immediately noticeable. It may take even attentive parents months or years to realize that their baby is different.
Since cerebral palsy prevents the brain from controlling certain parts of the body, signs and symptoms of it may include:
- Weakened muscles
- Unexplained seizures or body tremors
- Problems seeing, hearing, or speaking
- Learning disabilities
- Behavioral problems
- Stunted development
- Other difficulties
Children with cerebral palsy usually do not have every possible symptom of the syndrome. However, symptoms can co-manifest, and many children with cerebral palsy will have more than one problem.
Living With Cerebral Palsy
Some people with cerebral palsy can live normal lives.
Unfortunately, cerebral palsy frequently causes great pain and suffering—for parents, for those diagnosed with it, and for the entire family. This is because cerebral palsy’s signs and symptoms, while not all individually debilitating, can nonetheless combine to make life incredibly difficult. Some children and adults with cerebral palsy cannot live independently and may require near-constant attention, care, and supervision.
Simply identifying, treating, and dealing with childhood cerebral palsy can be very expensive, even for families with good health insurance. Ensuring your baby’s life-long well-being, from infancy into adulthood, can be financially and emotionally challenging. The cost of care can easily run into six and seven figures.
How a Personal Injury Lawsuit Can Help
Everyone knows that, as great as American health care may be, it is also very, very expensive.
If your child’s cerebral palsy was caused by physician malpractice, you should not have to bear the burden alone. After all, somebody else’s mistake irreversibly changed your child’s life—and yours, too.
While you cannot turn back the clock, a personal injury lawsuit can help you recover the damages needed to provide for your child in the long-term. You may be able to get compensation for past, current, and future expenses, such as:
- Medical bills. All of your expenses should be covered, from regular visits to the doctor to the costs of medical supplies and prescription medications.
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy. Children often need therapy for physical, speech-related, and cognitive developmental problems.
- Lost income. You may lose money because you need to take time away from work to care for your child. Your child, likewise, may be deprived of the chance to ever get a regular, well-paying job.
- Pain and suffering. Cerebral palsy causes tens of thousands of families untold hardship. While no amount of money is worth your child’s well-being, a settlement can help make things right.
How an Attorney Can Help
An experienced California cerebral palsy attorney knows how to work with physicians, hospitals, and their insurers to get you a fair settlement.
Many health care professionals, such as doctors and physician’s assistants, are required by law to carry medical malpractice insurance. Although most doctors are well-trained professionals, they still make mistakes. Their malpractice insurance is meant to take care of patients who are hurt through acts of negligence.
Your attorney will help you file a medical malpractice claim—and, if necessary, take the responsible physician to court, along with anyone else who may be liable for your baby’s cerebral palsy. If you believe your child’s cerebral palsy was caused by a negligent physician, contact us today.