About Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is the term used for a group of neurological disorders that affect body movement, posture, and muscle coordination. Some children with the disorder also have sensory, communicative, and developmental impairments that may limit their ability to perform normal self-care tasks. The condition is often attributed to damage in areas of the brain that control the nerves that regulate muscle function.
There are a number of potential causes for this brain damage, including gene mutations affecting fetal brain development, maternal infections, perinatal arterial stroke, infant infections, traumatic head injury, or a lack of oxygen to the brain. Oxygen deprivation is often related to a difficult labor or delivery, and may involve negligence. Medical malpractice may be implicated if a doctor or other practitioner caused or contributed to a problem that occurred during the gestation or birth.
Examples of these mistakes can include:
- Failure to detect or treat a dangerous health condition or infection occurring during gestation, such as meningitis
- Failure to order diagnostic tests or a misreading of test results
- Improper use of the drug Pitocin® to stimulate labor
- Failure to detect a prolapsed umbilical cord
- Failure to monitor fetal heartbeat and other vital signs during delivery
- Failure to detect and respond to mother’s blood pressure changes during gestation or delivery
- Failure to plan and schedule a cesarean section required by the baby’s size or position
- Delay or failure to perform an emergency cesarean section based on medical necessity
- Negligent use of a vacuum, forceps, or other instrument causing head trauma in the infant
In some cases, brain damage occurs after birth, in the neonatal unit. Negligent care or monitoring of premature newborns has been linked to brain damage caused by accidents, untreated jaundice, and equipment failures.
Although most effected babies are born with cerebral palsy, a child’s diagnosis may be delayed for many years. In some cases, the child is a toddler or preschooler before the condition is formally diagnosed. Oklahoma’s statute of limitations laws take this time delay into account for birth injury cases. A cerebral palsy lawsuit can be filed in Oklahoma up to seven years after the time the injury occurred.
Effects on Quality of Life
It is devastating for any parent to learn a child has been catastrophically injured by a preventable accident. Most children with cerebral palsy can live long, productive lives, but ongoing medical care will almost certainly be involved.
Depending upon the degree of brain damage, symptoms of cerebral palsy will range from very mild to quite severe. In addition to abnormal muscle tone and movement, symptoms and disabilities may include:
- Skeletal deformities, including shortened limbs
- Intellectual disability
- Seizures, affecting about one third of cerebral palsy cases
- Speech problems
- Swallowing problems, making eating and drinking difficult
- Hearing loss
- Vision problems, such as an eye turn (strabismus), seen in three-quarters of cerebral palsy patients
- Lack of bowel or bladder control
- Dental and oral health issues
Coping with cerebral palsy can be extremely difficult for many families. The difficulties associated with special needs children can produce an extraordinary amount of stress, which is exacerbated by the ongoing costs of supportive care. In severe cases, the child will require significant assistance to perform everyday functions such as eating and walking. Comprehensive expenses for medical care, special education services, and developmental assistance can add up quickly. Parents must also consider the future needs of their adult child. There may be assisted living requirements and a need for care long after the parents are gone.
It takes a seasoned medical malpractice firm to protect your best interests and help you collect full and just compensation. Our reputation is backed by a strong record of results, including a number of multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements for medical malpractice cases.
Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
If you believe a healthcare provider or medical facility may be responsible for your child's condition, it is imperative to consult with an attorney who can help you collect the compensation you need - and the financial support your child deserves. In a severe birth injury case, legal damages can be extensive, including ongoing medical care, lost wages, and pain and suffering. At The Tawwater Law Firm, we utilize expert resources to thoroughly substantiate our clients’ damages, including those anticipated well into the future.
Although many cerebral palsy cases involve medical error, demonstrating liability can be extremely difficult. The facts of these cases are often highly technical and must be analyzed and interpreted by medical experts. To prove your medical malpractice case, your attorney must provide clear evidence of negligence on the part of a healthcare provider. It must be shown that his or her action or inaction resulted in treatment that falls below a standard of care, and that this likely caused the injury to your baby.
The Tawwater Law Firm's experienced attorneys anticipate defense strategies and move proactively to deflect them. We also utilize experts to interpret data and other crucial evidence that demonstrates negligent care. It takes a seasoned medical malpractice firm to protect your best interests and help you collect full and just compensation. Our reputation is backed by a strong record of results, including a number of multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements for medical malpractice cases.
Seek Experienced Counsel
Our knowledgeable attorneys can help your family achieve justice. If you believe that negligence on the part of a medical professional may be responsible for your family's suffering, contact our office to schedule a consultation today.