Tim Misny, Cerebral Palsy Lawyer Cleveland, Ohio
Sadly, many parents receive the devastating news their child suffers from cerebral palsy as a result of a birth injury. As a cerebral palsy attorney with more than four decades of experience, I’ve helped many, many families hold medical professionals accountable, and obtain compensation to help with the cost of a lifetime of medical needs.
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a disorder of muscle movement and coordination. It’s caused by an injury to a child’s brain that occurred before or during birth or sometimes from an injury in infancy. CP affects the part of the brain that controls body movement and is characterized by a lack of control over muscle movements. There is no cure for cerebral palsy, but early diagnosis and treatment can greatly improve quality of life.
The failure to carry out a medically indicated cesarean section or the use of excessive force during a vacuum extraction are common causes of birth injury induced cerebral palsy.
Types of Cerebral Palsy
Spastic cerebral palsy
The most common type of cerebral palsy is characterized by exaggerated reflexes, stiff, awkward and tense muscle movements, and a general lack of coordination. Spastic cerebral palsy is divided into three basic types:
Spastic diplegia – includes difficulty walking caused by tense leg and hip muscles that make the legs cross at the knees.
Spastic hemiplegia – affects one side of the body and may prevent the arm and leg from developing normally.
Spastic quadriplegia – The most severe of this type of palsy, affecting the arms, legs, and body and makes walking and talking difficult.
Athetoid cerebral palsy
Also referred to as dyskinetic cerebral palsy, athetoid cerebral palsy is the second most common form of cerebral palsy. It results in a combination of uncontrolled very tense and very relaxed muscles. This is often exhibited in symptoms such as bad posture and facial problems such as grimacing, drooling and difficulty speaking.
Ataxic cerebral palsy
This is described by poor coordination caused by disrupted balance and depth perception, and a lack of coordination. Patients suffering from ataxic cerebral palsy may experience balance problems, clumsiness, lack of fine motor skills, seizures, or difficulty reaching for items.
Hypotonic cerebral palsy
Although not always categorized as a distinct type, hypotonic cerebral palsy is characterized by low muscle tone, leading to floppy movements and poor muscle strength. It can sometimes be associated with other types of cerebral palsy.
Mixed type cerebral palsy
Some individuals may exhibit a combination of the above types, and this is referred to as mixed type CP. For example, someone may have both spastic and dyskinetic features.
Causes of Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy can occur due to prenatal factors that affect the developing fetus. These factors may include maternal infections, such as rubella or cytomegalovirus, which can harm the developing fetal brain. Additionally, exposure to toxins, such as lead or certain medications, during pregnancy can contribute to the risk of cerebral palsy. In rare cases, genetic mutations or abnormalities may also play a role.
Perinatal factors are events that occur during childbirth, or during the immediate postnatal period that can increase the risk of cerebral palsy. Birth asphyxia, a condition where the baby experiences oxygen deprivation during delivery causing fetal distress, is a significant perinatal factor. If not promptly addressed, birth asphyxia can result in brain damage, leading to cerebral palsy. Other perinatal factors include premature birth, complications during labor and delivery, and untreated severe jaundice..
Although less common, cerebral palsy can develop in the early postnatal period due to factors such as brain infections or severe head injuries. These postnatal factors may result from accidents or illnesses after birth, which can lead to brain damage and subsequent motor impairments associated with cerebral palsy.
Infections during Pregnancy
Infections contracted by the mother during pregnancy, such as toxoplasmosis or syphilis, can affect the developing fetus. These infections can lead to inflammation in the fetal brain, causing damage and increasing the risk of cerebral palsy. Timely medical intervention and appropriate prenatal care are essential to reduce this risk.
Rh or ABO blood group incompatibility between the mother and the baby can lead to jaundice in the newborn. Severe jaundice, if left untreated, can result in a condition called kernicterus, which can contribute to the development of cerebral palsy. Proper monitoring and treatment of jaundice are crucial in preventing this complication.
Cerebral palsy is often difficult for the child and family to manage and live with. It is incredibly devastating when you learn the condition could have been avoided if it weren’t for medical negligence that occurred. If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a result of an error by a medical professional, you need to call me right away.
I have more than 40 years of experience advocating for my clients in cerebral palsy lawsuits. You deserve compensation for your child’s medical needs, and the financial help derived from a cerebral palsy lawsuit settlement. I am here to help you. To improve your child’s quality of life. Call me today, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®
Cerebral Palsy Challenges
Infants and adults with cerebral palsy often face mobility challenges due to muscle stiffness (spasticity), weakness, or coordination problems, which can result from a brain injury during early development. These challenges can make walking, standing, or using assistive devices such as wheelchairs or walkers difficult, impacting independence and daily activities.
