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A cerebral palsy diagnosis can turn a family upside down as new parents must figure out how to accommodate their child’s needs. For many children with cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities, seizure disorders, and vision problems are also common.

While sometimes cerebral palsy happens while the child is developing in the womb and cannot be helped, in some circumstances, a child may develop cerebral palsy as a result of a birth injury. Unfortunately, proving something went wrong during delivery can be hard to do. But with a Pittsburgh cerebral palsy lawyer like those of Munley Law, we can guide you through the medical malpractice claims process to ensure your child receives the financial support needed for the difficult road ahead.

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What Is Cerebral Palsy?

Pittsburgh Cerebral Palsy LawyerThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines cerebral palsy as the most common motor disability in childhood. It impacts movement, balance, and posture and is caused by abnormal brain development or damage.

Not all children suffer from cerebral palsy in the same way, as it can be mild to severe. There are four types of cerebral palsy, too. This includes:

  • Spastic Cerebral Palsy: Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common form of the disease, impacting about 80 percent of those with cerebral palsy. Signs of spastic cerebral palsy include stiff muscle movement due to increased muscle tone. It can affect different body parts, such as the legs and arms on one or both sides. For some people with severe spastic quadriplegia, cerebral palsy, it impacts all limbs, the trunk, and the face.
  • Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy: Dyskinetic cerebral palsy causes uncontrollable movements that impact the hands, arms, feet, and legs. It can cause tight or loose muscle tone, changing over one day. It can also impact the face and tongue for some people, making swallowing and talking difficult.
  • Ataxic Cerebral Palsy: Ataxic cerebral palsy impacts a person’s balance and coordination, making them unsteady when they walk or make quick movements.
  • Mixed Cerebral Palsy: Some people experience more than one form of cerebral palsy. The most common is spastic-dyskinetic cerebral palsy.

What Causes Cerebral Palsy?

Several things could cause a child to develop cerebral palsy, which results from abnormal brain development or damage to the brain.

Cerebral palsy that occurs during birth is due to lack of oxygen, typically during a difficult labor and delivery. However, these cases of cerebral palsy are pretty low.

Congenital cerebral palsy, however, is much more common, being 85 to 90 percent of all cerebral palsy diagnoses. Congenital cerebral palsy occurs before birth and can occur due to the following:

  • Low birth weight
  • Premature birth
  • Multiple births, such as twins or triplets
  • Children born from infertility treatments
  • Infections during pregnancy
  • Jaundice and kernicterus
  • Neonatal stroke
  • Mothers with health conditions, including thyroid diseases, intellectual disability, or seizure disorders
  • Birth complications, including detachment of the placenta, uterine rupture, or issues with the umbilical cord

What Are the Early Signs and Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy may not be found in a child right away. Instead, making a precise diagnosis can take months or even years.

Early indicators of cerebral palsy in infants and toddlers include:

  • Inability to lift head
  • Poor muscle tone
  • Stiff muscles
  • Poor coordination and balance
  • Delay in milestones
  • Difficulty swallowing and excess drooling
  • Muscle spasticity
  • Involuntary movements
  • Difficulty with speech and fine motor functions

The severity of a child’s cerebral palsy will ultimately determine what signs and symptoms they have. Parents who believe their child suffered cerebral palsy as a result of a birth injury should call Munley Law.

How To Test For Cerebral Palsy

There is no singular test to diagnose cerebral palsy. However, there are exams physicians can do to narrow down potential diagnoses.

At birth, doctors will look for neurological conditions such as reduced heart rate, increased or decreased muscle tone, muscle reflexes, and poor breathing and crying.

Doctors also use the Apgar test to assess a baby one, five, and ten minutes after birth. This test measures the baby’s skin appearance, heart rate, reflexes, muscle tone, and breathing. A score of three or less five minutes after birth can be a sign of oxygen deprivation, a sign of cerebral palsy.

Children who do not show immediate cause of concern for cerebral palsy may not be diagnosed until they are toddlers or older. Tests for toddlers include further physical exams, CT scans, MRIs, X-rays, EOS imaging, and genetic tests.

How Is Cerebral Palsy Treated?

There is no cure for cerebral palsy. However, there are methods of therapy that can help alleviate pain and symptoms of cerebral palsy.

Cerebral palsy treatments include:

  • Medication
  • Surgery
  • Therapy such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy
  • Adaptive equipment such as walkers and braces

Is Your Child’s Cerebral Palsy the Result of Medical Malpractice?

In some cases, a cerebral palsy diagnosis is the result of a birth injury caused by medical malpractice. Cerebral palsy due to a negligent medical professional includes:

  • Untreated infections while the mother is pregnant
  • Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy
  • Fetal distress and a failure to perform a C-section
  • Use of Pitocin

To determine if brain damage occurred due to a negligent doctor during the prenatal period or delivery, a Pittsburgh birth injury lawyer will need to review your child’s medical records carefully. Contact Munley Law to learn more.

What Are the Forms of Recovery Available for Birth Injury Cases in Pittsburgh?

Recovery available in a cerebral palsy lawsuit includes:

  • Medical care, including future medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Ongoing therapy costs
  • Diminished earning capacity
  • Special education costs
  • Adaptive equipment and home modifications
  • Home healthcare

In some cases, non-economic damages may be awarded which include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Disfigurement, scarring, disability, and physical impairment
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of consortium

Victims may also be entitled to punitive damages if a medical professional was reckless or grossly negligent. Call the Pittsburgh cerebral palsy attorneys of Munley Law to learn what compensation you may be entitled to.

How is Compensation Calculated in Medical Malpractice Claims?

The amount of compensation you are entitled to in a medical malpractice claim ultimately depends on the severity of your child’s birth injuries. The judge will consider the past, current, and future medical needs of raising a child diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

How Our Attorneys Can Handle a Cerebral Palsy Birth Injury Case

Not all personal injury lawyers are equipped to handle the complexities of a birth injury lawsuit, especially one where a child developed cerebral palsy.

Our Pittsburgh cerebral palsy attorneys work closely with medical experts to determine the severity of the brain injury, what medical errors occurred, and what your child’s long-term needs will be.

Talk To An Experienced Pittsburgh Birth Injury Lawyer To Learn More

Cerebral palsy due to medical negligence can be devastating to a family. Families often have to restructure their entire lives to figure out how to care for their child’s permanent condition, impacting their finances and way of life.

Someone must be held accountable. At Munley Law, we seek justice for the families of children born with neurological disorders, including cerebral palsy.

In past cerebral palsy cases, we have helped families secure compensation for:

  • Medical care
  • Assistive devices
  • Lost wages
  • Future care
  • Pain and suffering

Birth injury cases are complicated as the child technically has until they turn 20 to file a birth injury claim. However, it is best to seek a free initial consultation to determine if it’s best to fight for legal action now, as evidence may become more challenging to find as time passes. But remember, if you seek compensation on your child’s behalf, they cannot do so in the future.

This makes connecting with an experienced Pittsburgh cerebral palsy lawyer all the more critical.

Pittsburgh Cerebral Palsy LawyerMunley Law Fights For Children Who Suffered Birth Injuries.

If you or a loved one has a child born with cerebral palsy as a result of negligent actions by medical professionals, you must take legal action.

Call the Munley Law firm for a no-obligation, free consultation to pursue compensation today.

    Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys

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    Pittsburgh, PA 15219

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