Premature newborn baby girl in the hospital incubator after c-section in 33 weekThe Los Angeles based Salamati Law firm represents families who have been affected by a cerebral palsy birth injury. If your child suffers from poor muscle tone, spastic movements or other signs of cerebral palsy, it’s important to find out if medical malpractice is to blame. The arrival of a new child should be a joyous occasion, and few families consider the possibility that delivery can take a drastic turn for the worse, putting the baby at risk for irreversible neurological injuries. A baby’s developing brain can suffer many types of trauma during pregnancy and childbirth that can lead to cerebral palsy. Defined as a group of non-progressive disorders that affect motor skills, balance, muscle tone and posture, cerebral palsy is a permanent disability with no known cure.

Cerebral Palsy Birth Injury

Unfortunately, many cerebral palsy birth injuries are entirely preventable. When mistakes are made before or during delivery, and an innocent child suffers, parents have the right to seek financial restitution through the courts. Legal compensation can be used to help offset the significant costs of raising a child with cerebral palsy.

If doctors, midwives or delivery room staff failed to detect signs of fetal distress, or deviated from accepted standards of care, they may be held liable for damages to pay for medical expenses, pain and emotional suffering, and loss of future earning potential. Here at Salamati Law, we understand the sensitive and emotionally-charged nature of birth injury litigation, and offer personalized, compassionate support. To discuss your case with a California cerebral palsy birth injury lawyer, we invite you to reach out for a free case review.

A cerebral palsy diagnosis means a lifetime of special needs, physical therapy, and expensive medical treatments that many families are ill-equipped to afford. If you suspect that your child’s health problems were caused by hospital negligence, Salamati Law is poised to help.

Causes of Cerebral Palsy

An estimated three out of every 1,000 U.S. children are diagnosed with cerebral palsy. In about 10 percent of cases, cerebral palsy is caused by trauma or extended oxygen deprivation (hypoxia) to the baby’s brain. In addition to injury to the brain, cerebral palsy may be caused by a neurological malformation that affects the areas of the brain responsible for balance, motor control and muscle coordination. The three main types of cerebral palsy include:

  • Spastic cerebral palsy – the most common type, accounting for 70 percent of all CP cases. Children with spastic hemiplegia are characterized by muscle stiffness that is usually limited to one side of the body. Spastic diplegia affects the lower legs, making walking extremely difficult. The most severe form is spastic quadriplegia, which may involve cognitive deficits and seizures.
  • Ataxic cerebral palsy – primarily impacts fine motor skills, balance and coordination. Most children do not suffer cognitive delays, but some may experience erratic speech.
  • Dystonia cerebral palsy – also referred to as athetoid dyskinetic cerebral palsy, this type is associated with uncontrolled movements of the limbs and twisted torsos.

These factors have been tied to a higher risk of cerebral palsy:

  • Untreated pre-eclampsia (dangerously high blood pressure)
  • Placental inflammation
  • Untreated viral infections, STD’s and pelvic inflammatory disease in the mother
  • Multiple births (twins, triplets)
  • Breech birth
  • Premature delivery
  • Fetal malnourishment during pregnancy
  • Fetal exposure to illegal narcotics and alcohol

Preventable birth trauma and cerebral palsy

Medical professionals are obligated to ensure they have the necessary training and skills to monitor the health and welfare of mother and child, particularly in high-risk pregnancies where an emergency C-section may be necessary.

Lapses in judgement or mistakes made before, during or after the delivery can have life-altering consequences for both the child and the family.

Examples of negligent behavior that can cause hypoxic injury and cerebral palsy:

  • Failing to diagnose and treat maternal infections during pregnancy
  • Failing to monitor the baby’s heart rate for signs of fetal distress
  • Failing to detect a prolapsed or obstructed umbilical cord that cuts off oxygen supply
  • Improper or negligent use of forceps or vacuum extraction, causing brain/nerve damage
  • Failing to perform a timely C-section when medically necessary
  • Other gross negligence during the delivery process

It often takes years for doctors to make a confident cerebral palsy diagnosis. Oftentimes, parents do not realize anything is amiss until their infant fails to reach normal developmental milestones like holding their head up or rolling over. Most children can be diagnosed by the age of two, though the severity and extent of the disorder may not be fully evident until the age of 5.

Signs and symptoms of CP

Every child and case is unique, and while there is no definitive list of symptoms, these are signs that doctors look out for:

  • Under-developed muscles
  • Poor sucking and feeding
  • Lack of balance and coordination
  • Floppy limbs
  • Involuntary, spastic movements
  • Muscle rigidity and stiffness
  • Favoring one side of the body
  • Poor head control
  • Tremors
  • Vision or hearing problems
  • Seizures
  • Intellectual disability
  • Delays in crawling, walking and other milestones

Thousands of children with cerebral palsy grow up to lead relatively happy, productive lives. While there is no cure for CP, there are many therapies and medical treatments designed to enhance mobility and quality of life.

Depending on the type and severity of CP, the child may benefit from physical and occupational therapy, special schooling, surgery, medications, mobility aids, and psychiatric counseling. These can cost well over $1 million dollars throughout the course of a child’s life – a financial burden that few parents can bear.

California cerebral palsy injury lawyers

If you suspect that your toddler or infant’s cerebral palsy was caused by negligent actions in the course of your pregnancy or delivery, you may have a viable claim for damages. The Salamati Law Firm has the experience, dedication and proven track record to help California families achieve justice and fair compensation for their child’s preventable birth injuries. Contact a cerebral palsy lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your case before the statute of limitations runs out. The initial consultation is free and we operate on a no recovery – no fee basis, so there are no upfront costs.

Additional “Cerebral Palsy Birth Injury” Resources:

  1. WebMD, Cerebral Palsy, http://children.webmd.com/tc/cerebral-palsy-topic-overview
  2. National Institutes of Health, Lifetime costs of cerebral palsy, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19416329