Despite cerebral palsy’s status as the most common motor disability in childhood, much about the disease remains shrouded in mystery. For many of the approximately 10,000 babies and infants diagnosed with cerebral palsy every year in the United States, the cause of the illness is not even known.
However, for a portion of the children who start out their lives with cerebral palsy, the cause is not only known, it is completely preventable. Lack of oxygen to the brain during labor or delivery has been cited by Mayo Clinic doctors as one factor that can lead to the development of cerebral palsy. When such a lack of oxygen was caused by the negligence of health care providers, children with cerebral palsy and their parents may be able to recover compensation to help offset the serious financial and emotional costs that come with growing up under the shadow of a serious case of cerebral palsy.
Children suffering from cerebral palsy could incur more than $1 million in medical costs
As a motor disorder, cerebral palsy can affect mobility skills like walking, crawling and eating. Children suffering from cerebral palsy may be late in developing these skills; some will never develop them.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 58.2 percent of children with cerebral palsy are eventually able to walk independently, overcoming the greatest threat to their mobility. Another 11.3 percent are able to walk with the aid of a hand-held mobility device. Nearly a third of children with cerebral palsy, 30.6 percent, are unable to walk at all or only have an extremely limited walking ability.
Medical costs for children who have cerebral palsy can be staggering. Government data based on Medicaid enrollment found the average child with cerebral palsy alone incurs ten times the medical costs of a child without cerebral palsy or an intellectual disability. Many children with cerebral palsy also suffer from co-occurring development disabilities; co-occurring epilepsy is particularly common, with 41 percent of children with cerebral palsy also suffering from co-occurring epilepsy. Medical costs for children with cerebral palsy as well as an intellectual disability were 26 times those for children without such disabilities.
CDC estimates put the total lifetime care costs of an individual with cerebral palsy at over $1 million.
Talk to a birth injury attorney to learn about recovering damages from negligent care providers
Physicians and other health care providers are trained to recognize warning signs and risk factors of cerebral palsy and other conditions that can result from birth injuries. Yet, medical providers are only human, and sometimes even doctors fail to live up to an acceptable standard of care.
When the negligence of a health care provider has caused your child to develop cerebral palsy, the provider or the appropriate malpractice insurance provider should be held accountable for the substantial extra costs that come with raising a child suffering from cerebral palsy. No amount of money can reverse the damage done to your child, but the proceeds from a settlement or court-ordered judgment can help your child lead a more productive, fulfilling, happy life.
If your child has developed cerebral palsy and you believe that medical negligence may have been a contributing factor, get in touch with a birth injury lawyer today.