Most readers are probably not aware that today is World Cerebral Palsy Day, an effort which occurs on the first Wednesday of every October. The effort is promoted by a group of non-profit organizations and is observed in nearly 50 countries. According to the literature promoting the campaign, there are currently around 17 million people who live with cerebral palsy.
Cerebral palsy refers to a group of symptoms involving mobility issues, as well as problems with communication, depth perception and sensation. In some cases, cerebral palsy involves cognition errors and epilepsy. Fortunately, the problems presented by cerebral palsy do not get worse over time. Unfortunately, they are permanent.
Cerebral palsy is can arise anytime during pregnancy, childbirth or after birth up until age three or so. Although the cause of cerebral palsy is unknown in the majority of cases, it can sometimes be tied to specific factors in child birth. Low birth weight, premature birth, and multiple births are all known risk factors. Other risk factors include infections during pregnancy and birth complications.
It can be devastating for parents to learn that their baby has cerebral palsy. This devastation is only heightened in cases where cerebral palsy is the result of an infection or birth complication from which a physician or other provider failed to protect the patient.
Although it is possible to pursue medical malpractice against a physician for negligence that led to cerebral palsy, doing so successfully is not necessarily an easy task. In addition to establishing a clear medical standard of care which the provider breached, it has to be shown that that breach was the cause of the condition. Oftentimes this requires the testimony of expert witnesses and other strategies, and the assistance of an experienced medical malpractice attorney is indispensible.
Source: Huffington Post, “World Cerebral Palsy Day 2014: ‘Change My World in 1 Minute’,” Nicole Luongo, September 30, 2014.