Cerebral Palsy Cases
The most serious birth injury is Cerebral Palsy. Cerebral Palsy is a medical condition caused by a permanent injury to the developing brain which affects the baby’s muscular system and nervous system, and results in a loss of movement or other nerve function which does not improve over time.
Cerebral Palsy can occur either during pregnancy, during birth, or shortly after the birth of a baby. Cerebral Palsy often results from a difficult labor or from an improper method of delivery that caused a lack of oxygen, bleeding, head trauma, or other injury to the newborn baby.
Other medical issues contributing to the development of Cerebral Palsy include:
- RH Blood Incompatibility;
- Meningitis; or
- Other infections such as kidney infections, and urinary tract infections during the first few days following the birth of the baby.
Premature babies and low birth weight babies are at a particularly high risk of developing Cerebral Palsy. Some of these factors can be avoided by receiving proper pre-natal medical care, proper medical care during labor and during the delivery of the infant, as well as proper post-natal medical care.
The leading reasons that a Doctor’s negligence is responsible for Cerebral Palsy include:
- The Mother was not referred to a Specialist with a high risk pregnancy;
- The Doctor failed to diagnose fetal distress during labor;
- The Doctor misread fetal monitoring equipment;
- The Doctor incorrectly interpreted the fetal monitor strips;
- The Doctor failed to properly administer Oxytocin or Pitocin (a hormone used to stimulate contractions and induce or speed up labor) to the Mother;
- The Medical care providers failed to act in a timely manner when the Mother’s water broke, when there was bleeding, when labor did not progress, when the Mother’s blood pressure became elevated;
- The Physician waited too long to do a Cesarean Section or C Section (the delivery of a fetus by surgical incision through the abdominal wall and uterus);
- A Pediatrician was not present when the baby was delivered.
Some of the signs of Cerebral Palsy include:
- A lack of muscle control and body movement;
- Poor head control;
- Excessive stiffness or limpness;
- Difficulty sucking and feeding;
- The baby startles excessively; and
- A delay in motor development.
Children with Cerebral Palsy may suffer from spasms, visual problems, hearing problems, speech problems, learning problems, hyperactivity disorder, and seizures (in approximately 50% of children).
There are four types of Cerebral Palsy:
- Spastic Cerebral Palsy – the baby’s muscles are extremely tight so that patients have stiff movements and will often have difficulty letting go of objects in their hand. Spastic Cerebral Palsy affects different areas of the body and is categorized into five categories: Diplegia Spastic Cerebral Palsy, which affects both of the baby’s arms or both legs; Hemiplegia Spastic Cerebral Palsy, which affects the limbs of the baby on one side of the body; Quadriplegia Spastic Cerebral Palsy, which affects all of the baby’s limbs; Monoplegia Spastic Cerebral Palsy, which affects only one of the baby’s limb; and Triplegia Spastic Cerebral Palsy, which affects three of the baby’s limbs.
- Ataxic Cerebral Palsy – the baby’s muscles are extremely weak so that patients have unsteady movements and will often have very poor balance and be unable to walk steadily.
- Athetoid Cerebral Palsy – the baby’s muscles fluctuate between being extremely tight and extremely weak so that patients have involuntary movements in the face and arms and will often have difficulty holding themselves up; and
- Mixed Cerebral Palsy – the baby’s muscles are a combination of three types listed above so that the baby’s muscles are extremely tight, extremely weak, and fluctuate between being extremely tight and extremely weak.
There is no cure for Cerebral Palsy. However, various forms of therapy are available which can help ease the symptoms of Cerebral Palsy and they include:
- Orthopedist who can help with bone-muscle-tendon problems;
- Speech Therapists and Language Therapists who can help with communication problems;
- Physical Therapists who can improve strength and movement through exercises;
- Occupational Therapist who can help children function better in school or at work;
- Social Workers who can provide referrals to community resources available to the disabled; and
- Psychologists who can help patients and their families deal with the issues, challenges and stress of Cerebral Palsy.
There is financial assistance for victims of Cerebral Palsy. A child, under the age of three (3), qualifies for an early intervention program, which can provide services at the Program Center or in home. Children between the ages of three (3) and twenty-two (22) are entitled to special education services pursuant to both Maryland and Federal law.
These laws guarantee that a child with special needs has access to an educational program, including speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy and placement in public and private school programs.
The following services are also available:
- Respite Care, which provides families with relief from the daily care of the child. These services are offered through Maryland agencies and are often provided at no charge;
- Handicap License plates;
- Maryland Sales Tax/ExciseTax exemption for the vehicle;
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which is a Federal Government funded program which provides financial assistance to disabled children;
- Medicaid, which is a Federal Government funded program which can provide medical benefits to disabled children;
- Medical services for initial diagnostic evaluations through Neurology, Orthopedic and Cardiac clinics, which are often provided at no charge with financial assistance available beyond the initial evaluation.
In Maryland, compensation for the injuries caused by medical negligence includes an award of both economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages include medical expenses and Non-economic damages include pain, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, disfigurement, and other non-monetary injury.
Medical Malpractice cases in Maryland are complicated and have many nuances which can affect whether you may recover for the injuries and losses caused by the medical provider’s negligence.
My Firm knows and understands the dynamics of these cases and is well-versed in the many aspects of these types of medical negligence cases. I provide the level of expertise and sensitivity that is needed to handle these types of cases properly.
To get more information about whether you have a medical malpractice case, call me directly at 410-983-3022, complete the Contact box on the left side of this page, or email me directly.
You can also protect your case by reading my Free Medical Malpractice Fact Book.