Cerebral Palsy Lawyer - Medical Malpractice Compensation Claim
Most cases of cerebral palsy occur naturally as a birth injury and do not involve medical malpractice however a small percentage of these cases are most definitely caused by negligence on the part of healthcare professionals. If you have any reason whatsoever to suspect that your child's condition has been caused by an error amounting to medical malpractice on the part of any healthcare professional, be it a doctor, midwife, nurse or technician please contact our cerebral palsy lawyers without delay. There are time limits on claims against medical staff, hospitals and clinics and delay can preclude an award of compensation. Our medical malpractice lawyers offer a free consultation without obligation to establish whether or not you have a viable case to claim compensation for your child's injuries. Please contact us without delay by completion of the contact form or you can email our offices and a cerebral palsy lawyer will call you.
Cerebral Palsy Definition
Cerebral palsy is a non-progressive motor disease that occurs at birth or within the first few months of birth. It is not contagious and has many causes. It is one of the most common birth injuries; however, the cause can occur prior to or after birth, depending on the situation. It causes changes in human development, particularly in the area of motor skills.
The defect that causes cerebral palsy is not within the muscles themselves but with the brain, which has often suffered from an anoxic episode. Cerebral palsy can look like but is not the same as quadriplegia, spastic diplegia or paraplegia. Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the motor centers of the brain as it is developing. Such damage can occur up until the age of three years and still be called cerebral palsy. It limits posture and the mobility of the extremities and limits speech in some situations. Cognition or intelligence can also be affected and patients can suffer from concomitant epilepsy, depending on the circumstances. Whilst most children who suffer from this condition aquire it naturally, there are many cases where the cause is as a result of medical malpractice. If you believe that the treatment given to you or your child may have caused or contributed to this condition, our cerebral palsy lawyers will be pleased to discuss the matter with you at no cost and with no further obligation.
There are four major subtypes of cerebral palsy. The most common is spastic cerebral palsy, which makes up 70-80 percent of all cases of CP. These patients have an elevated muscle tone and contractures of the extremities affected. This is because the lesion is termed an "upper motor neuron lesion", meaning the damage is occurring above the level of the spinal cord, usually in the brain. Spastic cerebral palsy is easier to manage than other types of cerebral palsy, with better physical therapy options available. Spastic cerebral palsy is divided into spastic hemiplegia (one side of the body is affected), spastic diplegia (just the lower extremities are spastic), spastic monoplegia (one limb only is affected), spastic triplegia (three limbs affected) and spastic quadriplegia (all four limbs affected). In spastic diplegia, triplegia and quadriplegia, the children often walk with a scissors gait associated with spasticity of the lower extremities. Spastic cerebral palsy causes muscle spasms that are uncontrollable and an inability to make the muscles move on their own. Physical therapy and antispasmodic medications can help improve the mobility of the muscles.
Ataxia type cerebral palsy occurs in only ten percent of cases. These individuals have hypotonia of the muscles (weak muscles) and they often have a tremor. It can affect all aspects of motor skills, including writing, balance and walking. Vision and hearing are also commonly affected in this type of cerebral palsy.
In athetoid or dyskinetic cerebral palsy, there is both increased and decreased muscle tone so that they cannot hold themselves upright and have slow involuntary movements of the body and extremities, known as athetoid movements. They often cannot track where their hand is going and miss the mark when trying to scratch their nose, for example. Fine motor control is the most affected by this type of cerebral palsy.
Hypotonic cerebral palsy is just the opposite of hypertonic or spastic cerebral palsy. The muscles are limp and unable to move properly. The basis of physical therapy is to strengthen the muscles so they work better but, unfortunately, it doesn't work as well as one might think.
Cerebral palsy has no specific cure and the treatment of CP is designed to help the patient with CP function better within their limitations and to maximize their strengths. The cost is enormous in order to do this. It costs around $1,000,000 to take care of a CP patient, including loss of income when caring for the cerebral palsy patient. The incidence of cerebral palsy is slightly over 2 per 1,000 live births and the rate has risen slightly in recent years. The best way to manage cerebral palsy is to prevent its occurrence in the first place by having improvements in the care of preterm infants, delivering infants and even normal newborns. The increase in rate of this disease is the increase in survival of very low birth weight infants, who are more likely to have cerebral palsy.