Medical malpractice and cerebral palsy

By Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo & Plotkin LLP

Cerebral palsy is a series of conditions that affects a child’s brain and nervous system. Cerebral palsy is often the result of head trauma or oxygen deprivation at birth. Cerebral palsy is a long-term condition that requires continuing care. States with higher rates of low-weight and premature births, like New York, experience more frequent instances of cerebral palsy.

The symptoms of cerebral palsy vary greatly. The effects can range from mild physical impairments to severe crippling that requires constant care. Cerebral palsy sufferers can also experience cognitive challenges that result in reasoning, communication and behavioral impairments. The severity of the condition depends on the parts of the brain that are affected.

The financial burden for the family of a cerebral palsy sufferer with the most severe form of the condition is fairly significant. According to the Center for Disease Control, the average lifetime cost of care for people who suffer from this injury is $1 million. The continuing need for medical care, developmental support, special education and assisted living are the primary sources of most direct costs. Indirect costs from loss of income, work limitations and other circumstances also contribute to the overall cost of caring for a child with cerebral palsy.

Although many birth injuries are unavoidable, cerebral palsy is a pregnancy-related injurythat is preventable in some cases. A negligent doctor or nurse or the hospital may be found liable for the birth injuries of a child who is diagnosed with cerebral palsy. With evidence and a thorough investigation a lawyer might be able to prove negligence on the part of the hospital staff and any other involved parties.

Source:, “What is Cerebral Palsy?“, October 07, 2014

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