Cerebral Palsy (CP) Attorney

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Written and edited by our team of expert legal content writers and reviewed and approved by Daniel Harwin

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Cerebral palsy is a group of neurological disorders resulting from abnormalities or damage to a baby’s brain. The condition typically entails problems with the brain’s ability to control movements and maintain balance and can be quite severe. Cerebral palsy is not progressive, so the condition will not worsen over time, but it is irreparable the damage is permanent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates there are about 3.3 cerebral palsy cases per every 1,000 live births.

What Causes Cerebral Palsy?

While some cerebral palsy cases result from unavoidable developmental issues, such as abnormal cerebral cortex growth, others result from an avoidable lack of oxygen to the brain before, during, or soon after birth. Cerebral palsy caused by a hypoxic injury during birth can potentially form the basis for a medical malpractice lawsuit against the labor and delivery nurses and doctors. Doctors and nurses must carefully monitor a baby before delivery to make sure the baby is getting enough oxygen. There are specific guidelines that guide the medical community in exercising a high degree of care when treating patients. If doctors and nurses fail to meet the acceptable standard of care for a delivery, he or she may be liable for any resulting injuries to the baby.

While some cerebral palsy cases occur naturally, many cases result from medical malpractice. Doctors and nurses can monitor whether the baby is getting enough oxygen using a fetal heart monitor. The fetal heart monitor is the most commonly used obstetric device in the United States. If doctors and nurses do not recognize the signed of hypoxia (lack of oxygen) in the baby a serious injury can result. Hypoxia and resulting lack of oxygen to the brain, is one of the most common causes of cerebral palsy in newborns. The lack of oxygen to the brain damages various parts of the brain, leading to cerebral palsy.

Symptoms and Complications

The severity and symptoms of cerebral palsy vary case by case and are not typically observable to a non-medical professional in a newborn. Typically, a baby with a significant hypoxic brain injury will be admitted to the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) and will receive cooling treatment if it is available. As they get older, most people with cerebral palsy experience symptoms including:

  • Lack of muscle coordination
  • Exaggerated reflexes
  • Weakness in one or more arm or leg
  • Abnormalities with gait
  • Muscle tone abnormalities. Some muscles may be too hard or too soft
  • Motor skill delays
  • Difficulty with precise muscle movements
  • Impaired vision, hearing, or speech
  • Impaired language processing
  • Tremors, shaking, or other involuntary movements
  • Excessive drooling and difficulty speaking
  • Difficulty eating
  • Intellectual disability

Depending on the degree of brain damage, some people with the condition learn to manage their symptoms with relatively little interruption to regular life, while others experience significant disability and may even develop additional or worsened symptoms over time. There is no cure for cerebral palsy. However, people living with the condition can receive medication, surgery, and various treatments and therapies to improve their quality of life.

Building a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

If you or a loved one recently had a baby diagnosed with cerebral palsy, it is vital that you understand your options. If you are concerned that the condition is the result of a doctor’s failure to provide an acceptable standard of care before, during, or after delivery, it is crucial to speak with an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options for legal recourse.

The attorneys at Freedland Harwin Valori, PL have successfully handled all types of these cases for clients in Florida. Parents of a child with cerebral palsy face many challenges, and it’s vital to hold negligent doctors or other medical professionals accountable for the damage they cause when they fail to uphold the acceptable standard of care for newborn delivery. Call our firm for more information or to schedule a consultation about your cerebral palsy case today.

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