Attorneys For Cerebral Palsy Cases
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a disorder that causes loss of motor function, and it may affect body movement, muscle control, muscle coordination, muscle tone, reflex, posture and balance. CP can also impact fine motor skills, gross motor skills, and oral motor functioning. CP can be caused by injury to the brain before, during, or immediately after birth.
Frequently, these birth injuries occur as a result of a doctor’s failure to exercise reasonable care in the months leading up to the delivery, at delivery, or immediately following delivery.
Common Causes Of Cerebral Palsy
In medical malpractice cases involving cerebral palsy, the condition is typically caused by the brain being deprived of oxygen during the delivery. This is called an anoxic injury. Frequent causes of cerebral palsy that may give rise to a claim for medical malpractice include:
- Failure to diagnose or treat infections in the mother during the course of the pregnancy or during delivery
- Failure to properly monitor the fetal heart rate during delivery or to properly interpret and respond to fetal monitoring strips showing fetal distress
- Failure to plan for cesarean section when a baby is so large that it is likely to get stuck as it passes through the birth canal
- Misuse or misapplication of forceps or vacuum extractors in delivering the baby
All of these medical errors may result in an anoxic injury to the baby’s brain, which in turn may lead to the development of cerebral palsy.
What Are Symptoms Of Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy symptoms can vary with the child’s age. A child who is not yet six months old may overextend his or her head while being cradled. Also, the child’s body may be overly floppy or stiff.
If the child is over six months old, then he or she may be unable to roll over to the left and right or have difficulty bringing his or her hands together or to the mouth. And for children who are more than a year old, the inability to crawl or stand with assistance could signal the presence of cerebral palsy.
When a child suffers from cerebral palsy, he or she may not achieve important developmental milestones in a normal time frame. These milestones can include the ability to smile, play with others and point at objects. If you observe that your child’s development appears to be lagging, it is a good idea to have a physician conduct a thorough examination. And if the exam reveals the existence of cerebral palsy, you have a right to know what may have caused the condition.
If you suspect that your child developed cerebral palsy due to the negligent actions of a physician or other medical professional, you may want to ask an attorney to look into the matter. Depending on the severity of your child’s symptoms, he or she may need expensive, long-term treatment. The attorney could work to discover who holds liability and help you get compensation to help defray your costs of care.
Diagnosing Cerebral Palsy
If your baby is having issues with movement or seems to be slow in reaching developmental benchmarks, it would be very wise to take him or her to a doctor for a diagnosis. Often, such symptoms are things the baby will grow out of and not long-term issues. However, if the baby has developed cerebral palsy, he or she may need special care.
To diagnose CP, a doctor will assess the baby’s complete medical history and perform a physical exam. The doctor also evaluates the baby’s symptoms and performs a thorough neurological exam. In addition, the doctor may order other forms of tests, which could include the following:
- Taking blood samples, the results of which can be used to rule out other conditions, including bleeding disorders, which may produce symptoms similar to CP.
- An MRI scan, which employs radio waves and powerful magnets to create precise brain images. An MRI scan can pinpoint any brain abnormalities or injuries.
- A CT scan, which produces cross-sectional brain images and can reveal brain damage.
- An Electroencephalogram test, which evaluates the brain’s electrical activity.
If your baby is diagnosed with CP, it is very important to trace its origin. It is possible that the baby suffered the injury due to negligence on behalf of a doctor or other healthcare professional involved in the delivery.
Proving Medical Negligence In A Cerebral Palsy Case
Not all cases of cerebral palsy are the result of medical malpractice. Our experienced Indianapolis cerebral palsy attorneys can work with medical experts to ascertain whether medical negligence played a role in the injury suffered by your child. It is important to understand the elements required to make a successful cerebral palsy birth injury claim, which are duty, breach, causation, and damages. Here is a brief explanation of each term:
- Duty refers to the legal obligation held by everyone who helped deliver your baby.
- Breach refers to a failure to meet the accepted standards of care during a procedure.
- Causation refers to your ability to demonstrate the connection between the healthcare provider’s failure to provide acceptable care and the development of the condition.
- Damages refer to proving that the condition, in this case, cerebral palsy, actually exists.
While these elements seem straightforward, putting together a successful medical malpractice suit can be a complex process. Often it requires carefully assessing medical records and getting the opinions of medical experts. These are all tasks that an experienced birth injury attorney can perform for you.
Get Answers To Your Cerebral Palsy Questions
At Garau Germano, P.C., we have pursued claims for brain injury at birth resulting in cerebral palsy throughout the state of Indiana. We have the experience and resources necessary to thoroughly investigate these claims and pursue them through trial if necessary. Cerebral palsy can be a devastating condition, requiring lifetime medical care. If a patient develops CP as a result of a health care provider’s negligence, we can work to hold the health care provider accountable for the injury.