Cerebral palsy caused by birth injuries is devastating news for new parents because of the long-term repercussions of such a diagnosis. While no two cases of cerebral palsy are alike, it is likely that children who have been diagnosed with cerebral palsy may deal with lifelong health complications and permanent disabilities that prevent them from leading a normal life. Therefore, it is helpful for families to know about the complications and conditions that occur with cerebral palsy so they can seek the appropriate care for their children.
Common Conditions Caused by Cerebral Palsy
Here are some of the common health complications caused by cerebral palsy:
Musculoskeletal issues: Some of the most common problems caused by cerebral palsy relate to slow or altered growth and development, especially in a child’s muscles, nerves and bones. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 42% of people with cerebral palsy are unable to walk independently. Related problems include spasticity, contractures, abnormal bone growth, poor balance and loss of selective motor control. Treatments for these problems include physical and occupational therapy, bracing, oral medications, neurosurgical procedures, orthopedic surgery, etc.
Delayed development: Children with cerebral palsy often do not meet the same developmental milestones as their peers. For example, babies may not gain weight as quickly as others their age and they may remain shorter than average in childhood into adolescence and even adulthood. Muscles and bones in the limbs affected by cerebral palsy may not grow to full length leading to shorter or thinner limbs. In some cases, puberty may be delayed as well.
Contractures and improper spine growth: A contracture refers to a muscle that has become frozen in an abnormal position. This increases muscle spasticity and may also cause deformities in joints and bones. Improper spine growth can cause chronic pain and may make it difficult for the person to sit, stand or walk. Spinal deformities may include scoliosis, which is a disorder in which the spine curves sideways; kyphosis or a humpback spine; and lordosis where the lower back arches excessively. Misaligned or deformed joints may also contribute to osteoporosis, where bones lose mass and become brittle.
Seizures: About 41% of those with cerebral palsy have epilepsy. Seizures may last anywhere from 30 seconds to several minutes. During a seizure a person may stop talking, talk with garbled words, move their lips, wring their hands or have dilated pupils. Sometimes, the person having the seizure is conscious and other times, they may experience altered consciousness or lose consciousness. Seizures affect daily activities and the person runs the risk of suffering additional injuries as they are having their seizure.
Language and learning disabilities: Nearly 50% of people with cerebral palsy have cognitive or intellectual disabilities. This is common in those with spastic quadriplegia where all four limbs are affected. Learning disabilities are also more prevalent among people with cerebral palsy. Others struggle with speech such as pronouncing or remembering words. One in five people with cerebral palsy cannot talk, according to the Cerebral Palsy Foundation.
Hearing and vision issues: One in 10 people with cerebral palsy have severe vision impairment and one in 25 have a severe hearing problem. Sight issues may include trouble with depth perception. Some have poor vision in one or both eyes. Jaundice or inadequate oxygen in the brain during or shortly after birth may cause hearing difficulties ranging from partial hearing loss to total deafness.
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
If your child has developed cerebral palsy as a result of injuries suffered at birth, you may have a medical malpractice claim. It is the responsibility of the doctor to correctly evaluate the condition of the fetus and choose the action that would reduce or eliminate a risky 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. In a brachial plexus palsy (Erb’s palsy) case, one of our clients secured a $2,850,000 verdict that was reduced by the appeals court to $1,846,000 because the verdict was so large. This was the highest amount upheld by the appellate (appeals) courts for many, many years. In addition we recovered $1,400,000 for a newborn who lost motion in the arm during birth due to doctors applying incorrect force on the baby’s head. Also, 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
Please visit us at: www.WORK4YOULAW.com