Financial Toll of Caring for a Child with Cerebral Palsy

If your child developed cerebral palsy because of an injury suffered at birth, then that may result in ongoing medical emergencies and doctors’ visits. A recent study shows such a situation can have serious and long-term financial effects on a family, especially when parents and caregivers have to take time off from work.

Study Sheds Light on Challenges

Researchers at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago analyzed U.S. government data from more than 14,000 families who had children with special needs such as cerebral palsy, and found that they lost an average of $18,000 a year in household income. The study found a strong link between increasing hours of family-provided medical care and forgone family employment, likely because of the fact that the more daily healthcare a child needs, the more his or her parents are likely to leave the workforce or at least reduce their hours of work.

Lost wages were reported by nearly 15% of families of a child with a chronic health condition such as cerebral palsy and by 40% of families of a child with an intellectual disability. The study found that households of children with intellectual disability, cerebral palsy or a brain injury had the highest levels of lost wages and that the lost wages were high in families with children the age of 5 and under as well as in Hispanic families.

Caregivers who had to take time off work or quit jobs to look after a child were more likely to be younger, female and less likely to have a high school education than those who did not have to leave work to care for a child. The study, which was published in the August issue of the journal Pediatrics, also found that households, which lost income while providing care for a child, were more likely to live in poverty, be enrolled in a government assistance program and more likely to spend over $5,000 in out-of-pocket expenses for their child’s healthcare.

The Need is Urgent

This study is just one of many that highlights the urgent need for programs and policies that ease the economic burdens families face while caring for children with cerebral palsy. The United States, despite being a developed nation, has no national paid family leave program.

The Social Security Income or SSI program does not provide financial assistance to some families of children with special healthcare needs, but requires that the child have severe impairment that is expected to result in death or last for no less than 12 months. Such strict SSI rules may therefore leave out many families whose income is affected by their children’s health, including children with cerebral palsy.

Contacting an Experienced Lawyer

Cerebral palsy often occurs as a result of brain damage stemming from negligence (carelessness) during labor and delivery. It is the responsibility of medical professionals to monitor the condition of the fetus and the mother and make decisions that would reduce or eliminate risks during delivery. If your child has cerebral palsy, he or she may be able to receive compensation that helps pay for medical expenses, lost income, cost of therapy, future treatments, permanent injuries, disabilities, past and future pain and suffering, etc.

The experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you. One of our clients obtained a verdict for $43,940,000 and another of our clients got a verdict for $23,500,000, both in medical malpractice cases.

We have seen many cases where New York City Health and Hospital Corporation facilities deliver babies who are born with cerebral palsy or Brachial plexus palsy (Erb’s palsy) stemming from negligence (carelessness), and/or medical malpractice in the labor and delivery etc. of the children.

The following list identifies some of these hospitals (operated by New York City Health and Hospital Corporation):

• Jacobi Hospital aka Bronx Municipal 1400 Pelham Parkway South Bronx, New York 10461 718-918-5000
• Lincoln Hospital 234 East 149th Street Bronx, New York 10451 718-579-5000
• North Central Bronx Hospital 3424 Kossuth Avenue Bronx, New York 10467 718-519-5000
• Coney Island Hospital 2601 Ocean Parkway Brooklyn, New York 11235 718-616-3000
• Kings County Hospital 451 Clarkson Avenue Brooklyn, New York 11203 718-245-3131
• Woodhull Hospital 760 Broadway Brooklyn, New York 11206 718-963-8000
• Bellevue Hospital 462 First Avenue New York, New York 10016 212-562-5555
• Harlem Hospital 506 Lenox Avenue New York, New York 10037 212-939-1000
• Metropolitan Hospital 1901 First Avenue New York, New York 10029 212-423-6262
• Elmhurst Hospital 79-01 Broadway Elmhurst, New York 11373 718-334-4000
• Queens Hospital Center 82-68 164th Street Jamaica, New York 11432 718-883-3000

Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury and/or medical malpractice cases in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.

Other TOLL FREE phone numbers for us are:

1-800-RADIO-LAW, 1-888-WYPADEK, OR 1-800-LAS-LEYES

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