Understanding Cerebral Palsy in Oregon from Our Portland Cerebral Palsy Lawyers
When a baby is born, whether it is a friend or family member’s, or even your own, some of the best words you can hear are: “Mother and baby are healthy and happy.” It is a parent’s worst nightmare to hear or discover that their baby has a medical condition, let alone one such as Cerebral Palsy. Cerebral Palsy is not just a medical condition—it is an all-consuming, traumatic for all parties, absolutely life-altering type of condition. Many times, Cerebral Palsy is the result of a doctor or medical staff’s negligence, whether during the pregnancy, during birth, or after birth. There is a standard of care that your doctor needs to be adhering to from first visit until even after birth. To determine whether that care was met, if your child has Cerebral Palsy, our Portland Cerebral Palsy lawyers can help with this immediately after a diagnosis of cerebral palsy in Oregon.
What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral Palsy is a set of motor disorders that affect how a person is able to move and maintain his or her balance and posture, according to the CDC. The inability to move and maintain balance and posture is a result of damaged or abnormal brain development. There are three main types: spasticity; dyskinesia, and ataxia. Spasticity is marked by stiff muscles; dyskinesia is marked by uncontrollable movements; and ataxia is marked by poor balance and coordination. In the United States, about 764,000 children and adults currently have Cerebral Palsy.
About 500,000 of them are children under the age of 18. More, about 2.3 to 3.6 children out of every 1,000 have Cerebral Palsy. Cerebral Palsy takes place in the womb, at birth, or in the first two years of life. Most children are diagnosed during the pre-school ages, although signs and symptoms can be found earlier on. If your child has been impacted by Cerebral Palsy and you suspect medical negligence was a factor, our Oregon Cerebral Palsy Attorneys are here to help you.
Signs of Cerebral Palsy in Babies
Cerebral palsy looks different for everyone, including amongst babies. The primary sign found amongst babies with Cerebral Palsy is the delayed reaching of moving milestones, such as walking, talking, and rolling over. Other signs that a baby may have some form of Cerebral Palsy include:
Younger than 6 months:
- Feels stiff or floppy
- When picked up, legs get stiff, cross, or scissor
- Head lags when picked up while on his or her back
- When cradled in your arms, he or she appears to overextend his back and neck. This makes it seem like he or she is constantly pushing away from you.
Older than 6 months:
- Does not roll over, either way
- Cannot bring hands together
- Difficulty bringing hands to mouth
- Reaches out with only one hand, while the other hand is fisted
Older than 10 months of age:
- Lopsided crawling—pushes off with one hand and leg, while dragging opposite hand and leg
- Scooting on buttocks, instead of crawling on all fours
- Hops on knees, instead of crawling on all fours
- Does not crawl on all fours
It is important to note that these signs and symptoms are not all encompassing—each child reacts differently. Likewise, a baby that has one or more of these symptoms does not necessarily always have Cerebral Palsy. Additionally, if you have sought the advice of your doctor or medical care team, it is important to get a second opinion. It is often advised to seek the medical advice of another hospital or doctor. Moreover, our Portland attorneys have experience handing Cerebral Palsy in Oregon, and can help you determine if you have a strong claim.
Other Complications Related to Cerebral Palsy
Besides the already stated, other complications can arise as a result of having Cerebral Palsy. Although it thankfully does not tend to worsen progressively, Cerebral Palsy carries many further complications and related issues. These include, but are not limited to, intellectual disabilities, seizures, vision problems, particularly eye muscle imbalance, hearing problems, speech problems, scoliosis, mental health challenges, and joint issues, due to severe stiffness.
Not to mention, in adulthood, the person may not be able to work and drive. Often, one with Cerebral Palsy requires assistance for their entire lives, home care, special education accommodations, and high medical care fees.
How Negligent Doctors Can Cause or Contribute to Cerebral Palsy
One way that can lead to a baby being born with Cerebral Palsy is if there is a lack of oxygen during a difficult labor or delivery. If a baby is in breech, such as in a position where they are facing feet forward, this can cause Cerebral Palsy. Low birth weight, premature birth, and multiple babies are also other risks. This is especially true if one of multiple babies has passed during delivery.
