Montana Cerebral Palsy Lawyer

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When you are thinking about having children, you imagine them to be healthy, running and playing with friends, hitting important milestones, riding a bike, or just about any other picture of health. What you may not imagine is having a seven year old who still wears diapers, or a child who never walks. You might not also imagine having to manage your child's seizures and having your child receive speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy for years. However, when your child is diagnosed with cerebral palsy, these might be circumstances that become a reality for you. It is unimaginable, but it is something you, your child, and your family must live and cope with.

What exactly is cerebral palsy and what may cause it?

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.

Early 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; or walking on toes. In addition, some children with cerebral palsy may have sight, speech, or hearing impairments, or learning disabilities. Cerebral palsy may not be diagnosed for months after birth or even until a child enters early childhood.

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, but are not restricted to:

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

Approximately 10 percent 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 may 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.

What if cerebral palsy is the result of medical malpractice?

Doctors and medical professionals typically take every measure they can to avoid complications during labor. They will set up monitoring devices to monitor the fetus and the mother, and check in on their patients regularly. These precautions significantly reduce the risk of cerebral palsy from birthing complications.

Occasionally, cerebral palsy is the result of brain injury to an infant during the birthing process. Some situations in which this could occur include a medical professional's failure to determine that a baby needed additional oxygen, such as via a caesarean section or delaying a caesarean section. Prolonged bleeding in an infant's brain, typically from head trauma, can also attribute to cerebral palsy.

If you believe that your child's cerebral palsy may be the result of a birth injury due to medical negligence, it is strongly recommended that you seek legal advice in Montana. Specifically, you should speak with an attorney who is knowledgeable about medical malpractice law, specializing in birth injuries in Montana.

Making a claim that cerebral palsy is related to medical malpractice can be very challenging. To prove medical malpractice 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 Montana medical malpractice law will guide you through the process and determine whether or not you can make a claim.


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