Cerebral Palsy Attorneys
Cerebral palsy refers to a group of disorders that affect nervous system functions. Damage to one or more areas of the brain controlling movement causes an affected child to be incapable of using his or her muscles in the usual way. Cerebral palsy is sometimes caused by trauma during the birthing process.
If your child has developed cerebral palsy due to the negligent actions of a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional, contact the Washington cerebral palsy lawyers of Fuller & Fuller today at 800-570-4878.
Cerebral Palsy – Overview
The symptoms of cerebral palsy can range from mild to severe; however, the condition does not worsen as the child gets older. Many children with cerebral palsy have other problems that also require treatment. These problems may include developmental delays, learning disabilities, seizures, and problems with vision, hearing or speech. Cerebral palsy affects about 500,000 people of all ages in this country.
There are three major types of cerebral palsy. Some patients may exhibit symptoms of more than one type. They include:
- Spastic cerebral palsy – This type affects roughly 75 percent of cerebral palsy patients. The primary symptom is very stiff muscles, making movement difficult. Spastic cerebral palsy most often affects the limbs but can also include the torso, mouth and tongue.
- Athetoid or dyskinetic cerebral palsy – Approximately 15 percent of those affected have the athetoid form, which affects the entire body. It is characterized by changes in muscle tone and sometimes is associated with uncontrolled movements.
- Ataxic cerebral palsy – About 10 percent of affected individuals have the ataxic form, which impacts balance and coordination. They may walk unsteadily, and they have difficulty with movements that require precise control, such as writing.
Cerebral Palsy Caused by Birth Trauma
Some or all of the following signs are often found in babies whose cerebral palsy has been caused by problems during pregnancy or delivery:
- The infant demonstrates poor sucking after birth;
- Seizures develop within 12-24 hours;
- The child is flaccid or limp at birth;
- The skin is blue or dusky at birth;
- The infant has an abnormal, high pitched cry;
- The infant requires resuscitation at, or shortly after birth, due to lack of breathing;
- The infant has problems maintaining temperature after birth;
- The child must stay in the neo-natal intensive care unit (NICU) after birth.
Diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy
In making a diagnosis of cerebral palsy, the doctor evaluates any delay in developmental milestones as well as physical symptoms. Many of the normal developmental milestones are based on motor function. These include reaching for toys at 3 to 4 months, sitting at 6 to 7 months, and walking at 10 to 14 months. Diagnosing cerebral palsy usually involves a period of waiting up to 18 months for the definite and permanent appearance of specific motor problems.
Responsibility of a Medical Professional
Doctors and nurses caring for the pregnant mother and unborn child are responsible for ensuring that mother and baby receive appropriate care during the pregnancy, birthing process, and immediately after the delivery of the child. Failure to do so can result in the doctors and nurses being held accountable for medical problems, including cerebral palsy, that are caused by improper medical care. Possible medical errors include:
- Failure to promptly perform a cesarean section when appropriate;
- Failure to correctly monitor or respond to the conditions of the baby during labor;
- Failure to act on changes in the mother’s condition during pregnancy;
- Failure to order appropriate tests during pregnancy, or failure to interpret these tests correctly;
- Failure to deliver the infant within a reasonable time after the membranes have been ruptured (water has broken);
- Excessive or improper use of vacuum extraction or forceps.
What Should I do if Medical Errors Caused My Child’s Cerebral Palsy?
If you have concerns or doubts about whether a doctor or nurse did not properly address problems associated with the delivery of your child – or that of a loved one – you owe it to yourself and your family to find out for sure. Contact a Washington cerebral palsy attorney at Fuller & Fuller for a FREE consultation. Fuller & Fuller serves people whose claims arose in the states of Washington and Oregon, as well as births in military hospitals throughout the country where the parents are currently residing in Washington or Oregon.
To determine whether you have a claim, these are among the factors that are analyzed.
- Whether the birth took place within the time allowed to bring a claim, or whether the claim is barred by the statute of limitations;
- Whether the doctor’s actions were reasonable by the standards of the medical community in which the doctor practices;
- Whether a midwife or family doctor should have called in an OB/GYN specialist;
- Whether the doctor failed to perform appropriate testing to allow an informed diagnosis of a problem;
- Whether the doctor failed to administer the necessary medical or surgical procedures;
- How much money in damages would be appropriate to compensate the child and the family, and provide for the child’s future care.
How Would My Child Benefit from a Medical Malpractice Claim?
Children with cerebral palsy deserve the best of care. Most families do not have the vast personal resources to fund expensive medical treatments. Legal settlements for injured children are usually placed in a trust that can be used to pay for corrective surgeries and therapy. Parents of children afflicted with cerebral palsy can use their recovery to help with the many added expenses involved with raising a handicapped child, including trained child care, special vehicles, and medical equipment.
You have nothing to lose by consulting a Washington medical malpractice attorney. It is always in your best interest to learn about your legal options and make sure that your legal rights are preserved. A medical malpractice case is also about righting a wrong, holding the medical community responsible, and raising the level of care so that the same thing does not happen to another patient.
Call 800-570-4878 to set up a consultation with an experienced Washington cerebral palsy lawyer at Fuller & Fuller today.
Cerebral Palsy Resources
You may find some of the following links helpful. Fuller & Fuller does not endorse the information in the links.