There are also many times when a woman has a condition, such as an infection, during pregnancy, that the doctor needs to be aware of and make changes to accordingly. Otherwise, these conditions can lead to poor brain development and conditions like Cerebral Palsy can form. The conditions doctors are responsible for are not just during labor and delivery—rather, they are those that start from pregnancy through until delivery, and even thereafter. One of our Portland Cerebral Palsy lawyers for cerebral palsy in Oregon can readily assist you in determining if you have a medical malpractice Cerebral Palsy claim.
Other People/Entities that Can Cause or Contribute to Cerebral Palsy in Oregon
Not only can doctors be liable for negligently caring for a patient and consequently responsible a baby’s Cerebral Palsy, but other actors who took part in the entire pregnancy and delivery process may be at fault. They are as follows:
- Nurse practitioners
- The Hospital itself
- Medical assistants
- Birthing centers
- Physician groups
Note, however, that those people and entities listed above, may only be liable for certain phases of the process—those that were more heavily involved in, or ones in which they were acting within their scope of duties. Additionally, nurses, for example, might actually be sued through the hospital that they work for, as they are employees of the hospital. Doctors, on the other hand, are considered independent contractors, and can be sued in their individual capacity.
How Cerebral Palsy Can Form Before Birth
There are different stages in which a doctor or other person or entity can be found liable for negligently providing medical care to a baby, which then resulted in Cerebral Palsy. Before birth, or labor and delivery, numerous instances exist in which liability can form. Generally, good prenatal care must be put in place throughout the whole pregnancy by the doctor and supporting staff. The doctor and his or her staff must consistently monitor the patient while pregnant and carefully and regularly checking development of the baby. If a remotely red flag arises, and the doctor misses it or does not give it proper attention, liability for medical malpractice may result. There are also specific tests and evaluations to track if developmental delays exist for the baby. Those must be carried out properly and maintained.
Specifically, one major risk is if the mother contracts an infection—particularly, chickenpox, rubella, pelvic infections, and bacterial infections in the placenta or fetal membranes. Those who have become pregnant through the use of infertility treatments also have a higher risk of having their baby be born with Cerebral Palsy in Oregon. Genetic abnormalities, lack of oxygen to the developing fetus, undiagnosed preeclampsia, and eclamptic seizures are also issues that can exist before birth takes place. Even if the mother has intellectual disabilities herself, or even thyroid problems or seizures, the baby is more at risk to develop Cerebral Palsy. This all needs to be evaluated on a routine basis.
How Cerebral Palsy Can Form During Birth
- Extended labor
- Ignoring signs of fetal distress, such as a lack of oxygen
- Breech—baby is facing the opposite way needed to deliver (feet first)
- Overusing Pitocin, a medicine used to increase contractions, to accelerate delivery
- Physical injury and trauma from vacuums and forceps
- Shoulder dystocia—baby gets stuck in canal and may lose oxygen
Another commonly discussed source of birth issues are C-sections. Today, approximately 1 in 3 women get a C-section, whether planned in advance or made last-minute to keep the mother and baby safe. C-sections are when surgical incisions are made in the mother’s uterus and abdomen. This is a childbirth alternative to vaginal delivery. Often, C-sections are last-minute decisions made to ensure the safety of the mother and baby.
Other times, they are preferred for personal reasons, such as the desire to not want vaginal tear or embarrassment of vaginal delivery in front of others. Regardless of why they are chosen, C-sections carry risks—risks that carry great weight and equate to lifelong challenges, such as Cerebral Palsy. For instance, if the C-Section is not done at the right time, the baby’s oxygen can be decreased and brain damage can result. More mechanically, if the baby is nicked in their skin or organs, traumatic brain injury can be of consequence. Any trauma to the head can cause Cerebral Palsy, along with several other complications.
Conditions like Cerebral Palsy are lifelong and require extensive physical, mental, educational, and transportation time and costs. To determine whether your child acquired Cerebral Palsy during pregnancy or during birth is a complex task for anyone to cope with and determine. If you think you have a Cerebral Palsy claim, our Portland Cerebral Palsy lawyers are ready to help you immediately after any cerebral palsy diagnosis in Oregon.
Ask our Portland Cerebral Palsy Lawyer for Help with Cerebral Palsy Cases in Oregon
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.