Cerebral palsy is a chronic medical condition caused by damage to the developing brain. It often occurs from difficult labor or problems during delivery that cause lack of oxygen, bleeding, head trauma or other injury.
Birth injuries that may result in brain damage include:
- Failure to order a C-Section in a timely manner
- Excessive use of a vacuum extractor
- Failure to treat seizures following birth
- Improper delivery
An estimated 6,000 to 10,000 infants and children are diagnosed with cerebral palsy each year. Cerebral palsy's motor component can affect just the lower limbs or all four limbs. Children affected may also suffer from other problems such as vision and/or hearing loss, mental retardation, difficulty swallowing, learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders.
Building a Cerebral Palsy Case
To be successful in these cases the legal team must work closely with experts in fields of obstetrics, maternal & fetal medicine, neonatology, pediatric neurology, neuro-imaging, child development, rehabilitation, vocational placement and economic analysis of past and future loss. With respect to economic loss, the costs providing proper care for a child over a lifetime can exceed millions of dollars. If your child has CP you must consider whether it is the result of negligence on the part of the doctor who managed your pregnancy and/or labor or delivery.
Mr. Portner's father is still a practicing ob-gyn in Colorado. With the help of his father's medical experience of over forty years, he has spent a considerable amount of time learning and evaluating issues in this area of law. While going over issues in these cases with his father's colleagues, he has gained access to some of the leading experts in this field of medicine.
Learning that a newborn child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy is one of the greatest fears of expecting parents. A diagnosis of cerebral palsy often means that a child could suffer from a number of potentially crippling disabilities, including muscular deformity, involuntary movement, seizures, speech disorders and mental retardation for the rest of their lives.
Although a specific cause of cerebral palsy has not been pinpointed, the general consensus is that cerebral palsy is brought on by some form of injury to the brain of the infant before, during or shortly after birth. Fortunately for those that suffer from cerebral palsy and their parents, awards in cerebral palsy cases are usually substantial because of the long-term effect of the condition and the high cost of medical care associated with the disorder.
Local Cerebral Palsy Litigation
In Frederick County, a jury recently yielded an award of close to four million dollars to the family of a child diagnosed with cerebral palsy after birth. In this case, the mother, who was eight months pregnant at the time, began to complain of severe and persistent pain and vomiting. After alternative treatments were attempted, the child was born via cesarean section hours after the mother's complaints.
Upon birth, the child demonstrated signs of oxygen deprivation to the brain, which is commonly associated with cerebral palsy. At trial, the family alleged that the failure of the attending physicians to properly evaluate, diagnose and treat the mother was the cause of the child's cerebral palsy. The jury agreed with the family, and rendered an award of nearly four million dollars for past and future medical expenses, future lost income and non-economic damages.
Taking Action for Your Child and Your Family
If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a number of factors may indicate that the condition has been caused or exacerbated by medical negligence. Common indicators of medical negligence shown shortly after birth are if a child is under-oxygenated or has bluish skin, seizures, trouble breathing or an abnormal fluctuation of body temperature. Use of vacuum extraction and heart rate abnormalities are also indicators of medical negligence.
Other factors that could indicate medical negligence are whether the attending physicians addressed changes in the condition of the pregnant mother, whether physicians addressed changes in the condition of the fetus, whether a cesarean section was ordered in a timely manner and whether there is a family history of brain damage.
If you or your child suffers from cerebral palsy and you believe that the condition was a result of medical negligence, you should contact a medical malpractice attorney immediately. Attorneys at Portner & Shure have many years of experience providing aggressive representation for the victims of cerebral palsy and other forms of medical malpractice in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. Contact us online or call us locally at (410) 995-1515 or (301) 854-9000 (Maryland), (703) 916-1227 (Virginia) or (202) 554-1449 (Washington, D.C.) for a free consultation.