New York Cerebral Palsy Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Cerebral Palsy Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Cerebral palsy, also called Little’s Disease, is a group of neurological disorders that develop during infancy or early childhood and permanently affects body movement and muscle coordination. It is not a progressive disorder nor is it contagious. Cerebral refers to the affected area of the brain, and palsy to disorder of movement. It was first discovered in 1860 by an English surgeon named William Little who noticed an unknown disorder in children that caused stiff, spastic muscles in the legs and arms.
There are four main categories of cerebral palsy, which include:
Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common form, affecting close to 80% of all cerebral palsy cases. This involves tightness of one or more muscle groups that result in limited movement.
- Spastic hemiplegia affects only one side of the child’s body. For example; an injury to the left side of the brain will cause a right side deficit, and vice versa.
- Spastic diplegia affects the lower extremities of the body more than the upper. This causes a crouched gait making it hard for the child to walk. Toe walking and flexed knees are common.
- Spastic quadriplegia affects the whole body, both arms and legs. Uncontrollable shaking and fluid buildup are common. Children have trouble moving all the parts of their bodies, including face and mouth.
Athetoid cerebral palsy involves involuntary or purposeless movement and motions. About 40% of cerebral palsy patients are affected and have trouble holding them selves in an upright position, sitting, or walking.
Ataxic cerebral palsy is less common, occurring in at most 10% of all cases. It affects the sense of balance and depth perception. Motor skills like writing, holding a pencil or any small object can be difficult due to shakiness.
Mixed cerebral palsy involves both spastic and athetoid cerebral palsy. About one-fourth of all patients have mixed cerebral palsy.
Cerebral Palsy Diagnosis and Risks
Cerebral palsy is caused by an injury to the brain of the child before, during, or shortly after birth. In many cases, it is difficult to point the cause of the brain injury or to know what could have been done to prevent the injury.
Like other health or disorder conditions, there are risk factors that can be used as indicators of cerebral palsy, but does not mean that certain factors will always result in cerebral palsy.
The following risk factors can be used as indicators by doctors:
- Complicated labor and delivery
- Breech presentation (feet first)
- Premature birth including low birth weight
- Visible malformation like an abnormal small head
- Multiple births
- Vascular or respiratory problems can be a sign that the baby has suffered some brain damage or is not fully developed
- Low Apgar score – Heart rate, breathing, muscle tone, reflexes, and skin color
- Mother’s medical conditions can also be used as indicators. Maternal bleeding late in the pregnancy or vaginal bleeding during 6-9 months of pregnancy are high risks of cerebral palsy. Mothers who have hyperthyroidism, mental retardation, or seizures.
- Seizures in newborn can also indicate a high risk of cerebral palsy
Cerebral Palsy Prevention
Cerebral palsy cannot be prevented in all cases, but there are certain causes that can be treated or prevented ahead of time. A healthy pregnancy is always recommended to all mothers, and it reduces the chances of cerebral palsy.
Precautions that can be made to prevent cerebral palsy include:
- Child safety seats and helmets can protect against child head injury that can lead to cerebral palsy.
- Newborn babies with jaundice can be treated with phototherapy.
- Blood tests for Rh incompatibility in expected mothers.
- Vaccination prior to pregnancy prevents Rubella which can lead to cerebral palsy.
- Children, prior to three years, who are not developing motor skills at a normal pace may have cerebral palsy.
- Abnormal muscle tone which includes; decreased muscle tone that makes the baby “floppy”, and increased muscle tone that makes the baby “stiff” or “rigid”.
Cerebral Palsy Treatment
Many treatments are available to help a child, or an adult, function at the highest level possible. But there are no treatments that can remove or undo the damages of cerebral palsy. Some of the treatments include several therapeutic approaches that can improve and help control a child’s potential physical and mental aspects.
Depending on the child’s needs, the following treatments can help improve or overcome cerebral palsy:
- Physical therapy can help a child learn better ways to move and balance. It is highly recommended to start physical therapy soon after the child is diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Specific exercises can help strengthened the muscles and avoid muscle contractures. This allows the child to learn to walk, run, use a wheelchair, and stand by themselves or other activities.
- Speech therapy can help a child with communication skill such as; talking, using sign language, or the use of a communication aid.
- Occupational therapy teaches children better ways to write, paint, draw, brush their teeth, dress and feed themselves with or without special equipment.
- Recreational therapy helps children have fun and learn sport skills such as; dance, baseball, swimming or horseback riding.
- Depending on the child’s needs, drug therapy or surgery can also be implemented. Drugs can help control seizures, relax muscle spasms, and alleviate pain. Surgery can help correct anatomical abnormalities or release tight muscles to avoid contractures and reduce spasticity.
Birth Injury and Medical Malpractice Lawyer
A birth injury, such as cerebral palsy, can result from Doctor’s negligence or medical malpractice. When this occurs, the doctor or hospital should be held responsible. If you believe medical malpractice or negligence contributed to your child’s cerebral palsy, consult an experienced New York cerebral palsy lawyer who can investigate your case and take legal action.
At The Fitzgerald Law Firm, P.C., we are dedicated to representing children with cerebral palsy and other birth related injuries and medical malpractice cases We understand how devastating it can be for parents and family members to learn that their newborn has an irreversible disability condition such as cerebral palsy. Our experienced team of birth injury attorneys will thoroughly investigate your case and aggressively pursue compensation to help cover for medical treatments, in-home care, rehab, surgery, and other needs. We are committed to helping our clients obtain the compensation they deserve.
For a free consultation with an experienced New York Cerebral Palsy Lawyer, please contact the Law Firm of The Fitzgerald Law Firm, P.C.