Cerebral Palsy: Was My Child's Condition Caused by Medical Negligence?


Learning that a newborn child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy is one of the greatest fears of expecting parents.  A diagnosis of cerebral palsy often means that a child could suffer from a number of potentially crippling disabilities, including muscular deformity, involuntary movement, seizures, speech disorders and mental retardation for the rest of their lives.  Although a specific cause of cerebral palsy has not been pinpointed, the general consensus is that cerebral palsy is brought on by some form of injury to the brain of the infant before, during, or shortly after birth.  Fortunately for those that suffer from cerebral palsy and their parents, awards in cerebral palsy cases are usually substantial because of the long term effect of the condition and the high cost of medical care associated with the disorder.

In Frederick County, a jury recently yielded an award of close to 4 million dollars to the family of a child diagnosed with cerebral palsy after birth.  In this case, the mother, who was 8 months pregnant at the time, began to complain of severe and persistent pain and vomiting.  After alternative treatments were attempted, the child was born via cesarean section hours after the mother's complaints.  Upon birth, the child demonstrated signs of oxygen depravation to the brain, which is commonly associated with cerebral palsy.  At trial, the family alleged that the failure of the attending physicians to properly evaluate, diagnose and treat the mother was the cause of the child's cerebral palsy.  The jury agreed with the family, and rendered an award of nearly 4 million dollars for past and future medical expenses, future lost income and noneconomic damages.

If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a number of factors may indicate that the condition has been caused or facilitated by medical negligence.  Common indicators of medical negligence shown shortly after birth are if a child is under-oxygenated or has bluish skin, seizures, trouble breathing,  or an abnormal fluxuation of body temperature.  Use of vacuum extraction or heart rate abnormalities are also indicators of medical negligence.  Other factors that could indicate medical negligence are whether the attending physicians addressed changes in the condition of the pregnant mother, whether physicians addressed changes in the condition of the fetus, whether a cesarean section was ordered in a timely manner, and whether there is a family history of brain damage.

If you or your child suffers from cerebral palsy and you believe that the condition was a result of medical negligence, you should contact an attorney immediately.  The attorneys at Portner & Shure have many years of experience providing aggressive representation for the victims of cerebral palsy and their families and currently practice in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

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