If you believe a Cleveland doctor caused a birth injury such as cerebral palsy, contact attorney Tom Robenalt today for a free consultation. Your child may be entitled to compensation, but Ohio limits the amount of time that you can file a medical malpractice claim, so it’s important to have someone review the evidence and start building a case on your behalf right away.
What Is Cerebral Palsy?
As the Cerebral Palsy Alliance has stated, “Cerebral palsy is an umbrella term that refers to a group of disorders affecting a person’s ability to move. It is due to damage to the developing brain either during pregnancy or shortly after birth.”
According to one study, it’s the most common severe physical disability among children.
Cerebral Palsy Symptoms
The Mayo Clinic has said that symptoms can vary from one child to another. Indicators include:
- Rigid or floppy muscles
- Spasticity, which WebMD defined as “a muscle control disorder that is characterized by tight or stiff muscles and an inability to control those muscles”
- Rigidity, or hypertonia, which Disabled World defined as “an abnormal increase in muscle tension and a reduced ability of a muscle to stretch”
- Ataxia, or lack of muscle control
- Tremors or involuntary movements
- Athetosis, which occurs when abnormal muscle contractions cause involuntary writhing movements. It may impair speech and hand movement
- Trouble with motor skill development, such as sitting upright or crawling
- Favoring one side of the body, such as always reaching for objects with the right hand
- Problems with walking
- Drooling or problems with swallowing
- Difficulty with sucking or eating
- Speech development delays
People with cerebral palsy may also have:
- Vision and hearing problems
- Intellectual disabilities
In one study, per the CDC, 41 percent of children with cerebral palsy had co-occurring epilepsy.
Cerebral Palsy Causes
According to WebMD, a brain injury or a complication during pregnancy, delivery, or while the child is a toddler can cause cerebral palsy, or CP. Examples of pregnancy complications include a serious infection such as meningitis, certain genetic conditions, premature birth, and blood or oxygen deprivation prior to or during birth. Such oxygen disruption, called birth hypoxia, accounts for less than 10 percent of CP cases, according to one study.
Cerebral palsy can also be caused by a severe head injury.
Examples of Cerebral Palsy Lawsuits
One family won a $100 million lawsuit against a hospital because staff members failed to recognize contractions and neglected to prevent pre-term delivery of twins. As a result of the three-month premature birth, one child weighed only 1 pound, 12 ounces and suffered cerebral palsy. A jury found the hospital liable for past pain and suffering, future pain and suffering, future medical expenses, and lost wages, but it went bankrupt, so the child will only receive about $16 million in damages.
Two years ago, a family filed a $40 million cerebral palsy lawsuit against three doctors, two clinics, and a hospital. The parents alleged that labor was induced, and the mother was told to start pushing even though the baby’s head wasn’t aligned with the cervix, causing fetal distress. The baby’s heart rate dropped to 60 beats per minute for six minutes. The doctor switched to an emergency C-section, but the baby inhaled his own meconium, or fecal matter, and was unable to breathe. This oxygen deprivation caused brain damage that affected 20 percent of his frontal lobe, “which governs decision making, socialization and emotions, as well as other parts of the brain that control motor function, vision and hearing,” the Statesman Journal said. The child will also likely have to wear a leg brace for the rest of his life due to a “constantly constricted calf muscle.”
Your Child May Be Entitled to Compensation
If your child developed cerebral palsy as a result of medical malpractice, he or she may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, rehabilitation expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. Early in his career, attorney Tom Robenalt worked for a firm that defended insurance companies, doctors, and hospitals against claims. That experience can help you during settlement negotiations or trial. For a free consultation, call (216) 223-7535, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or use our online form today.