Fine Motor Skill Impairments
Fine motor skills can be impaired in individuals with cerebral palsy, affecting tasks such as gripping objects, writing, or using utensils. Such impairments are often linked to a brain injury and can make activities such as buttoning a shirt, tying shoelaces, or feeding oneself more challenging.
Some people with cerebral palsy experience communication difficulties due to the impact of the brain injury on the areas of the brain responsible for speech and language. These difficulties can range from articulation and clarity of speech, to the inability to speak altogether, affecting social interactions and information access.
Swallowing Problems (Dysphagia)
Dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing, is common in individuals with cerebral palsy and may result from a brain injury. It can result in safety issues when eating and drinking, increasing the risk of choking or aspirating food or liquid into the airways.
Many individuals with cerebral palsy experience chronic pain, often due to muscle stiffness, joint deformities, or overuse of certain muscles. This pain can be constant or intermittent, impacting daily activities and sleep.
Fatigue and Energy Management
The effort required for movement and daily activities, influenced by brain injury-related muscle tone issues, can lead to increased energy expenditure and fatigue. Managing fatigue becomes important for sustaining activities, maintaining focus, and completing tasks throughout the day.
Spasticity and Muscle Contractures
Spasticity, a common symptom in cerebral palsy, involves muscle tightness and involuntary contractions. Over time, this can lead to muscle contractures, causing joint deformities that limit mobility and comfort.
Bladder and bowel control issues may occur in individuals with cerebral palsy. Managing incontinence can be time-consuming and may require assistance from caregivers.
Mobility or communication challenges, stemming from a brain injury, may lead to social isolation and barriers to participation in social activities and community events. These challenges can result in feelings of loneliness and exclusion.
Dependence on Assistive Devices
Many people with cerebral palsy rely on assistive devices such as communication boards, mobility aids, or adaptive technology to perform daily tasks. These devices, while essential, can pose accessibility challenges and require maintenance.
Educational and Employment Hurdles
Brain injury-related challenges can affect access to education and employment opportunities for individuals with cerebral palsy. Accommodations and support may be necessary to help them reach their full potential in these areas.
Emotional and Psychological Impact
Living with cerebral palsy, as a result of a child’s cerebral palsy diagnosis, can be emotionally challenging. The combination of brain injury-related difficulties and societal perceptions can lead to feelings of frustration, low self-esteem, or depression.
Comprehensive care, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, and emotional support, is essential to address these challenges and enhance the quality of life for those with cerebral palsy. In some cerebral palsy cases, medical mistakes involving medical negligence may have contributed to the child’s cerebral palsy diagnosis.
Physicians and other healthcare professionals responsible for medical negligence must be held accountable. Cerebral palsy lawyers do so by filing a cerebral palsy case against those who harmed your infant. Let me take care of the legal process, so you can be there for your child.
Treatment for Cerebral Palsy
Physical therapy focuses on improving mobility, muscle strength, and coordination. Therapists work with individuals to develop customized exercise and stretching routines to maximize their physical abilities.
Occupational therapy aims to enhance a person’s ability to perform daily tasks and improve fine motor skills. Therapists may recommend adaptive equipment and techniques to increase independence.
Speech and Language Therapy
Language can be difficult with for someone with cerebral palsy. Speech and language therapy helps individuals with cerebral palsy improve their communication skills. Therapists work on speech articulation, language comprehension, and may recommend alternative communication methods if needed.
Various assistive devices can aid mobility and communication. These include wheelchairs, walkers, communication boards, and adaptive computer technology tailored to individual needs.
Some orthopedic interventions may include orthopedic surgeries to correct joint deformities and/or spasticity. Orthopedic braces and splints are also used to improve mobility and prevent contractures.
Medications such as muscle relaxants, antispasmodic drugs, and botulinum toxin injections can help manage spasticity and reduce muscle stiffness.
Intrathecal Baclofen Therapy
This involves the implantation of a pump to deliver baclofen directly into the spinal fluid to reduce spasticity.
Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR)
SDR is a surgical procedure that involves cutting specific nerves in the spinal cord to reduce muscle spasticity and improve mobility.
This type of therapy involves horseback riding as a therapeutic intervention. The movement of the horse can help improve balance, posture, and muscle strength.
Aquatic therapy takes place in a pool and leverages the buoyancy of water to provide low-impact exercise, promoting improved muscle control and relaxation.
Robotic devices are used to assist with repetitive movements and exercises, helping individuals improve muscle control and coordination.
Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES)
FES involves the use of electrical currents to stimulate specific muscles, helping with muscle re-education and movement.
