Did You Know That Cerebral Palsy is Often Caused by Medical Errors? What Parents Need to Know.
Learn the truth. Our cerebral palsy lawyer in Michigan can help.
Parents of children with cerebral palsy are often told by physicians that their child suffers from an unavoidable birth defect. Parents rarely are informed that their child’s disability may have been caused by negligence.
In fact, many parents feel that there is no way to know what caused cerebral palsy in their child and are unaware that there are ways to search for answers, such as hiring a cerebral palsy attorney in Michigan. The truth is that cerebral palsy is sometimes the result of a medical mistake that allowed a child to be deprived of oxygen during pregnancy or while the mother was in labor.
Doctors have an obligation to provide adequate care during all stages of a woman’s pregnancy, including both labor and the period immediately after the birth of the child. Unfortunately, doctors are capable of error or negligence.
Free Consultation with Our Cerebral Palsy Lawyer in Michigan
If you are the parent of a child with cerebral palsy and are unsure about the cause call Cochran, Foley & Associates at 800-322-5543 and ask for Terry Cochran or Lynn Foley. Both possess the special knowledge needed to make sure all necessary evidence has been gathered and to determine what legal action should be taken to protect your interests and your child’s future.
We Know Cerebral Palsy Law in Detroit
Lynn Foley, a Registered Nurse with professional experience in the medical field, has won several medical malpractice lawsuits for her clients and has special expertise to handle birth injuries including cerebral palsy law in Detroit.
Physician mistakes that may cause cerebral palsy include:
- Inadequately monitoring of the mother during pregnancy or during labor.
- Misinterpreting test results during pregnancy, or failure to conduct necessary tests.
- Failing to perform a cesarean section when the fetus is in distress or not supplying enough oxygen.
- Failure to monitor closely enough when the mother possesses a condition such as hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, lupas, renal disease, or thyroid disease.
What is cerebral palsy?
Cerebral palsy describes a group of chronic disorders impairing control of movement that appear in the first few years of life and generally do not worsen over time. The word “cerebral” refers to the brain’s two halves and “palsy” describes any disorder that impairs body movement. Cerebral palsy disorders are not caused by problems in the muscles or nerves but by faulty development or damage to motor areas in the brain that disrupts the brain’s ability to control movement and posture.
Cerebral palsy symptoms lie along a spectrum of severity. An individual with cerebral palsy may: have difficulty with fine motor tasks; experience trouble maintaining balance and walking; or be affected by involuntary movements.
The symptoms differ from one person to the next, and may change over time. Some people with cerebral palsy also are affected by other medical disorders, including seizures or mental impairment.
Contrary to common belief, however, cerebral palsy does not always cause profound disability. While a child with severe cerebral palsy might be unable to walk and needs extensive, lifelong care, a child with mild cerebral palsy might require only minimal special assistance.
Cerebral palsy is not contagious nor is it usually inherited from one generation to the next. At this time, it cannot be cured, although scientific research continues to yield improved treatments and methods of prevention.
The United Cerebral Palsy Association estimates that more than 500,000 Americans have cerebral palsy. Despite advances in prevention and treatment, the number of children and adults the disease impacts has remained essentially unchanged or perhaps risen slightly over the past three decades. This is partly because more critically premature and frail infants are surviving through improved intensive care. Unfortunately, many of these infants have developmental problems of the nervous system or suffer other neurological damage.
How is cerebral palsy detected?
Early signs of cerebral palsy usually appear before age three. Often parents are the first to suspect their infant is not developing motor skills normally. Infants with cerebral palsy often are slow in learning to crawl, walk, sit, roll over or smile.
Some affected children have decreased muscle tone. The baby may seem flaccid and relaxed, even floppy. Increased muscle tone is called hypertonia, and the baby may seem stiff or rigid. In some cases, the baby has an early period of decreased muscle tone that progresses to hypertonia after the first 2 to 3 months of life. Affected children also may have unusual posture or favor one side of their body.
