Birth Injury Cases Involving Cerebral Palsy

Birth Injury Cases Involving Cerebral PalsyCerebral palsy (CP) is a group of permanent movement disorders that arise from damage to the developing brain, often before or during birth. While some cases have no identifiable cause, a significant portion are linked to preventable medical errors. In these situations, families may have legal recourse through a birth injury lawsuit.

Cerebral palsy affects muscle tone, movement, coordination, and balance. The severity varies greatly, with some individuals experiencing mild tremors, while others require lifelong care. There’s no cure for CP, but treatment focuses on managing symptoms and improving quality of life.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, between 5,500 and 13,000 children are born with cerebral palsy every year. More than a million adults in the US are living with cerebral palsy, and these numbers are only expected to grow.

It’s important to understand the link between birth injuries and CP. Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider deviates from the accepted standard of care, causing harm to a patient. In birth injury cases involving CP, this might involve:

  • Failing to monitor fetal distress: Signs like abnormal heart rate can indicate oxygen deprivation, requiring immediate intervention. Missed signs can lead to brain damage.
  • Improper use of instruments: Forceps or vacuum extractors, if used incorrectly, can cause injuries that affect blood flow to the brain.
  • Delayed C-section: When a vaginal delivery poses a risk to the baby, a timely C-section can prevent complications. Unnecessary delay can lead to oxygen deprivation.
  • Medication errors: Overuse of certain medications during labor can depress the baby’s respiratory system, leading to brain damage.
  • Failure to recognize infections: Infections like Group B Strep, if left untreated, can cause brain damage in newborns.
  • Forceful delivery maneuvers: Techniques like breech extraction, if performed too aggressively, can cause injuries to the baby’s spine and brain.

These are just a few examples, and each case has its own unique set of circumstances. However, the key factor is establishing a clear connection between a medical professional’s negligence and your child’s cerebral palsy.

Building a strong birth injury lawsuit in Mississippi

Birth injury lawsuits involving CP are complex and require detailed investigation. Here’s what you can expect from our Mississippi birth injury attorneys:

  • Medical record review: We meticulously examine obstetrical records, fetal monitoring strips, neonatal reports, and any other relevant medical documentation to identify potential deviations from the standard of care. This may involve analyzing timestamps, medication dosages, and physician notes.
  • Expert opinions: Medical experts with experience in obstetrics, neonatology, and neurology are consulted to evaluate the case and provide critical opinions. These experts can assess whether the care provided adhered to the accepted standard of practice in the specific situation, and if any deviations contributed to the child’s CP.
  • Life care planning: Specialists can create a detailed plan outlining your child’s anticipated medical needs throughout their lifetime. This plan considers therapy, equipment, potential surgeries, and ongoing care requirements. It helps estimate the future financial burden on the family, ensuring adequate compensation is sought.

The goal of a lawsuit is to secure compensation for the lifelong challenges your child will face. This compensation can cover:

  • Medical expenses: Past, present, and future medical costs associated with CP treatment, including therapy, medications, equipment, and potential surgeries. These costs can be significant and can accumulate over the child’s lifetime.
  • Lost wages: If you need to leave work to care for your child full-time, lost wages can be compensated. This helps alleviate the financial strain on the family.
  • Pain and suffering: While this is difficult to quantify in monetary terms, it acknowledges the physical and emotional challenges the child endures due to CP.
  • Special needs trust: This trust ensures the child’s financial security for the future, covering living expenses, care needs, and potential adaptations to their living environment.

The decision to pursue a birth injury lawsuit is deeply personal. It can be a challenging process, but the potential benefits for the child’s future can be significant. Here are some additional points to consider:

  • Statute of limitations: Mississippi has a time limit for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, which is two years. It’s crucial to consult with an attorney as soon as possible to understand these deadlines and avoid missing the filing window.
  • Alternatives to a lawsuit: In some cases, negotiation with the healthcare provider’s insurance company may lead to a settlement without going to court. This can be a faster and less stressful option for families, although it may not yield the same level of compensation as a successful lawsuit.
  • Support groups: Families dealing with CP often find solace and guidance in support groups that connect them with others facing similar challenges. These groups can provide emotional support, share resources, and offer valuable advice on navigating the healthcare system and caring for a child with CP.

While financial compensation can address some of the challenges families face, it’s important to acknowledge the human cost of CP. Children with CP may experience:

  • Physical limitations: Difficulty with mobility, coordination, and fine motor skills can impact daily activities like dressing, eating, and self-care.
  • Cognitive challenges: Some children with CP may experience learning disabilities or intellectual impairments.
  • Speech and communication difficulties: Speech impediments or difficulty using sign language can create communication barriers.
  • Social and emotional challenges: Isolation, frustration, and low self-esteem can be common due to physical limitations and social interactions.

These challenges require ongoing support and therapy. A successful birth injury lawsuit can ensure families have the resources to provide the best possible care for their child, including:

  • Physical therapy: To improve muscle strength, coordination, and mobility.
  • Occupational therapy: To develop skills for daily living activities.
  • Speech therapy: To improve communication skills.
  • Special education: To meet the child’s individual learning needs.
  • Assistive technology: Adaptive equipment and technology can help with mobility, communication, and daily tasks.

If you suspect a medical error may have caused your child’s CP, seeking legal counsel is crucial. Here are some tips for finding the right attorney:

  • Experience in medical malpractice: Look for an attorney with a proven track record of success in birth injury cases involving CP. Experience in navigating the complexities of medical malpractice law is essential.
  • Understanding of your situation: This is a sensitive and emotional journey for families. Choose an attorney who is compassionate and understanding of the challenges you face.
  • Clear communication: Effective communication is key. Our Mississippi medical malpractice attorneys clearly explain the legal process, keep you informed of developments, and address your concerns promptly.

A birth injury lawsuit involving CP can be a long and demanding process. However, for many families, it’s about seeking justice and securing the resources needed to provide their child with the best possible care throughout their life. It’s about holding healthcare providers accountable for their negligence and ensuring such mistakes don’t happen again.

If you suspect your child’s cerebral palsy may be linked to a medical error during birth, don’t hesitate to reach out for a free consultation with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. You deserve to understand your legal options and ensure your child has the resources for a brighter future. The Mississippi birth injury lawyers at Merkel & Cocke, PA can help. To schedule a consultation, simply call us or fill out our contact form. We proudly serve clients throughout Mississippi and maintain offices in Jackson, Clarksdale, Greenville, and Oxford.