Philadelphia Cerebral Palsy Lawyer
Was your child unexpectedly diagnosed with cerebral palsy after their birth? Do you suspect that medical malpractice may have caused an injury at birth? If so, you and your child could be owed substantial compensation from the at-fault healthcare provider. While no amount of money can reverse the effects of your child’s condition, a fair recovery can give you and your family the resources you need to care for your child and provide them with the future they deserve.
At Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C., our award-winning attorneys have decades of experience handling the toughest injury cases in Pennsylvania, including multi-million-dollar medical malpractice claims. Find out what we can do for your family when you contact us for a free consultation with a birth injury attorney in Philadelphia.
What Is Cerebral Palsy?
The term cerebral palsy describes a group of neurological disorders affecting a person’s balance, strength, motor function, and muscle control. Cerebral palsy results from abnormal brain development, which can occur in the womb, during labor and delivery, or in the early stages of a child’s life. Those with cerebral palsy often have learning impairments, seizures, problems with vision and hearing, and joint problems.
It is often difficult to determine the root cause of cerebral palsy, but some cases are undoubtedly the result of improper medical care. When a child develops cerebral palsy due to a medical error, their family may have grounds for a cerebral palsy lawsuit against the negligent provider.
Types of Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is classified into different categories depending on how abnormal development affects the brain.
The different types of cerebral palsy include:
- Ataxic cerebral palsy – This type of cerebral palsy is characterized by ataxia, a lack of control over bodily movement. Those with ataxic cerebral palsy often have tremors and issues with coordination, balance, and muscle control.
- Dyskinetic cerebral palsy– Patients with dyskinetic or athetoid cerebral palsy suffer from a combination of stiff and limp muscle tone in various body parts. They tend to struggle with involuntary movements in the face, abdomen, and limbs.
- Hypotonic cerebral palsy – Hypotonic or atonic cerebral palsy saps strength and muscle tone, leaving patients with limp, sagging muscles. Children with hypotonic cerebral palsy often have trouble sitting, crawling, standing, or walking.
- Spastic cerebral palsy– Patients with spastic or hypertonic cerebral palsy suffer from unusually stiff muscle tone and involuntary convulsions. They often have trouble controlling voluntary motor functions. Spastic cerebral palsy is the most commonly diagnosed type of cerebral palsy.
- Mixed cerebral palsy– When multiple areas of the brain develop abnormally, the result is mixed cerebral palsy, which features a combination of symptoms from two or more types of cerebral palsy.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Cerebral Palsy?
Some of the most common causes of cerebral palsy include:
- Premature birth
- Delayed C-sections
- Head trauma during birth
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Intracranial bleeding
- Lack of oxygen to the brain
- Seizures during labor
- Seizures during early infancy
- Genetic conditions like Phenylketonuria
- Prenatal complications
- Multiple pregnancies
- Exposure to toxic materials
- Viral infections like Chickenpox
- Other infections like syphilis
What Are the Long-Term Effects of Cerebral Palsy?
Children with cerebral palsy may face the following complications, many of which continue into adulthood:
- Contracture – Shortening and tightening of muscle tissue from spasticity
- Malnutrition – Poor nutrition due to swallowing or feeding problems
- Mental health issues – Depression, social isolation, and behavior issues
- Respiratory disease – Breathing disorders due to difficulty breathing
- Osteoarthritis – Abnormal alignment of or pressure on the joints
- Osteoporosis – Low bone density and vulnerability to bone fractures
- Other health issues– Other complications like chronic pain and insomnia
When Is a Child’s Cerebral Palsy a Malpractice Issue?
Any cerebral palsy diagnosis is a tragedy, but not all cases stem from medical malpractice. Malpractice only occurs when a provider deviates from the accepted medical standards of care. In practice, this means an OB/GYN or other healthcare professional fails to provide the same level and quality of care that another provider with similar training and experience would render under the same circumstances.
Unless you are a physician yourself, you will likely struggle to determine whether a medical professional’s behavior meets the appropriate standard of care. That’s why you should contact a cerebral palsy lawyer in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania the moment you suspect you may have grounds for a claim. A cerebral palsy attorney in Philadelphia can evaluate your situation objectively and determine the best path forward.
Proving Medical Negligence in Cerebral Palsy Cases
You will need help from an independent medical expert who can determine what happened and whether medical malpractice contributed to your child’s cerebral palsy. Your attorney can work with this expert to review the following types of evidence for proof of medical negligence:
- Medical records from pregnancy, labor, and delivery
- Medical records of the baby’s birth, birth injury, and follow-up care
- Past complaints filed against the OB/GYN or other medical providers
- Eyewitness testimony from those who were present during delivery
- Expert testimony from pediatricians, anesthesiologists, nurses, midwives, obstetricians, and life-care planners
Compensation Available in Cerebral Palsy Cases
With a successful birth malpractice claim, you could obtain the compensation you need to support your child throughout their life. Some birth injury settlements are even “index-linked,” which means payments are linked to the cost of inflation. Depending on the circumstances, you could recover money for:
- Past and present medical care expenses
- Estimated future costs of medical care
- Costs of therapy and home modifications
- Costs of special education and counseling
- Loss of earnings and earning capacity
- Diminished quality of life and pain and suffering
Talk to an Experienced Pennsylvania Cerebral Palsy Attorney Now
If your child suffered a birth injury resulting in cerebral palsy and you suspect medical malpractice was involved, you should contact Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C. A birth injury lawyer in Philadelphia with our firm can answer your questions and review your case for free during your initial consultation.