Cerebral Palsy Attorneys in Charleston, IL
Fighting for Birth Injury Victims Throughout Coles County
You have just received a devastating diagnosis: your baby has cerebral palsy. No one seems to be able to tell you why this happened, but you have heard that a mistake during delivery could be the cause.
Approximately 20 percent of children diagnosed with cerebral palsy developed the condition due to a brain injury that occurred during the birthing process. The birth injury lawyers at The Tapella & Eberspacher Law Firm can help you uncover the cause of your child's cerebral palsy and hold any negligent parties accountable.
To learn about your right to a cerebral palsy lawsuit, call The Tapella & Eberspacher Law Firm today at (217) 394-5885.
What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy is a physical disability that affects movement, balance, and posture. It is a common childhood motor disorder, affecting 1 in 500 children. The symptoms and severity of cerebral palsy can vary greatly from person to person.
There are four main types of cerebral palsy:
- Spastic. Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common form. Increased muscle tone leads to stiff, awkward movements. This type affects muscles in groups, commonly impacting either one side of the body, the legs, or all four limbs, as well as the core and face.
- Dyskinetic. Dyskinetic cerebral palsy is characterized by uncontrollable movements. Muscle tone can change from too tight to too loose on a rapid basis and results in jerky or writhing movements of the hands, arms, legs, and feet.
- Ataxic. Ataxic cerebral palsy results in unsteady walking and difficulty with movements that require great control. This type affects balance, coordination, and depth perception.
- Mixed. Mixed cerebral palsy combines symptoms of more than one of the previous types. The most common form of mixed CP is spastic-dyskinetic.
What Causes Cerebral Palsy?
While it was once believed that oxygen deprivation during delivery was the primary cause of cerebral palsy, it is now understood that this accounts for only about nine percent of cases. In the remaining cases, premature birth, complications during birth, and problems occurring immediately after birth can cause the brain damage that results in cerebral palsy.
- Lack of oxygen. Asphyxia and oxygen deprivation are estimated to only account for 6 to 8 percent of cerebral palsy cases, but it can happen. Umbilical cord issues, breech delivery, maternal shock, and a prolonged delivery can all cause a lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain.
- Delayed delivery or C-section. When a doctor ignores warning signs and waits too long to deliver a baby, complications can arise.
- Ignored signs of fetal distress. If doctors overlook signs of distress in the baby, they may be unprepared to respond to the baby’s needs after birth in a timely manner.
- Improper use of instruments. The baby can suffer brain injuries if a doctor uses medical instruments unnecessarily or inappropriately. This is most commonly seen when forceps or a vacuum is used during birth.
- Failure to recognize potential risks before birth. There are a number of risk factors that medical professionals should address with the mother. These include maternal age, exposure to toxins, and general health.
It may be hard for parents to know if their child suffered due to any of these issues. Some other warning signs include bruising or discoloration on the baby, the need for breathing assistance at birth, or a stay in a neonatal intensive care unit. In some cases, symptoms of cerebral palsy present themselves later.
Contact us at (217) 394-5885 to discuss your cerebral palsy lawsuit.
Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy
Depending on the type and severity of brain damage that has occurred, children with cerebral palsy may experience the following:
- Lack of muscle control and coordination
- Difficulty breathing
- Lack of bladder or bowel control
- Difficulty eating
- Visual impairment or blindness
- Hearing loss
- Food aspiration (the sucking of food or fluid into the lungs)
- Gastroesophageal reflux (spitting up)
- Speech problems
- Tooth decay
- Sleep disorders
- Osteoporosis (weak, brittle bones)
- Behavior problems
- Intellectual disabilities
There is no cure for cerebral palsy and treatment is focused on helping the person become as independent as possible through therapy, rehabilitation, and home health care.
Compensation for Cerebral Palsy
When a child is diagnosed with a disability like cerebral palsy, parents can feel overwhelmed. In addition to addressing important medical issues, parents may be worried about paying for their child’s expensive care. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that the care of a person with cerebral palsy will be approximately $1 million during his lifetime.
If you feel your child’s cerebral palsy is the result of medical negligence by the doctor, nurse, or other hospital staff, it is possible to recover damages—money the law requires a party to pay for a breach of duty. While every case is different, it may be possible to be awarded compensation for:
- Medical expenses. A child with cerebral palsy requires doctor or hospital visits, tests, medication, surgeries, and other medical care.
- Medical equipment and devices. Depending on the severity of the disability, it can be necessary to modify a home or car. Children can also require special equipment fitted to their individual needs such as wheelchairs or crutches.
- Future medical expenses. Children diagnosed with cerebral palsy will require a lifetime of care. Caregivers will need to plan for the future, as well as address current medical needs.
- Physical therapy. A variety of physical treatments can both provide comfort and strengthen muscles.
- Mental health support. The mental and emotional stresses of living with a disability can increase, especially as the child grows older. Mental health specialists can contribute to the child’s sense of well-being and general mental health.
- Occupational therapy. Therapists can work with children to create and foster as much independence and self-care as possible.
- Speech therapy. Speech therapy can help a child strengthen mouth muscles and tongue. This can both improve communication and aid in feeding. This is important as up to 35 percent of children with cerebral palsy are malnourished.
- Punitive damages. Considered punishment for the liable party, these damages can be awarded against the doctor, hospital, or other provider responsible for the disability.
Compensation can provide families with some relief from the stresses that accompany raising a child with a disability and be vital in helping the child live a happy, productive life. Not all cases of cerebral palsy are preventable, but it is important to determine if a medical mistake was made. If your child’s cerebral palsy was avoidable, you are entitled to compensation.
Don’t face your child’s uncertain future without at least finding out if you might be able to recover damages. Fill out our online contact form now.
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