Award-Winning Washington, D.C. Birth Injury & Cerebral Palsy Lawyers | Washington, D.C. Cerebral Palsy Attorneys
A child’s diagnosis of cerebral palsy is tragic news for parents. Parents have questions about what the future holds for their child that is inflicted with permanent and severe disabilities, and how they can afford the necessary support through childhood and into adulthood. Gaining an understanding of what cerebral palsy is and why it occurs is very important.
Washington, D.C. Cerebral Palsy Attorneys Discuss Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is a condition in which a child has lifelong problems with movement and motor function. These problems cause physical and developmental disabilities, mainly in various areas of body movement. In many children with cerebral palsy, associated brain injury also causes impairments in perceptual and thinking processes. Babies with cerebral palsy often experience intellectual and developmental disabilities, muscle stiffness, seizures, bone deformities, decreased muscle mass, involuntary muscle contractions and spasms, speech and language disorders, and permanently fixed, tight muscles. In many instances, the brain injury involved in cerebral palsy is the result of medical negligence and is subject to compensation.
Often, complications arise during pregnancy, labor and delivery, or shortly after delivery that require special attention from the physicians and medical team. Every pregnant woman relies on her physician to provide her with the best possible care. Sometimes, however, physicians and the medical team fail to do this and standards of care are violated. Sadly, this may mean permanent brain damage to the baby.
There are many complications that if not diagnosed and managed properly, can injure the baby. Anything that damages the baby’s brain can lead to cerebral palsy. Injuries that can cause cerebral palsy include the following:
One of the most common ways a baby’s brain can get damaged is when something occurs that causes the brain to be deprived of oxygen. An injury to the baby’s brain caused by oxygen deprivation is called hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). HIE can occur when there is a lack of blood flow to the baby’s brain or when there is a lack of oxygen in the baby’s blood.
Conditions that can cause oxygen deprivation / HIE and cerebral palsy in a baby include the following:
- Fetal stroke
- Postmaturity syndrome
- Placenta previa
- Umbilical cord problems, such as a nuchal cord or umbilical cord prolapse
- Failure to quickly deliver a baby when fetal distress is evident on the fetal heart rate monitor (delayed emergency C-section)
- Oligohydramnios (low amniotic fluid)
- Anesthesia mistakes, which can cause blood pressure problems in the mother, including a hypotensive crisis
- Premature rupture of the membranes (PROM) / premature birth
- Prolonged and arrested labor
- Intracranial hemorrhages (brain bleeds), which can be caused by a traumatic delivery. Forceps and vacuum extractors can cause brain bleeds. Sometimes intense contractions (hyperstimulation) caused by labor induction drugs (Pitocin and Cytotec) can cause head trauma. Mismanagement of cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD), abnormal presentations (face or breech presentation), and shoulder dystocia also put a child at risk of having a brain bleed.
- Ruptured uterus (womb)
- Preeclampsia / eclampsia
- Placental abruption
- Hyperstimulation caused by Pitocin and Cytotec can also cause oxygen deprivation that gets progressively worse.
- Improper management of the baby’s respiratory status after birth. This includes failure to properly manage apnea (periods of breathing cessation), failure to properly manage a baby on a breathing machine (which can cause overventilation injuries, such as hypocarbia and a hole or holes in the lungs), and failure to give proper amounts of surfactant, which helps with lung maturity and lung compliance in premature lungs.
- Improper management of anemia (low red blood cell count), which can cause the baby to lack the capacity to carry oxygen to the cells and tissues in the body, including brain cells.
Other conditions that can injure a baby’s brain and cause birth injuries such as cerebral palsy include the following:
- Untreated or improperly treated neonatal hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
- Untreated or improperly treated high bilirubin levels (jaundice) that cause a form of brain damage called kernicterus.
- Brain infection such as meningitis, which can be caused by infections in the mother that travel to the baby at birth. These maternal infections include the following: Group B Strep (GBS), herpes simplex virus (HSV), urinary tract infection (UTI), bacterial vaginosis (BV) and chorioamnionitis.
- Periventricular leukomalacia (PVL) which are small holes that form in the brain where damage and death of brain tissue around fluid-filled areas (called ventricles) occurred.
Washington, D.C. Cerebral Palsy Attorneys Discuss Signs of Cerebral Palsy
Sometimes a baby exhibits signs and symptoms of brain damage at birth. Other times, brain damage doesn’t become apparent until much later when the child fails to meet growth and developmental milestones. Some common signs that there may have been a brain injury and damage include:
- Seizures, at birth and/or during childhood
- Failure to thrive
- Decreased muscle tone (hypotonia)
- Delayed crawling milestones
- Delayed developmental milestones
- Poor head control
- Delayed walking milestones
- Increased or decreased head size
- Mental deficiency
- Poor trunk control
- Psychomotor cognitive impairment
- Roving eye movements
- Low APGAR score
Award-Winning Washington, D.C. Cerebral Palsy Attorneys Helping Children Affected by Birth Injuries such as Cerebral Palsy
Washington, D.C. is home to numerous medical institutions such as Washington Hospital Center and the Children’s National Medical Center, as well as the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. In addition, the city is home to three medical schools and associated teaching hospitals. The Children’s National Medical Center is ranked among the best pediatric hospitals in the U.S. by U.S. News and World Report and the Leapfrog Group.
In 2010, almost 4,000,000 babies were born in the U.S. The majority of these births were uneventful and resulted in healthy children. Unfortunately, even with a backdrop of cutting edge medicine and medical research, complications and errors occurred in Washington, D.C.’s medical institutions, and many children were born with birth injuries such as cerebral palsy.
Washington, D.C. cerebral palsy lawyer Jesse Reiter, president of ABC Law Centers, has been focusing solely on birth injury cases for over 28 years, and most of his cases involve hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) and cerebral palsy. Washington, D.C. cerebral palsy attorneys Jesse Reiter and Rebecca Walsh are currently recognized as being two of the best medical malpractice lawyers in America by U.S. News and World Report 2015, which also recognized ABC Law Centers as one of the best medical malpractice law firms in the nation. The lawyers at ABC Law Centers have won numerous awards for their advocacy of children and are members of the Birth Trauma Litigation Group (BTLG) and the Michigan Association for Justice (MAJ).
If your child was diagnosed with a birth injury, such as cerebral palsy, a seizure disorder or hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), the award-winning Washington, D.C. cerebral palsy attorneys at ABC Law Centers can help. We have helped children throughout the country obtain compensation for lifelong treatment, therapy and a secure future, and we give personal attention to each child and family we represent. Our nationally recognized birth injury firm has numerous multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements that attest to our success and no fees are ever paid to our firm until we win your case. Email or call Reiter & Walsh ABC Law Centers at 888-419-2229 for a free case evaluation. Our firm’s Washington, D.C. cerebral palsy attorneys are available 24 / 7 to speak with you.
Video: Washington, D.C. Cerebral Palsy Attorneys Talk About Birth Asphyxia
Watch a video of our Washington, D.C. cerebral palsy attorneys discussing birth asphyxia and how it can cause brain damage and cerebral palsy.