What it Means When Your Child is Diagnosed With Cerebral Palsy in Oregon
Cerebral palsy most often occurs before birth or during birth. This is referred to as congenital cerebral palsy. More rarely, cerebral palsy occurs after birth. These cases of cerebral palsy are referred to as “acquired cerebral palsy” because the baby was not born with it. While some cases of cerebral palsy are unavoidable and may be due to abnormalities such as abnormal brain development or complications beyond the physician’s control, unfortunately there are cases of cerebral palsy that happen every day that are due to a physician or other medical professional’s error. If your child was diagnosed with cerebral palsy in Oregon, there are some things that you should know about medical malpractice and birth injuries.
Birth injuries are injuries that occur during the birthing process, or the labor and delivery process. Birth injuries could also occur pre-labor, such as during the care and treatment of a fetus as it develops in utero Usually, these are due to physical pressure but can be due to a delayed exit from the birth canal, causing oxygen deprivation. Most of the time this means negligence.
Negligence birth injuries should never happen. It is a physician’s duty to assist the woman in the laboring process in the safest way possible. Cerebral palsy is one birth injury that can be due to complete negligence. It can be due to naturally causing factors, but also can be a result of medical malpractice. It could also be due to medical malpractice can generally be mitigated if the woman in labor and her baby are properly monitored and the physician intervenes appropriately if complications occur (i.e through the use of C-Section). Our Oregon cerebral palsy lawyers know just how serious and avoidable cerebral palsy can be and are here to get you and your child the justice you deserve.
What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy, also known as CP, is a group of disorders affecting a person’s movement, posture and balance. Unfortunately, this type of birth injury is quite catastrophic as cerebral palsy is a permanent condition. Once the brain damage has occurred (causing the cerebral palsy), the child will live with this disorder for the rest of their lives.
Depending on the severity of CP, it can affect the child’s cognition, movement, and overall functioning. A child with CP may have difficulty walking, talking, dressing themselves or feeding themselves. Generally there is always some kind of physical impairment. While abnormal brain development can be a cause of CP, a physicians’ error can be the cause of this disorder.
Child Diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy: Classifications to Know
While CP is the umbrella term for the disorder, the condition is classified based on where the brain damage has occurred as well as the severity of the damage. People with CP are classified as having mild, moderate or severe CP. A person with mild CP may have very little impairment while people with severe CP may require lifelong care. People with severe CP often are unable to walk, talk, feed themselves, dress themselves, sit up in a chair independently, and may have severe cognitive impairment. A person with moderate CP will typically need assistance with mobility (i.e. walker, cane or braces) and likely will also need some degree of assistance with completely their activities of daily living.
Cerebral palsy is also classified as mentioned above by the location where the brain damage has occurred. Classifications include the following:
- Choreoathetoid CP – This is a subtype of athetoid CP. People with choreoathetoid CP are typically afflicted with involuntary, jerky movements which affect the hips, shoulders and face. Unfortunately, as they are involuntary, a person with this type of CP is unable to control these movements.
- Athetoid CP – This type of CP is caused by damage to the basal ganglia. People with this type of CP may have both hypotonic (low muscle tone) and hypertonic tone (high muscle tone). Additionally, people with this type of CP may struggle to grasp objects or walk due to issues with voluntary movement.
- Dystonic CP – This form of CP is also caused by damage to the basal ganglia. People with dystonic CP typically have very rigid and slow muscle movements. Posture is often abnormal and rigid.
- Ataxic CP – Balance and coordination are affected in people with ataxic CP. Damage to the cerebellum causes this. Due to this, people often have difficulty with fine motor movements, walking, and often have tremors.
How Can Cerebral Palsy Be Caused by Medical Malpractice?
Unfortunately, while CP can be caused by abnormal brain development or unavoidable complications, CP often can be caused by negligence on behalf of the medical staff delivering your baby. Some of the most common causes of CP due to a healthcare provider’s negligence include the following:
- Opting for a vaginal birth when a c-section is indicated
- Waiting too long to intervene with a c-section when there is distress of the mother or child
- Failure to closely monitor decelerations and accelerations (contractions) which if abnormal, can reduce oxygen to the baby; causing anoxic brain injury
- Failing to notice and intervene when there is fetal distress
- If a baby is in respiratory distress at birth, failing to identify the problem and secure the airway can cause CP due to the lack of oxygen to the brain
- Failure to properly monitor the mother’s vitals (i.e. heart rate, oxygen, blood pressure, etc.)
- Failure to identify and treat eclampsia or pre-eclampsia
- Failure to use extraction tools properly, leading to the newborn being injured during delivery
- Failing to properly and efficiently treat rupture or umbilical cord prolapse
- Improper dosing or inappropriate use of labor inducing drugs such as Pitocin
- Improper handling of the baby during and after birth, causing injury to the newborn
How Can Our Oregon Medical Malpractice Lawyers Help You?
A child diagnosed with cerebral palsy is a devastating condition that can lead to lifelong and permanent disability. People with CP will need some degree of assistance, whether it be for physical, occupational, speech therapy, assistive devices or longterm care which is costly. As mentioned above, while CP is sometimes unpreventable, there are many instances in which it could have been prevented. Physicians understand the implications of a CP diagnosis and are therefore often not forthcoming in regard to the cause of the child’s CP due to the degree in which they may be held accountable. This is why, if your child was diagnosed with CP you should call our Oregon cerebral palsy lawyers who can determine if your child’s cerebral palsy was due to medical malpractice. If your child’s CP was due to medical malpractice, you may be eligible for damages, including:
- Past physical pain and suffering
- Future physical pain and suffering
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Lost wages (of the parent)
- Lost future wages (of the parent and child)
- Past, present and future medical bills
- Physical therapy coverage
- Occupational therapy coverage
- Speech therapy coverage
- Caregiver coverage if the child will need longterm care
- Assistive device coverage (walker, wheelchair, braces, cane, etc)
These are just some of the most common damages for a birth injury. If you believe there were other damages, do not hesitate to call our experienced law firm to learn what your rights to compensation may be.
Learn how Kuhlman Law Can Help You
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or killed as a result of medical malpractice contact the Oregon Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Kuhlman Law at our number below or fill out the intake form. We offer a free initial case evaluation and handle cases on a contingency fee which means that you pay no money unless we recover.
Our law firm handles cases throughout the state including Bend and Portland Oregon, Redmond, Central Oregon, Sisters, Madras, Multnomah County, Deschutes County, Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, Lane County, Medford, Gresham, La Grande, Albany, Medford, Beaverton, Umatilla, Pendleton, Cottage Grove, Florence, Oregon City, Springfield, Keizer, Grants Pass, McMinnville, Tualatin, West Linn, Forest Grove, Wilsonville, Newberg, Roseburg, Lake Oswego, Klamath Falls, Happy Valley, Tigard, Ashland, Milwakie, Coos Bay, The Dalles, St. Helens, Sherwood, Central Point, Canby, Troutdale, Hermiston, Silverton, Hood River, Newport, Prineville, Astoria, Tillamook, Lincoln City, Hillsboro, and Vancouver, Washington.
We also have an office in Minneapolis, Minnesota and take medical malpractice cases throughout the Twin Cities, including St. Paul, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Dakota County, Washington County, Anoka County, Scott County, Blaine, Stillwater, and Saint Paul Minnesota.