As a leading malpractice law firm in Ontario, Sommers, Roth & Elmaleh work with families for various reasons. Working closely with our clients, we help navigate the pain and frustration of an illness that could have been prevented by proper medical care.
One of the most common medical malpractice disorders we assist is Cerebral Palsy. Unfortunately, some Canadians do not know what CP is, or which symptoms monitor.
Here, we will describe the disorder and explain how working with a medical malpractice lawyer can help you seek compensation. This is what you should know.
What is Cerebral Palsy and what are the symptoms?
Cerebral Palsy is a group of disorders affecting fine and gross motor skills in children. Approximately 1 in 323 children develop Cerebral Palsy, and most of the children who do, suffer from ‘spastic’ CP, which includes symptoms such as muscle stiffness and spasms.
While there is much speculation on the cause of CP, clearly it can be caused due to asphyxia (lack of oxygen). There can also be other factors at-play such as, improper fetal development causes brain damage; and potentially a genetic factor to consider. Whatever the cause, the development of Cerebral Palsy can happen throughout the pregnancy, labour, delivery, or early stages of infancy.
Why is it important to ask questions about Cerebral Palsy and compensation?
One of the common misconceptions about Cerebral Palsy is that all cases are genetic. This is wrong. While genetics may play a role in some cases, this is not the source of all CP.
Unfortunately, doctors are often quick to suggest the most straightforward and least threatening answer of genetics, which leaves many parents without a real explanation for what happened to their child.
It is essential to ask questions about Cerebral Palsy and compensation because you are the greatest advocate for your child. Nobody will ever love your child the way that you do or fight for your child with the power that you hold as a parent.
As a malpractice law firm, Sommers, Roth & Elmaleh always recommends further investigating the potential causes of CP rather than taking the first possible diagnosis. In some cases, CP is preventable and avoidable if proper medical support is provided in time.
Caring for a child with special needs is a full-time job and can be very expensive. Even in Canada, where public healthcare is available, specialized treatments and medication are costly. If your child’s CP was caused by the negligence of a physician or medical team, you are entitled to payment toward your child’s medical expenses and other special care. We are here to help ensure you receive that help.
Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy symptoms are vast and diverse, spanning from external motor development issues to mental and neurological problems. Unlike other disorders of this kind, Cerebral Palsy may only affect one body part, one side of the body, or the entire body. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Muscle stiffness and twitching
- Inability to swallow and control saliva
- Learning delays
- Involuntary convulsions and tremors
- Weak or poor muscle development
- Fine motor delays
- Problems eating or drinking without help
- Sight and hearing loss
- Ataxia, or poor balance
- Milestone development delays in infants and toddlers
- Walking disorders and asymmetry in legs and feet
- Speech and language delays
- Delayed response to tactile signals such as heat or pain
What kind of settlement is a family entitled to in cases of malpractice?
Malpractice cases involving Cerebral Palsy are unique in that both the child and the parents will feel lifelong effects following the diagnosis. For some children, multiple medical treatments will be required to lead a normal life. For others, everyday life will not be possible, even with continuous therapy and help from others.
This puts a lot of pressure emotionally, physically, and financially on parents of children diagnosed with CP. In cases of CP, both the child and the parents may receive financial compensation following a malpractice suit involving negligence. This money may be used for transportation, lodgings, medication, specialized medical equipment, caretakers, therapy, and more.
When should you contact a lawyer following a CP diagnosis?
In some cases, we recommend families contact a lawyer even before a Cerebral Palsy diagnosis is made. This is because of the wide range of causes for CP. In a case of any sort of birth injury, which could be the root source of CP, immediately contacting your lawyer is always the best course of action.
The longer you wait between negligent medical care and legal help, the more time there is to fog up the trail of facts leading to your child’s diagnosis. Early legal intervention helps ensure you get the best representation and that your lawyer has all the attributes they need to help your child get the support they need.
If your child is born with low oxygen, poor reflexes, weak muscles, low blood pressure, a weak heart, cranial damage, or misshapen limbs or joints, it is in your best interest to speak to your lawyer about your options going forward.
Even the best doctors miss things, prolong situations that should be viewed as emergencies, and misuse tools. This could lead to infection, tissue damage, and the development of disorders like CP.
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