Sunday, May 24, 2009

California: Birth injuries result in Cerebral Palsy, seizures and lawsuits!

Infants sometimes sustain injuries during childbirth. Not all injuries are preventable no matter what measures are taken during the delivery. However, some injuries are avoidable and may be attributed to the negligence of medical professionals in attendance during the mother's labor and/or child's birth. In many birth-injury cases, the injury is the result of the doctor's failure to provide adequate care or to respond appropriately to symptoms of fetal distress, complications or medical conditions of the child or mother. vary in type and severity, ranging from minor such as forceps bruising to severe, life-altering injuries, such as cerebral palsy.

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy refers to a number of disorders that affect the part of a person's brain that controls muscle tone, movement, coordination, balance and posture. The extent of brain damage will determine the severity and type of cerebral palsy. It is non-progressive, meaning it does not worsen over time; however, symptoms may change during the course of a person's life.

The Four Types of Cerebral Palsy are as Follows:

Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common type. Persons with this type of cerebral palsy have tight, stiff muscles. It often affects one muscle group, but can affect more or the entire body. Symptoms of spastic cerebral palsy cause difficulty changing positions, and lifting and dropping things.

Athetoid cerebral palsy involves damage to the cerebellum and affects the ability to make coordinated movements. This usually affects the hands, feet, limbs, face and tongue. Symptoms may include unintentional movements or facial expressions, and trouble with speaking or walking.

Ataxic cerebral palsy affects a person's balance and depth perception. Persons may have problems walking, controlling limbs and performing daily tasks. Shaking and/or tremors are often also associated with ataxia.

Mixed cerebral palsy occurs in persons who have had damages in multiple areas of the brain. The most common mixed type of cerebral palsy is spastic (stiff muscles) combined with athetoid (unintentional movements). However, combinations of other types of cerebral palsy may occur depending on the person, the parts of the brain damaged and the severity of the injury.

What Can Cause Cerebral Palsy?

Injury to a baby's brain before, during or after delivery can cause cerebral palsy. Brain damage leading to cerebral palsy may have a variety of causes, including intraventricular hemorrhage (bleeding into the brain), prolonged lack of oxygen, infection, nuchal cord (cord wrapped around the baby's neck for an extended period of time), failure to perform cesarean section or delay in c-section, failure to diagnose and treat fetal disease, inadequate response to medical conditions, improper use of vacuum extraction or forceps, failure to monitor the mother during labor, failure to monitor the fetal heart strip and/or improper delivery management.

Persons suffering from cerebral palsy often have other medical conditions; some examples may be vision loss, hearing loss, seizures and developmental disabilities.

Who is Responsible?

The party responsible for a birth injury varies depending on the type, severity and time of the injury. In many cases, the doctor managing the delivery is liable for negligence that may have caused the injury. The negligent actions (or failure to act) may be of the doctor, nurses or other medical staff members. Physicians and other medical personnel are held to a professional standard of care. If they fail to meet this standard, negligence may have occurred and the party or parties responsible may be held liable.

Medical facilities, such as hospitals, must also meet a recognized standard of care. If the facility does not provide the same level of care as other facilities in similar situations, the health-care facility itself may be held negligent and responsible for resulting injuries. Hospitals may also be found responsible for the actions of staff members, depending on the circumstances of the case.

Compensation for Birth Injuries

In a birth-injury case, financial claims may differ with the type and severity of the injury. The amount of monetary damages may also vary depending upon the jurisdiction. It is important to note that California law limits the amount of money which can be recovered as non-economic damages in any medical malpractice case. These are known as general damages, which are for emotional distress, pain and suffering. The maximum amount allowed for general damages in California is $250,000.00.

The court may award monetary damages to the injured child and/or parents. Often, this money will go into a trust created for the child's benefit. When determining compensation, the court may consider factors such as severity of the injury, impact on quality of life, mental disabilities, physical disabilities, future medical care, special equipment, therapy and support services, pain and suffering, and loss of future income. The court may also factor in a long-term care plan for the child to ensure ongoing care after the child's parents are deceased.
Parents of an injured child may also receive compensation for medical expenses, additional care costs, and, in a case where the injury led to the infant's death, wrongful death.

About Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, LLP

are dedicated to helping people revive or restore their lives after suffering from a medical malpractice injury. We work to see medical expenses paid off, appropriate long term care provided, recovery of lost wages, and damages for the pain and suffering endured by you and your family.

Source: Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, LLP


Post a Comment

<< Home