Cerebral Palsy Lawyers - Medical Malpractice Compensation Settlements
Cerebral palsy is a non-contagious, non-progressive motor disorder that is usually caused by some type of anoxia at birth, prior to birth or shortly after birth. While it is the motor or muscle groups involved in the disease, the origin of the condition is in the brain. This is why it is called “cerebral” palsy. The motor areas of the brain are affected so that they don’t send the right signals to the muscles and they become atrophied, spastic and/or flaccid. The symptoms tend not to occur at the time of birth but show up between one and three years of age. Early physical and occupational therapy can help a child with cerebral palsy maximize his or her potential. Some cases of cerebral palsy are completely preventable, especially those that are related to birth trauma or child abuse.
Cerebral Palsy Lawyers
A cerebral palsy lawyer is a specialist personal injury advocate with expertise in medical malpractice compensation claims for cerebral palsy victims and their families. Most cases of cerebral palsy are not as a result of errors caused by healthcare professionals and it is a cerebral palsy lawyer’s job to distinguish between those cases that occur naturally and the 10% of cases that are the result of clinical negligence. Our cerebral palsy lawyers offer a wealth of experience and give free advice with no further obligation on liability and the potential value of a claim. Payment for services is based on a contingency fee basis which means that we get paid when you get paid. If the case is lost there is nothing whatsoever to pay. There are time limits in all personal injury compensation claims and failure to take legal action within the limitation period can mean that the opportunity to claim compensation is lost forever. If you have the slightest suspicion that your child’s condition has been caused by medical malpractice you should take legal advice from a cerebral palsy compensation claim lawyer as soon as your child’s diagnosis is confirmed by a doctor.
Cerebral Palsy Overview
Cerebral palsy has likely been around for tens of thousands of years. It wasn’t diagnosed as a specific disease, however until Dr. William Little wrote the first medical outline of a condition known as cerebral palsy in the late 1800s. It was first called “Little’s disease” but the name has since changed to cerebral palsy. Dr. Little noted that many children with cerebral palsy developed the condition following complicated deliveries and he was the first to connect the disease to a lack of oxygen during the birth process. Dr. Sigmund Freud believed that cerebral palsy was caused by intrauterine abnormalities before birth and that a complicated birth was complicated because the child was already affected by the disease. The truth, however, is that both doctors had the right idea.
It has since been found that there are many causes of cerebral palsy, some of which can be prevented. Early intervention in a difficult delivery can prevent Intrapartum anoxia. Conditions such as profound jaundice and rubella or German measles are completely preventable with the right maternal vaccinations. Advances in the psychological, physical and behavioral care of cerebral palsy can make a difference in the outcome of cerebral palsy patients. There are braces, medications and surgical interventions that can improve the coordination of the muscles and can help treat and prevent deformities of the limbs.
There are four different types of cerebral palsy. Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common type and affects between 70 and 80 percent of patients with the disease. The muscles are stiff and movement is difficult. Ataxic cerebral palsy involves a loss of depth perception and balance is impaired. In athetoid cerebral palsy, there are involuntary slow movements of the facial muscles or extremity muscles that are completely uncontrollable. In mixed cerebral palsy, there is a mixture of features seen in the disease.
The symptoms of cerebral palsy differ depending on the type of cerebral palsy is present. This, in turn, depends on the area of the brain affected. Most children have spasticity of the muscles that do not move properly due to stiffness. The stiffness happens because there is an abnormality of the upper motor neurons or those neurons above the level of the spinal cord. They can walk with a scissored gait or up on their toes with extension of the legs and inability to flex at the knee or extend at the ankles. This can be seen as soon as the child begins walking or can show up later in life, up to about age 3.
While there is no cure for cerebral palsy, there is treatment available that improves the child’s ability to function in society. If properly treated, many grow to adulthood and have nearly normal adult lives. The earlier the treatment starts, the better is the outcome. Treatment revolves around physical therapy for work on large motor skills, occupational therapy for work on small motor skills and doing tasks, and speech therapy to improve swallowing and speech. There is medication to control spasms of the muscles and surgery to correct abnormal extremities such as bowing of the legs.
Coping with Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy can impact the whole family. It begins around the age of 1-3 years but can show up sooner than that in severely impacted infants. Many infants and young children with this disease have increased muscle tone and spasticity of the extremities (either one to four extremities), difficulty swallowing, difficulty speaking and problems with vision and hearing. They often need to use a wheelchair or walk with a crutch or walker in order to get around. They may need help with feeding and with activities of daily living.
Families with children who have cerebral palsy need a great deal of support and encouragement in order to learn how to care for their disabled child. Some families need nursing support at home, such as a home health nurse who comes into the home and monitors the therapy and development of the child. A certified nursing assistant can help with the day to day activities such as bathing, feeding and helping with therapy exercises.
Children with cerebral palsy need therapeutic support by means of occupational, physical and speech therapy. Parents can cope with cerebral palsy better if they are involved in the therapeutic process and can participate in the physical therapy and occupational therapy using home exercises for their infant or child with cerebral palsy.
There can be many feelings of shock, anger and disbelief when you learn your child has cerebral palsy. It is time to get in touch with other parents of children with disabilities, which might be available as a support group in your city or hospital. Talking to a family therapist can help you adjust to having a disabled child and learn to have better coping skills to deal with what the day to day life will be like with a disabled child. Expectations for what your child can accomplish need to change and need to be more realistic, depending on how severe the child’s disability is.
Parents of children with cerebral palsy need to learn how to be effective advocates for their child with cerebral palsy. This means getting them the right kind of care and getting the insurance companies to pay for the care the child needs. You need to stay calm in the face of adversity and help find practical solutions to the difficulties the child faces. You need to tailor the therapy to meet your needs and, more importantly, your child’s needs so that he or she can grow and develop maximally.
As your child ages, you will need to deal with the educational system. Every child deserves an education that maximizes his or her potential and schools must provide that education. You need to be an advocate for a proper education for your child. This education can be in terms of special education if the child has cognitive delays or a regular education in a setting where the child has normal intelligence but needs help getting the information or getting around the school.
It may be overwhelming at first to begin to cope with a child who has cerebral palsy. The trick is to get help from medical staff, therapists and families of other children with cerebral palsy so that you can learn all you need to learn about the disease and can understand what it takes to give the child all he or she needs to reach his or her potential.