Cerebral Palsy Fact Sheet: A Devastating Diagnosis
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the agency focused on providing information regarding the rate and prevalence of various conditions and diagnoses in the United States, monitors and reports on the incidents of cerebral palsy each year. Of note:
- Cerebral palsy is the leading form of motor disability in children and occurs at a rate of 1.5-4 out of 1,000 births.
- Nearly 1 out of every 323 children has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
- Almost 60 percent of children with cerebral palsy are able to independently engage in the act of walking, while another 11 percent are able to achieve mobility with the assistance of a handheld walking aid.
- Over 40 percent of children with cerebral palsy also have epilepsy, a co-occurring developmental disability, while just under 7 percent have co-occurring autism spectrum disorder.
It is unfortunate, yet inevitable, that there will be some Philadelphia babies that are born with cerebral palsy, either due to difficulties during birth or improper care after the birth has taken place.
Cerebral Palsy Incidents
With more than 40 years of experience, Cohen Placitella & Roth, P.C. has helped hundreds of Philadelphians recover compensation for their child’s cerebral palsy and other birth injuries. The team of cerebral palsy lawyers at Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C. employ a winning strategy to investigate your case thoroughly, invest time and effort into building a strong case, and then present that case to a jury. If settlement negotiations are an option, we work hard to get our clients what they deserve.
Common Causes of Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy can result from a number of causes and medical mistakes during the birthing process. Some of these causes are not preventable, while others are. For instance, a few of the preventable causes of cerebral palsy include:
Failing to discover when an umbilical cord has prolapsed
When the umbilical cord becomes compressed during birth, oxygen and blood flow to the baby’s body is halted. A failure to recognize the problem can cause oxygen deprivation of the brain and cerebral palsy.
Failing to order a cesarean section in a timely manner
Any number of events can cause a baby to suffer oxygen deprivation while in the womb prior to and during birth. Immediate action must be taken to get oxygen to the baby, which may require birth by cesarean section.
Improper use of forceps or vacuum extraction
Improper use of forceps or vacuum extractors can cause delivery trauma to the baby’s head, brain and spinal cord, and can also produce cerebral palsy in the baby.
Failing to treat an infection
Both mother and unborn baby are particularly vulnerable to infection during pregnancy and birth, and untreated infections can lead to cerebral palsy. Many common infections can be treated with antibiotics, thereby reducing the risk of cerebral palsy.
Failing to treat jaundice
Many babies are born with jaundice, and a failure to treat jaundice can turn into kernicterus, which is an unsafe accumulation of broken down red blood cells in the brain. Untreated kernicterus can cause cerebral palsy.
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Investigating Cerebral Palsy Requires Resources
The point of obtaining a recovery for cerebral palsy that results from a birth injury or negligence during birth is to provide the victim with the financial support that they will need to obtain the education, medical care and rehabilitation that they will require during their lifetime as they cope with their condition. As such, cerebral palsy claim investigations require significant effort and financial resources to clearly identify the act or instance of negligence that caused the cerebral palsy in the first place. It takes a law firm with experience, knowledge and resources to be able to conduct a thorough investigation into your claim. Building a strong case is no easy feat.
A number of medical specialists will need to be contacted so that a medical evaluation of the child can be conducted to assess the extent and prognosis of the child’s condition. Will the child need lifelong medical treatment or rehabilitation? Will the child need special assistance as he or she grows up? These questions need to be answered in order to determine how much compensation you should receive based on the extent of the child’s injuries.
Similarly, evidence related to the birth injury that caused the cerebral palsy to develop in the victim child will need to be acquired. This can include conducting interviews with the medical staff who performed the delivery, as well as evidence of the care that the child received after the birth, as some causes of cerebral palsy can arise from deficiencies in after birth care. Medical records for the child will need to be secured from the hospital where the child was delivered, as well as medical records from throughout the pregnancy.
At Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C., our lawyers know what it takes to properly investigate your cerebral palsy and birth injury claim, and we have the financial resources necessary to prepare your strongest possible case. We have connections with trusted medical experts we use to assess whether medical negligence occurred during or after the birth of the child.
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