Cerebral Palsy

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Finding Financial Recovery for a Child with Cerebral Palsy

Salt Lake City Medical Malpractice Lawyer Utah Birth Injury Law Firm 

Cerebral palsy affects dozens of children in our area every year. This disability has a number of causes, only one of which is injury at birth. Because it can have other causes—or no known cause at all—it can be difficult to know when you should suspect medical negligence. You might question whether medical malpractice played a role in your child’s cerebral palsy if:

  • Your labor or delivery was very hard and fast and you were given pitocin
  • You baby experienced fetal distress during childbirth
  • You had high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia
  • Your child had severe jaundice

Basic but Important Information About Cerebral Palsy

This condition is commonly misunderstood by the general public. Therefore, if you have a child with cerebral palsy (CP), it is helpful to have some facts and statistics to share with those who ask. This basic information will also help you communicate your needs and concerns to the experienced Utah cerebral palsy lawyers at Rasmussen & Miner. Oftentimes, when parents show up in our offices, they’re unsure of what to ask and unsure of what kind of compensation they’re hoping to obtain to offset their child’s medical bills. That’s okay. Our experienced Utah cerebral palsy lawyer team is here to help. Still, it can be helpful to review some basic information before your first consultation, as it may help you to formulate questions that you’d like the answers to as you’re evaluating your legal options. 

First of all, CP is more common than most people realize. One in every 323 children in the United States will be diagnosed with the disorder. It is the result of either atypical brain development or brain injury, and it impacts a person’s balance, mobility and posture.

Another common misconception is that cerebral palsy always results in cognitive impairment. This occurs in about 30 to 50 percent of children with CP, and the cognitive impairment can range from severe to very mild. The other half (or more) of children with CP suffer no cognitive impairment.  

Three Different Common Presentations of Cerebral Palsy

Because CP is caused by damage to or atypical development of the brain, the symptoms of CP will be different depending on which part of the brain was impacted in a given patient.

The majority (80 percent) of people with CP have what is known as Spastic Cerebral Palsy. This presentation, caused by damage to the cerebral cortex, typically results in stiff and tight muscles, which makes movement much more difficult and can impact growth. Spastic CP commonly impacts different regions of the body, including primarily the legs (diplegia), the legs and arms (quadriplegia) or just one side of the body (hemiplegia).

The second common kind of CP is known as Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy, and is associated with damage to the cerebellum and basal ganglia. This presentation usually results in balance issues as well as tremors or other involuntary movements. Intentional coordinated movements in someone with Dyskinetic CP can be very difficult or impossible.

The final common type is known as Mixed Presentation Cerebral Palsy, in which multiple areas of the brain have been impacted. Patients with this type exhibit symptoms of Spastic and Dyskinetic.

When Cerebral Palsy May Be the Result of Medical Malpractice

Unfortunately, because there isn’t a single cause of CP, it can be hard to definitively trace it back to a medical error during delivery or substandard care during pregnancy. CP can occur due to inadequate blood flow to the brain, bleeding in the brain, traumatic brain injury, seizures between birth and age one, and brain infections (among other causes).

Here are some scenarios in which a child’s cerebral palsy may be due to medical malpractice:

  •         A physician’s failure to monitor changes in a fetal heart-rate monitor and respond accordingly
  •         Failure to perform a cesarean section in a timely manner, resulting in a lengthy attempt at natural delivery
  •         Failure to diagnose and treat infections
  •         Misuse of forceps, vacuum extractors and other delivery tools
  •         Failure to notice and respond to a prolapsed umbilical cord

If you experienced any of these issues during delivery or around the time of birth, please contact us to discuss your case in greater detail with an experienced Utah cerebral palsy lawyer. Even if you’re unsure of how your child developed this condition, please schedule a consultation. We can investigate your child’s situation so that you can make an informed decision about your options.  

Why You Need an Experienced Legal Advocate

At Rasmussen & Miner, our medical malpractice lawyers help families get the answers to questions that plague them about the cause of their child’s cerebral palsy and accompanying disability.

We work with highly credentialed medical experts from leading universities in the region to review the medical evidence and determine if appropriate care was taken of mother and child at the time of delivery and just after. We also help our client families access rehabilitation and educational experts who can give them a clear understanding of their child’s needs now and into the future in order to lead the most independent life possible.

While a diagnosis of cerebral palsy is always shocking, and can be tragic for some families, many people with cerebral palsy do grow up to live fulfilling and independent lives. Armed with the correct information, and with adequate financial resources to provide for your child’s medical and rehabilitation needs, you can face the future confident that you’ve done the best you can for your child.

At Rasmussen & Miner we can help. With more than 20 years of experience bringing medical malpractice cases to court, and a track record of results, we’re prepared to review your case and advise you on the steps you can take.

We understand that this is not just a court case, this is your life. We are dedicated to protecting your rights to financial recovery. Call (801) 363-8500 or contact our Salt Lake City law office to schedule a free consultation.