Some individuals with cerebral palsy explore alternative therapies such as acupuncture, chiropractic care, or hyperbaric oxygen therapy. While these treatments may offer relief for some, effectiveness can vary.
Parent and Caregiver Education
Education and training for parents and caregivers on how to support and care for a child with cerebral palsy are crucial components of treatment. Learning techniques for mobility, communication, and emotional support is essential.
It’s important to note that the choice of treatment for cerebral palsy depends on the individual’s unique needs, the severity of their condition, and their specific goals. A comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach often yields the best results, with healthcare professionals tailoring treatment plans to address physical, cognitive, and emotional aspects of cerebral palsy.
As an experienced cerebral palsy lawyer, I know how expensive these treatments can be. You should be able to ensure your child gets all of the care they need, and not have to worry about bills piling up. Call me today, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®
Costs of Cerebral Palsy Care
Medical costs can include doctor visits, specialist consultations, therapies (physical, occupational, speech), medications, assistive devices (wheelchairs, orthotics), and surgeries. These expenses often arise due to the child’s birth injuries and the need for ongoing medical care.
The expenses associated with ongoing rehabilitation, including physical and occupational therapy, are often significant. These therapies aim to address the child’s condition and improve their quality of life.
Costs related to purchasing and maintaining assistive devices like communication aids, mobility equipment, and adaptive technology. These devices are essential for enhancing the child’s independence and functionality.
Expenses for modifying the home to improve accessibility, such as installing ramps, widening doorways, or adding stairlifts. These modifications are necessary to accommodate the child’s condition.
Costs associated with special education services, tutoring, or private schooling tailored to meet the child’s unique learning needs, often resulting from their cerebral palsy diagnosis.
Expenses for adaptive vehicles or modifications to existing vehicles to accommodate wheelchairs or other mobility aids. These modifications are crucial for ensuring the child’s mobility and participation in daily life.
Costs for hiring caregivers or personal attendants to provide daily assistance and support. This is often necessary to help the child with cerebral palsy navigate daily activities.
Medications and Medical Supplies:
Ongoing expenses for medications to manage symptoms, and for medical supplies such as catheters or feeding tubes. These are essential for maintaining the child’s health and comfort.
Costs for specialized therapeutic equipment, such as standing frames or gait trainers. These devices are used to enhance the child’s physical capabilities.
Costs for Parents or Caregivers of Children with Cerebral Palsy:
Costs related to doctor visits, consultations with specialists, therapies, and medications for their child diagnosed with cerebral palsy. These expenses stem from the child’s condition and ongoing medical needs.
Expenses for respite care services that provide short-term relief for parents or caregivers, allowing them to take a break from caregiving responsibilities. Respite care is often necessary due to the demands of caring for a child with cerebral palsy.
Costs associated with travel to medical appointments, therapy sessions, or treatments, especially if specialized care is not available locally. Travel expenses are incurred to address the child’s medical needs.
Expenses for home modifications, such as ramps, accessible bathrooms, or safety equipment to accommodate their child’s needs. These modifications are made to ensure the child’s safety and accessibility.
Special Education and Tutoring:
Costs for special education programs, tutoring, or educational materials to support their child’s learning and development. These expenses arise due to the child’s unique educational requirements resulting from their cerebral palsy diagnosis.
Childcare and After-School Programs:
Fees for childcare services or after-school programs that can provide care and educational support for their child with cerebral palsy, addressing the child’s need for supervision and developmental opportunities.
Legal and Advocacy Costs:
Expenses related to legal fees and advocacy efforts, such as pursuing educational rights, disability benefits, or insurance claims. Legal and advocacy efforts are often necessary to secure necessary resources for the child’s care.
Insurance Premiums and Co-Payments:
Ongoing insurance premiums and out-of-pocket co-payments for medical services and treatments required for the child’s condition.
Parents or caregivers may experience a reduction in income due to the need to provide care and attend medical appointments, potentially impacting their career advancement and financial stability. This loss of income results from their child’s cerebral palsy and its associated demands.
Emotional and Psychological Costs:
Costs associated with seeking emotional support, counseling, or therapy to cope with the emotional challenges of raising a child with cerebral palsy. These challenges stem from the child’s condition and its impact on the family’s emotional well-being.
The financial impact of cerebral palsy, caused by factors such as a child’s birth injury, varies widely among families and is influenced by the child’s unique needs, available support services, and geographical location.
Cerebral Palsy may be caused by medical neglect or errors made by medical professionals.
If you believe your child’s cerebral palsy is a result of medical malpractice, please contact me and I’ll Make Them Pay!®