If a doctor diagnoses a child with cerebral palsy (CP), parents are often overwhelmed with questions about what to expect and how to handle their financial burden. Typically, there are many uncertainties when the child's condition affects the family's life. Our firm has collected a series of cerebral palsy injury FAQs related to the medical and legal aspects of an accident involving medical malpractice. Should you have additional questions, we invite you to contact our office for a free review of your legal rights.
Cerebral Palsy Facts
- Cerebral Palsy is the most common motor disability in children
- Cerebral Palsy affects newborns 0.4% of the time
- Cerebral Palsy is more frequent with males than females
- Cerebral Palsy affects African Americans more than White or Hispanic people-the latter two have roughly similar rates of this condition
- Nearly half of Cerebral Palsy patients have another condition like autism or epilepsy
- Risk factors for Cerebral Palsy include infections during pregnancy, premature births, or oxygen shortages during birth
- The lifetime cost of having Cerebral Palsy can be as much as $5,000,000 and can raise the cost of childcare by a factor of 10 or 20
How did my Newborn Develop Cerebral Palsy?
Medical science has yet to identify one specific reason why every child develops cerebral palsy. However, doctors know numerous ways children develop the medical condition. The child can sustain a brain injury at birth caused by oxygen deprivation that eventually leads to cerebral palsy. In some cases, the condition develops during pregnancy where the fetus is deprived of oxygen or experiences brain compression caused by a known or unknown factor.
Is Cerebral Palsy a Genetic Condition?
No. There are no genetic markers for cerebral palsy in any individual's DNA. Instead, the condition is often experienced before, during or after birth when the newborn experiences oxygen deprivation or some form of brain compression injury.
Is Cerebral Palsy Defined as a Muscle Disorder?
Doctors often recognize cerebral palsy in maturing children who have a challenging time maintaining balance and coordinating muscle movement, believing the problem is a muscle disorder. However, usually, it is a brain injury to the cerebellum that controls motor function. If the portion of the brain responsible for the body's muscular system is damaged, the child will experience a lack of coordinated muscle movement.
Is Cerebral Palsy Considered a Degenerative Disease?
No. CP is not considered a degenerative condition the tends to worsen over time. Instead, the symptoms of cerebral palsy are known to improve over time through the help of healthcare specialists including orthopedic surgeons, occupational therapists, psychologists, language therapy, speech therapy and consistent exercise.
Is Cerebral Palsy Considered Lethal?
Children and adults do not die from CP. However, the death of individuals with CP may result from a complication related to conditions associated with their disabilities. Some complications that lead to death include the child's inability to feed themselves or from being underweight or malnourished. The lack of muscle control could cause a life-threatening head injury without the use of proper safety equipment.
How Long are Children With Cerebral Palsy Expected to Live?
The life expectancy of individuals with CP varies greatly. If the newborn has other disabilities concurrently with cerebral palsy, the challenges to their survival could claim their life in a matter of days. That said, many children suffering disabilities and symptoms associated with cerebral palsy live long, healthy lives. Statistically, there is a 95% probability that the child will live past 20 years and maintain a relatively healthy life.
What are the Work Challenges Involved With Cerebral Palsy?
Since the passage of the ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) and the enactment of other state and local laws, businesses are required to make significant accommodations to individuals facing day-to-day functional challenges. These changes have improved in conditions for individuals with cerebral palsy to earn a living.
Is Cerebral Palsy Painful?
Every individual's cerebral palsy is different. However, most children with CP will experience relatively little pain from their condition. As they begin to grow into adulthood, they may experience intense pain in the back, ankles, knees and hips. Doctors often treat mild to severe pain and discomfort using preventative measures that might include correcting musculoskeletal abnormalities during the child's early years.
What is the Cure for Cerebral Palsy?
Medical science has yet to find a cure for CP. The brain damage that leads to CP is irreversible. Fortunately, equipment innovations and advancements in medical science have made improvements in quality of life for children and adults with CP.
Do Women Have Conditions That Increase the Potential of Having a Baby With Cerebral Palsy?
Yes. Statistics revealed that women suffering from a seizure disorder, mental retardation or thyroid disorder have a very slight increased potential for birthing a baby with cerebral palsy compared to women without one or more of these conditions.
Could the Child Develop Cerebral Palsy if the Mother Consumed Alcohol During Pregnancy?
