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Cleveland Cerebral Palsy Attorney

Your child’s birth injury may be due to negligence. Our Ohio law firm can help

One of the most common birth injuries affecting children is cerebral palsy. An estimated 3 out of 1,000 children are born with this birth injury, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As a result, cerebral palsy (CP) is the most common motor disability among children, according to the CDC. And among adults, more than 1 million people have CP.

Cerebral palsy affects people in many different ways. An estimated 75 percent of people with CP experience chronic pain, according to the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation. Half of people with CP have an intellectual impairment.  One-third (33 percent) of people with cerebral palsy cannot walk and have a hip displacement. And 25 percent of people with CP cannot talk or have a behavior disorder.

Worst of all, cerebral palsy is often due to medical negligence, including medical errors made by doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals. When this happens, it’s critical that families fully understand their rights and the legal options available to them. That’s why we want to meet with you.

Experienced Ohio birth injury lawyer John A. Lancione can help you every step of the way. Nationally recognized for his work on birth injury cases, attorney Lancione and his dedicated legal team at The Lancione Law Firm can investigate your child’s injury and find the evidence you need to build the strongest possible legal case. We handle cerebral palsy injury claims nationwide and welcome the opportunity to work with you.

What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a physical disability that affects movement of certain parts of their body. A child’s muscle tone, reflexes and posture can be affected due to cerebral palsy as well.

There are several different types of cerebral palsy. Some of the most common types include:

  • Spastic cerebral palsy – The most common type of CP, spastic cerebral palsy affects 70 to 80 percent of people with CP and often involves stiff muscles and movements. This form of CP is due to damage to the motor cortex near the top of the brain.
  • Dyskinetic cerebral palsy – Also known as athetoid cerebral palsy, this type of CP affects roughly 6 percent of people with cerebral palsy. People with dyskinetic cerebral palsy experience involuntary movements, including twisting and repetitive movements. This type of CP is due to damage to the basal ganglia part of the brain.
  • Ataxic cerebral palsy – An estimated 6 percent of people with cerebral palsy experience ataxic cerebral palsy, which frequently involves imprecise or unstable movements. People with ataxic cerebral palsy often have poor balance and poor depth perception. This type of CP is due to damage to the brain’s cerebellum.

There are also several different ways to measure the severity of cerebral palsy, including:

  • Communication Function Classification System (CFCS) – A level 1 to level 5 scale that measures the communication skills of a person with cerebral palsy.
  • Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) – A level 1 to level 5 scale that measures the movements and motor functions of a person with CP.
  • Manual Ability Classification System (MACS) – A level 1 to 5 scale that measures the ability to physically handle objects for an individual with cerebral palsy.

What causes Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy is caused by brain damage, and one way for that brain damage to occur is lack of oxygen in the brain, a condition referred to as hypoxia. Among newborn children, cerebral palsy often occurs due to lack of oxygen in the womb or during the delivery process. Premature delivery or a prolonged delivery are often associated with cerebral palsy.

Young children can also develop cerebral palsy after birth as a result of a stroke, which often occurs during surgery or as a result of heart complications. There are other, less common causes as well. The cause should be discussed immediately with your pediatrician if you suspect your child has cerebral palsy.

What are warning signs of Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy can be difficult to diagnose, especially in newborn babies and young children. However, there are warning signs of cerebral palsy that parents should be aware of and respond to right away, including:

  • Poor muscle tone.
  • Frequent muscle spasms.
  • Poor muscle control.
  • Stiff or awkward movements.
  • Toddlers over 6 months old not being able to lift their head on their own.
  • Children 12 to 18 months old who cannot walk.
  • Children over 2 years old who cannot talk in simple sentences.

You know your baby best. If something does not seem right, talk to your doctor right away. If your doctor has not already done so, ask your child’s physician to conduct a General Movements Assessment, especially if your child is under 5 months old. Then schedule an appointment with our Ohio law firm to learn more about your rights as a parent.

How does medical negligence play a role?

Negligence by medical professionals often results in cerebral palsy among newborn children. This is why doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals need to be aware of the warning signs and risk factors that can result in cerebral palsy when a woman is pregnant or during the birth of a child.

Medical negligence that results in cerebral palsy can take many forms, including:

  • Doctors not taking into account a woman’s pre-existing medical conditions during her pregnancy or the baby’s delivery. This includes women with high blood pressure, flu-like symptoms, a history of seizures and infections during pregnancy, including zika and sepsis.
  • Doctors ignoring medical issues involving the fetus during pregnancy or the baby’s delivery. This includes the position of the fetus in the woman’s womb, infections during pregnancy, low birth weight, premature birth and if the fetus is larger than normal, a condition known as macrosomia.
  • Doctors ignoring risk factors soon after a child’s birth, including jaundice, bacterial meningitis and viral encephalitis.

Experienced physicians know the warning signs of a possible birth injury and take them seriously. In many situations, a doctor might prescribe certain medications, perform a cesarean section (C-section) or take other steps designed to prevent cerebral palsy or another type of birth injury.

When medical professionals ignore these warning signs or act in a negligent manner, they need to be held accountable for their actions. That’s our job and we take our work very seriously. That’s why we want to meet with you as soon as possible to learn more about what happened.

Don’t give up hope. We can help. Contact our Ohio law firm

Don’t underestimate the complexity of your potential legal case. In many cases, medical professionals deny doing anything wrong. Instead, they often hire attorneys to defend their actions and deny your claim.

We understand what’s at stake for your family. The financial impact of a birth injury like cerebral palsy can easily add up to thousands of dollars or significantly more during your child’s lifetime. We also realize your case is about more than just money. It’s about making sure your child’s birth injury gets the attention your family deserves. It’s about justice.

Discover what an experienced birth injury lawyer can do for you. Contact us and schedule a free consultation at our Rocky River, Ohio law firm today. You can reach us online or call (440) 331-6100 or (877) 515-4369 to speak with Cleveland cerebral palsy attorney John A. Lancione.

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