Missouri Cerebral Palsy Lawyer

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When planning for the birth of your child, you probably spent a great deal of time imagining what it would be like to play catch or soccer with your child, what it would be like to teach him or her how to ride a bike, and how he or she would run and play with friends. You envisioned a picture of health. What you probably never imagined was having to feed your ten year old daughter mashed vegetables, or having to watch your eight-year-old son drink from a toddle's cup, nor did you imagine him or her having trouble walking in his or her teens. You also probably never thought much about the possibility of your child receiving physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy for an extended duration.

Unfortunately, if your child is diagnosed with cerebral palsy (CP) it is likely that some of these things you never envisioned could be a reality.

Cerebral palsy is a group of neurological disorders that affect movement, muscle control, and posture. The neurological disorders are caused by damage to the areas of the brain that control muscle movement and motor functions. While most children diagnosed with cerebral palsy are born with it, CP may go undiagnosed for months after birth or even until a child enters early childhood.

Signs of cerebral palsy include:

difficulty trying to perform voluntary motor functions, such as moving a hand or arm or reaching for a toy
tight muscles
walking with splayed legs
walking on toes
hearing impairments
speech impairments
visual impairments
learning disabilities

How does cerebral palsy occur?

The majority of infants diagnosed with cerebral palsy are born with it; typically the causes of CP in these cases are unknown. Risk factors that may contribute to the development of cerebral palsy include a mother's contraction of the measles during pregnancy; a mother's development of an infection during pregnancy; a mother's development of a fever during pregnancy; incompatibility between a mother's blood and a fetus' blood; drugs or medication administered to a mother during pregnancy; or any other number of factors.

A smaller percentage of cerebral palsy cases are caused after a child is born, from the time he or she is born until early childhood. Cerebral palsy cases like these are often attributed to a brain infection an infant may have, such as meningitis or encephalitis, or from brain trauma associated with car accidents, falls, or child abuse.

The other cases of cerebral palsy occur as a result of a birthing injury. Asphyxia (lack of oxygen to the brain) or bleeding of the brain are two types of birthing injury that can lead to cerebral palsy. Asphyxia may occur from a premature separation of the placenta, strangulation by the umbilical cord, or other complications. Bleeding of the brain may come from pressure related to a vaginal delivery or some sort of trauma during the birth process.

When might you need to contact a legal professional about cerebral palsy?

While doctors and other medical professionals, as well as hospitals, typically take every measure possible to ensure they avoid complications during labor, complications, errors, and mistakes do occur.

Errors that may occur during delivery include, but are not limited to:

an improper reading of a fetal heart rate monitor
failure to identify fetal distress
dismissal of a mother's distress or pain, which may be indicative of a problem
failure to perform a caesarean section as soon as it is needed (within 10 minutes or less of identified complications)

These errors and mistakes can lead to an infant experiencing asphyxia. Brain bleeding as a result of trauma to the head is also a potential problem during labor. These complications and problems can result in the development of cerebral palsy.

In the event that you suspect your child developed brain injury as the result of medical negligence, it is highly recommended that you seek the advice of a Missouri attorney specializing in medical negligence and birth injury cases.

Birth injury medical negligence cases are challenging and difficult to prove. To make a claim that will hold up legally, an attorney must prove that there was a breach in the standard of care, causation, injury, and damages. A lawyer who is well-versed in Missouri medical malpractice law will be able to guide you through the legal process, assess your case to determine whether or not you can make a claim, and pursue justice.


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