Cerebral Palsy Lawyers in Philadelphia
Our Philadelphia Attorneys Have Won Over $2 Billion
For over 50 years, The Beasley Firm has been one of the preeminent law firms for birth injury litigation. We have obtained hundreds of millions of dollars in benefits for children with cerebral palsy, including over $15 million in cerebral palsy verdicts in 2012 alone. Speak with a Philadelphia cerebral palsy attorney from our team about your case; we're here to fight your battle.
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What Is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy refers to a group of disorders with similar symptoms rather than a single medical condition. Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to a baby's developing brain, particularly the parts that control the body's motor skills, muscle coordination, and movements. The injury can occur at any point from the beginning of pregnancy to the first two years of the child's life.
Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit for Cerebral Palsy
Most cerebral palsy is not preventable. The legal system focuses on the instances in which it was preventable, such as during the third trimester of pregnancy, the labor and delivery period, or the immediate period after birth while the baby is still in the hospital.
Cerebral palsy can be caused by:
- Hypoxia / oxygen deprivation during labor or after birth
- Infections during pregnancy such as Group B Strep
- Untreated high bilirubin levels or kernicterus
- Dangerously low blood sugar levels
- Untreated meningitis
In a malpractice lawsuit, the family can be awarded compensation for past, current, and future benefits if their attorneys can prove in court that it was negligent for doctors, midwives, or nurses not to recognize the signs and symptoms of a problem and treat it appropriately.
Risks of Infant Oxygen Deprivation
During the pregnancy or prenatal period and during labor and delivery, a baby's well-being must be closely monitored for any signs of distress, hypoxia, anoxia, or lack of oxygen. OB/GYNs have a wide variety of tools available to diagnose fetal distress. Doctors, midwives, and nurses should be able to see when a baby is in distress or running out of oxygen, and, once that process starts, the healthcare providers should deliver the baby right away to prevent brain damage.
Fetal heart monitoring is one of the most important ways to identify fetal distress during labor and delivery. By monitoring the baby’s heartbeat, doctors and nurses can identify potential problems, such as:
- Deceleration (Tachycardia)
- Slow Heartbeat (Bradycardia)
- Fast Heartbeat
Research suggests the average baby’s heartbeat (baseline heart rate) is between 110 and 160 beats per minute during labor. While some fluctuation is normal, it is imperative that medical staff monitor the heart rate for any pattern that might indicate oxygen deprivation or another concern.
Like many birth injuries, fetal heart rate monitoring mistakes are preventable. If doctors fail to interpret the fetal heart strip properly, or nursing staff is incapable of interpreting the monitor, the baby could suffer brain damage, seizures, and cerebral palsy.
How fetal heart rate monitoring mistakes can lead to cerebral palsy:
- Medical staff (doctors or nurses) misdiagnose information on the fetal heart strip and fail to perform an emergency c-section to avoid oxygen deprivation
- The doctor ignored potentially dangerous heart rate patterns on the strip, putting the baby at risk of oxygen deprivation and ensuing medical complications
- The individual (nurse or staff member) monitoring the heart rate strip fails to notify the doctor of potentially problematic patterns on the heart rate monitor
Cerebral Palsy Diagnosis: Symptoms & Treatment
The diagnosis is usually made by the time a child is two years of age, though some forms are diagnosed at two years of age. Early indicators include a lack of muscle coordination, not reaching milestones, delay in crawling or walking, stiff or tight muscles, walking on toes, or floppy muscle tone. In addition to causing problems with ambulation, cerebral palsy can also lead to problems with bowel and bladder function, breathing, speech, eating, swallowing, learning, vision, and hearing - the whole range of bodily functions that depend upon muscle control.
The three different kinds of Cerebral Palsy, classified by symptoms, are:
- Spastic diplegia, which results in stiff movements, issues with movement
- Athetoid, which results in loss of movement control
- Ataxic, which results in balance/depth perception issues
Seizures are among the first signs that your baby suffered a severe lack of oxygen to the brain. When you hear the word "seizure," you may think of a body shaking or convulsing uncontrollably. In newborns or babies, seizures can present differently.
A baby who is having a seizure may:
- Stare blankly
- Stop breathing/apnea
- Nod his / her head rapidly
- Blink rapidly
- Experience loss of tone
- Cry a loud-pitched cry
- Tighten their arm or leg
- Smack their lips
Every baby is different. Medication that may work for one baby may not work for another. Sometimes, when the seizures cannot be controlled by medication, Vitamin B6 and a ketogenic diet that is high in fat, low in carbohydrates, and calorie restricted may be added to the treatment regime.
Get a Medical & Legal Team in Philadelphia Working for You
Babies who were subjected to prolonged stress or deprived of vital oxygen during the prenatal period face lifelong medical problems and expenses. At The Beasley Firm, our specialized birth injury cerebral palsy team is made up of medical doctors with legal degrees and nurse paralegals who have worked for decades in the hospital, including in the labor and delivery and neonatal intensive care units.
Our team has won two of the largest medical negligence judgments in Pennsylvania state history, of $100 million and $55 million. We have also won numerous multimillion-dollar verdicts and settlements, including a $3.75 million jury verdict in a county where medical malpractice plaintiffs virtually never win, and a $12.6 million jury verdict against a well-known local hospital. Our medical negligence and cerebral palsy lawyers in Philadelphia are nationally recognized and respected. Our team is often the team that other lawyers turn to for help with their most challenging and important cases.
If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, please contact The Beasley Firm for a free consultation with an experienced Philadelphia attorney at (215) 866-2424.Free Case Review