Cerebral palsy is a blanket term used to cover a range of symptoms experienced by people who experienced brain injury either before birth, during delivery, or as new-born babies. The type, symptoms and severity varies depending on the extent of brain damage and the part of the brain affected, but cerebral palsy conditions are permanent and incurable. It also normally means a patient will need special care for the rest of their lives, and will be severely physically disabled, as well as possibly having difficulties with speech and intellectual impairment.
Looking into a Cerebral Palsy diagnosis
Naturally, then, a diagnosis of cerebral palsy is a devastating thing for a parent to receive. Depending on the type of cerebral palsy, this diagnosis can be made in babies, however sometimes it comes later, in early childhood, because mobility and speech problems may not become apparent until a child begins to walk and talk.
Once a diagnosis has been received, people generally try to look for the cause of their child’s brain injury. In some cases, this was something unavoidable – for example premature babies, babies with very low birth weights, and babies born in ‘sets’ like twins or triplets simply carry a higher risk. Older mothers, over the age of 35, are also more likely to have a baby with cerebral palsy.
However, in other cases, cerebral palsy is the result of avoidable circumstances, and in these cases, medical negligence solicitors can be used to investigate and claim compensation.
How can Medical Negligence lead to Cerebral Palsy?
The brain damage that causes cerebral palsy can arise for a number of reasons, and some of these can be avoided if doctors follow best practices and act quickly. As an example, a lack of oxygen to the child’s brain during delivery can cause brain damage, for instance because the umbilical cord is strangling them. This is a case where something can be done, and where by monitoring the baby’s heart rate it should be possible to identify the issue and act fast.
In other cases, the brain damage is caused by an infection the mother has. Common infections like rubella or herpes can do this. As the mother’s immune system reacts, this affects the baby’s growing brain. These are also things that can often be avoided if the mother is given antibiotics or other appropriate treatments.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of the ways negligence can cause cerebral palsy, however it does give you some idea of how parents may be entitled to compensation following a diagnosis.
How Much compensation can parents get?
Compensation claims factor in a lot of things, including the cost of care and things like physical therapy, and even the child’s potential loss of future earnings if they are too disabled to work. For a lifelong condition like this, compensation tends to be high when negligence is found, usually in the order of millions. UK based medical solicitors Minton Morrill are currently involved in a case where compensation is expected to be around £50 million.
Compensation payments certainly don’t make up for the struggles a person with cerebral palsy will have to ensure, but they can at least help to cover the cost of care and also help medical facilities improve their practices and reduce future instances.