Consuming alcohol during pregnancy can increase the risk of complications that lead to cerebral palsy and other congenital disabilities. To date, medical science has yet to establish a safe level of alcohol consumption while pregnant. Because of that, expectant mothers avoid drinking alcohol entirely until after the child is born and breastfed.
Is it Crucial to Identify What Caused the Child's Cerebral Palsy?
Most definitely. Typically, the cause of the child CP is the result of the doctor's improper actions or mistakes that occurred before, during or after the child's birth. Common doctor errors and mistakes with the development of CP include:
- Fetal distress during labor and delivery
- The doctor misused forceps or vacuum extraction devices during the delivery
- Prescribing a dangerous drug during the mother's pregnancy
- Administering a dangerous medication during labor or delivery
- Failing to diagnose obvious complications that could have prevented the child's oxygen deprivation or brain compression
What Assistive Equipment is Available for Cerebral Palsy Patients?
Doctors will recommend adaptive equipment and aids for individuals with physical limitations and disabilities. Common adaptive equipment and mobility devices include:
- Crutches and walkers
- Tricycles and bicycles designed for the child or adult's physical limitations
- Power, manual and sport wheelchairs
- Voice synthesizers
- Simple boards to help communicate
- Keyguards and head sticks to talk by pressing on computer keyboards
- Grab sticks
- Electronic door openers
Will my Insurance Policy pay for Ongoing Cerebral Palsy Expenses?
Possibly, the extent of coverage you receive is based on the details of your insurance policy. Unfortunately, many families' insurance carriers are unable or unwilling to cover the ongoing expenses associated with doctor bills, extensive therapies and adaptive equipment involved in treating CP.
Can I Expect Social Security to Cover my Cerebral Palsy Expenses?
Unfortunately, Social Security and other benefit programs do not cover all ongoing costs associated with providing care to a child or adult was CP. However, Social Security does pay a fraction of monthly expenses within a limited range of benefits.
Should I sue my Doctor for Malpractice?
If you believe your child suffered an injury at the hands of your doctor during pregnancy, labor, delivery or after the birth, then yes, you should consider suing for malpractice. Receiving financial compensation for an incident caused by the negligence of another will help your family afford the ongoing expenses of raising a child with cerebral palsy.
If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a birth injury or improper prenatal care may be connected to their condition. In order to determine if there is a viable case to pursue, it must be established that the negligence of the physicians or medical staff is responsible for the child’s cerebral palsy.
The evaluation process of a cerebral palsy case requires consultation with medical specialists, such as obstetricians and neurologists, working with a cerebral palsy lawyer to review the medical records. If the consulting physicians believe that there is evidence to support a claim, a medical malpractice lawsuit may then be pursued. Some of the medical records that may be reviewed are:
- Physician/Medical Records: prenatal care as well as labor and delivery facility records and physician care after birth
- Fetal Monitoring Strips: strips used during delivery and can provide evidence of fetal distress during childbirth
- Mother’s Prenatal Records: In order to determine if there were complications during the development of the child, the mother’s records may be reviewed
Can I Handle a Cerebral Palsy Case on my own?
Probably not. There are numerous factors in building a successful case for compensation to ensure you prove your claim. An attorney working on your behalf can review medical records, speak to eyewitnesses and investigate your claim to determine every defendant in the case. Identifying who is at fault for causing your child's injuries will ensure your family receives adequate monetary recovery.
How Much Does Your Law Firm Charge to Review Cerebral Palsy Cases?
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC is a personal injury law firm specializing in medical malpractice and provides every potential client an initial case consultation at no charge. Our team of attorneys will review your case, listen to your issues and offer numerous legal options. You are under no obligation to use our legal services and representation.
How can We Afford to Hire an Attorney for Our Cerebral Palsy Case?
The medical malpractice attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers accept all wrongful death lawsuits, medical malpractice cases and personal injury claims through contingency fee agreements. This arrangement postpones the payment for all legal services until after we have successfully resolved your legal matter in a court of law or through a negotiated out-of-court settlement.
Our legal team successfully resolves medical malpractice cases in Illinois. Our attorneys have a comprehensive understanding of complex civil tort law and will handle every aspect of your case. We are compassionate about your need to receive financial compensation now and will do everything in our power to make sure your case is resolved appropriately and in a timely manner. Contact us now at (888) 424-5757 so we can begin working on your case today.
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