Connecticut Cerebral Palsy Attorneys
How Cerebral Palsy Is Linked to Medical Malpractice
Cerebral palsy is a motor disability characterized by problems with coordination, posture, and balance. It is the most common type of motor disability in children and, sadly, it is often the result of medical negligence or malpractice. Although abnormal brain development can cause cerebral palsy, the condition often occurs when an infant sustains brain damage while in utero or during delivery/immediately after birth. When this is the case, the child has suffered a birth injury—and his or her parent(s) may be able to hold the involved healthcare provider accountable.
At RisCassi & Davis, P.C., we understand the immense impact a cerebral palsy diagnosis has, not only on the child but on his or her parents, siblings, and other family members, as well. If your child was diagnosed with cerebral palsy after pregnancy complications or after a difficult labor or delivery, we encourage you to reach out to our Connecticut cerebral palsy lawyers to learn how we can help. You could be entitled to financial compensation for your child’s medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Understanding Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders that affect mobility and coordination. “Cerebral” refers to the fact that it is caused by brain damage or maldevelopment, while “palsy” refers to muscle weakness and related problems. While all individuals with cerebral palsy experience issues with posture and movement, the severity of the condition plays a role in other effects experienced by each individual. Additionally, though a person with cerebral palsy might experience different symptoms over time, the condition is non-degenerative, meaning it does not get worse as time goes on.
Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy
Symptoms vary depending on the type of cerebral palsy a person has (more below), as well as the age of the child, but some of the common symptoms of cerebral palsy include:
- Stiffness, floppiness, and other issues with muscle tone
- Exaggerated reflexes
- Legs that cross when a child is picked up
- Overextended neck and/or back
- Failure to reach movement-related milestones, such as rolling over
- Trouble bringing hands together or to the mouth
- Keeping one hand in a fist
- Lopsided crawling (often dragging one hand/leg)
- Scooting or hopping but not crawling
- “Writhing” movements
- Issues with balance and/or coordination
- Involuntary movements, such as tremors or seizures
- Difficulty walking/delayed walking
- Delayed speech development
- Difficulty swallowing
- Learning problems and other cognitive development delays
These and other symptoms can indicate that your child may have cerebral palsy. It is important that you seek a proper medical diagnosis for your child’s condition if you believe he or she may have cerebral palsy.
Types of Cerebral Palsy
As previously mentioned, there are several different types of cerebral palsy. Each type can result in its own distinct set of symptoms, so it is important to be aware of the signs of each.
The different types of cerebral palsy include:
- Spastic Cerebral Palsy: The most common type of cerebral palsy, spastic cerebral palsy is characterized by muscle stiffness and spastic movements.
- Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy: Individuals with dyskinetic cerebral palsy will typically exhibit problems with hand, arm, feet, and leg movement, which can be rapid/jerky or slow/writhing.
- Ataxic Cerebral Palsy: Ataxic cerebral palsy affects an individual’s coordination and balance, which can lead to difficulty walking and issues with fine motor skills.
- Mixed Cerebral Palsy: Some individuals have mixed cerebral palsy, meaning they display symptoms of multiple types (e.g. spastic-dyskinetic cerebral palsy).
Is Cerebral Palsy Treatable?
While there is no current cure for cerebral palsy, the condition is treatable. Many children with cerebral palsy go on to live happy, fulfilled lives. With treatment, people with cerebral palsy can have a vastly improved quality of life—but it’s critical that treatment is started as soon as possible.
Once a qualified medical professional has diagnosed your child with cerebral palsy, the next step is working with a team of healthcare providers to create and implement a plan specifically tailored to your child’s needs.
Cerebral palsy treatment often includes:
- Physical therapy
- Speech therapy
- Occupational therapy
These and other treatment programs can allow your child to reach his or her full potential and live a long and happy life.
What Causes Cerebral Palsy?
While experts once commonly thought that cerebral palsy was mainly caused by loss of oxygen during birth, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that many now believe that oxygen deprivation during birth only plays a role in a small number of cerebral palsy cases.
That being said, brain damage—either during pregnancy, birth, or during the first few months or years of the child’s life—is what causes cerebral palsy, and this damage can occur as a result of a medical professional’s negligence. In fact, the CDC also reports that congenital brain damage, meaning brain damage that occurs while an infant is in utero or during delivery, is a factor in about 85 – 90% of cerebral palsy cases.
Some things that can increase the risk of congenital CP include:
- Being born prematurely
- Giving birth to multiple children at once (twins, triplets, etc.)
- Infections during pregnancy
- Maternal medical conditions
- Birth complications
- Infertility treatments
Determining If Your Child’s Cerebral Palsy Was the Result of Medical Malpractice
But how can you tell if a doctor, nurse, or another medical provider’s negligent conduct was what led to your child’s brain damage and subsequent cerebral palsy diagnosis?
If you received poor medical care during your pregnancy, or if you believe you did not receive proper medical treatment during labor and/or delivery, you could have grounds for a case. However, proving that medical malpractice is what caused your child’s cerebral palsy is extremely difficult, as you have to demonstrate how a healthcare provider failed to uphold the standard of care. It is critical that you work with an experienced cerebral palsy attorney in Connecticut who can help you navigate this process.
Get in Touch with RisCassi & Davis, P.C. Today
Since 1955, our team of experienced personal injury attorneys and dedicated staff have provided compassionate, client-focused legal services for individuals and families throughout Connecticut. We have recovered some of the largest injury settlements and verdicts in the state, helping affected victims heal and move forward with their lives.
Our team is committed to protecting your rights and fighting aggressively for the maximum compensation you and your child are owed. We work tirelessly to hold negligent medical professionals and facilities accountable for the harm they cause and are ready to assist you with every aspect of your case. There are no attorneys’ fees unless we recover compensation for you.
Contact our cerebral palsy lawyers in Connecticut at (860) 245-2412 for a free consultation. We can travel anywhere in Connecticut to meet with you and are available for same-day and evening/weekend appointments.
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