Parents who are concerned about their baby’s development for any reason should contact their physician. Doctors diagnose cerebral palsy by testing an infant’s motor skills and looking carefully at the infant’s medical history. In addition to checking for those symptoms described above – slow development, abnormal muscle tone, and unusual posture – a physician also tests the infant’s reflexes and looks for early development of hand preference.
What a physician will look for
The doctor likely will check reflexes, which are movements the body makes automatically in response to a specific cue. For example, if a newborn baby is held on its back and tilted so the legs are above its head, the baby will automatically extend its arms in a gesture, called the Moro reflex, which looks like an embrace. Babies normally lose this reflex after they reach 6 months of age, but those with cerebral palsy may retain it for abnormally long periods.
Physicians also look for a tendency to use either the right or left hand more often. When the doctor holds an object in front and to the side of the infant, an infant with hand preference will use the favored hand to reach for the object, even when it is held closer to the opposite hand. During the first 12 months of life, babies do not usually show hand preference. But infants with spastic hemiplegia, in particular, may develop a preference much earlier, since the hand on the unaffected side of their body is stronger and more useful.
Another step in diagnosing cerebral palsy is to rule out other disorders that can cause movement problems. Most important, doctors must determine that the child’s condition is not getting worse. Although its symptoms may change over time, cerebral palsy by definition is not progressive. If a child is continuously losing motor skills, the problem more likely springs from elsewhere. The child’s medical history, special diagnostic tests, and, in some cases, repeated check-ups can help confirm that other disorders are not at fault.
Among the special tests or exams a physician may order are a CT Scan, MRI Scan, Ultrasonography, EEG, an Intelligence Test, vision or hearing examinations.
When things go wrong
There are several tests that can and should be taken to understand the cause of cerebral palsy. If you are the parent of a child with cerebral palsy and suspect the cause might involve medical negligence contact Cochran, Foley & Associates for a free consultation.
The attorneys at Cochran & Foley have the skills, legal knowledge and experience needed to protect families who have a child with cerebral palsy because of malpractice and will seek to win payment for their clients’ injuries, expenses, and loss.
An attorney will lead your family through the steps needed to recover actual damages and may even assist in punitive damages being awarded. Actual damages are intended to restore a victim’s financial situation to a position roughly equivalent to what it was before the medical error occurred.
Levels of responsibility
Actual damages can be awarded for medical bills, lost income, funeral expenses, pain and suffering, mental stress, permanent disability and similar hardships.
Punitive damages, above and beyond those actually incurred by the victim, are intended to punish the guilty party for reckless or inappropriate behavior. Punitive damages also can function as a deterrent for others.
An attorney can collect damages for your family by proving that the physician or hospital was negligent. Cochran & Foley will ensure a family’s economic security by seeking payments for the child’s continued care, and ensure justice by pursuing punitive damages.
Cochran & Foley devotes its practice to representing individuals who are the victims of medical malpractice, work place injuries, automobile, airplane, boating, truck or motorcycle accident. Essentially, if a person has been involved in any tragedy involving negligence and requiring compensation, Cochran & Foley will provide whatever legal services are required.
Above All Else, Seek Justice
Victims should not hesitate from filing a lawsuit for fear of filing a frivolous lawsuit. That is propaganda created by the insurance industry. Let your attorney, not an insurance agent, determine what’s frivolous and when justice should be pursued.
In America, a jury makes a decision on damages after hearing all of the evidence. The jury award is designed to compensate the injury victim. A fundamental right of all Americans is a trial by jury, allowing our fellow citizens to hear our case and to make a decision. Do not give up any of your rights as a citizen!
Statutes of limitation limit the length of time you have to file a lawsuit. If you fail to file a lawsuit within that time period you may forever be denied the justice due you. If you have a child with cerebral palsy and believe that you have a case for medical malpractice, it is critical that you seek legal help quickly.
If you believe your child is a victim, let Cochran, Foley & Associates fight for your rights. There is no obligation for case evaluation and no fee is charged unless a recovery is made.
The Law Offices of Cochran, Foley & Associates, P.C. is dedicated to representing individuals and families who have suffered catastrophic losses as a result of injuries, disabilities and death. The firm does not represent insurance companies or corporations but instead bases its practice upon representing individuals and families.