Cerebral Palsy

Memphis Cerebral Palsy Attorneys

Skilled legal representation for families in Memphis, Jackson and throughout West Tennessee

As one of the most common childhood disorders in the United States, cerebral palsy affects about 500,000 people. It is a group of disorders that affect a person’s movement, balance and posture, and their ability to control their muscles. Cerebral palsy is typically caused by brain damage or abnormal brain development, and the symptoms for each person with a range of mild symptoms such as an awkward gait when walking to more severe symptoms such as intellectual disabilities, seizures, vision and hearing problems, and spine and joint problems.

At the law firm of Bailey & Greer, PLLC, we understand how devastated many parents feel when their child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Our skilled birth injury attorneys in Memphis and Jackson work with the finest medical experts to determine if your child’s disorder was caused by medical negligence. We take on the legal burden of winning the compensation that your family will need in order to plan for your child’s future.

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What is cerebral palsy?

Cerebral palsy (or CP) refers to a group of disorders that present during infancy or very early childhood. Cerebral palsy is caused by an injury or abnormality to the cerebrum (frontal portion of the brain) while the brain is still in the developmental stage. Most often the brain injury occurs during pregnancy, labor and delivery, or shortly thereafter.

The area of the brain that is damaged in children with cerebral palsy is responsible for motor control and works like a junction box, sending out signals to all other areas of the body. Persons with CP have difficulty with body movement, balance, and muscle coordination. Infants with cerebral palsy are usually delayed in reaching developmental milestones like sitting up, crawling, and walking.

What are the causes of cerebral palsy?

Cerebral palsy can be the result of damage to the developing brain. Whether that damage takes place in utero, during delivery or within the first few weeks or months of a child’s life, exactly how a child develops CP is still a bit mysterious. Some of the ways in which a child may develop cerebral palsy include:

  • A maternal infection that might disturb the development of the baby’s brain
  • Brain injury during delivery or as a young infant or toddler
  • Oxygen deprivation during the birthing process (can occur in cases of medical negligence during childbirth)
  • Severe jaundice that is not treated adequately
  • Incompatibility between the mother and the child’s blood types

Doctors can confirm CP by doing an ultrasound of the brain, a CT scan, cognitive assessments and medical evaluation of the child’s mobility, speech and language skills, hearing, gait and eating all taken together can help doctors to diagnose the disorder.

What are the symptoms of cerebral palsy?

The signs that an infant less than six months old has CP include the following:

  • The baby feels stiff
  • The newborn appears to strain his/her back and neck when you hold him
  • The baby’s legs stiffen and cross when you pick the baby up
  • The child feels floppy

Babies who are more than six months old may have the following symptoms:

  • The baby can’t roll over on either side
  • The child can’t bring his/her hands together
  • The child has problems bringing his/her hands to their mouth
  • Only one hand reaches out, not both

For babies older than 10 months:

  • They crawl in an unusual manner, or they don’t crawl on all fours

Cerebral palsy is not progressive, meaning that it does not gradually change or get worse over time. A person with cerebral palsy may have all or some of the following symptoms:

  • Low APGAR scores at birth
  • Delayed milestones such as controlling the head, rolling over, sitting-up, and crawling
  • Abnormal muscle tone: either muscles that are overly stiff (spastic) or overly relaxed (hypotonic)
  • Abnormal movements that are either quick and jerky or slow and writhing
  • Skeletal deformities such as scoliosis and kyphosis
  • Joint contractures (stiffing of the joints)
  • Speech problems (dysphasia)
  • Vision problems often associated with one eye turning in or out (strabismus)
  • Bowel and/or bladder control problems

What are the different types of cerebral palsy?

There are several different classifications for cerebral palsy: spastic, dyskinetic, ataxic, and mixed. The most common type of cerebral palsy is spastic, which accounts for about 80% of cases, and includes muscle stiffness and difficulty moving the limbs.

Dyskinetic cerebral palsy appears as involuntary movements, difficulties with fine motor control, and difficulty holding themselves upright for sitting, standing or walking. Ataxic cerebral palsy manifests as a lack of balance, problems with depth perception and difficulty walking. Mixed can manifest in any combination.

What is the treatment for cerebral palsy?

There is no cure for cerebral palsy. The goal of any treatment for persons with CP should be to provide therapies designed to reduce the disabilities associated with cerebral palsy and to provide a better quality of life. Every person with cerebral palsy is different and so are the treatment options.

Therapy regimens are generally overseen by a physician and are tailored to fit the needs of the individual patient. The broad categories of therapies available to children and adults with cerebral palsy include:

  • Physical therapy consists of stretching and physical exercises designed to loosen tight muscles, strengthen others, and prevent contractures.
  • Speech therapy involves exercises to help with language skills, as well as adaptive electronic communication devices such voice synthesizers.
  • Occupational therapy is designed to help with activities of daily living such as grooming, feeding, and dressing.
  • Special equipment like electric wheelchairs, walkers, and bicycles can also improve quality of life.
  • Behavioral therapy help children and adults with cerebral palsy cope with and understand their disabilities.
  • Educational services such as individual tutors and classroom assistants help with children suffering from cognitive defects.
Thomas Greer Memphis Personal Injury Lawyer

How does medical negligence lead to cerebral palsy?

For a cerebral palsy case, there can be many different causes of the injury.  These common causes include the following:

  • Improper use of the forceps during delivery
  • Improper use of the vacuum during delivery
  • Lack of oxygen in labor
  • Lack of oxygen in delivery
  • Misdiagnosing a medical condition that makes a vaginal delivery either dangerous or too risky
  • Failing to perform a timely C-section
  • Failing to correctly perform pre-delivery diagnostic checks such as sonograms
  • Failing to inform the mother of the risks, benefits, or alternatives to a vaginal delivery
  • Eclampsia and preeclampsia
  • Failing to monitor fetal distress sensors
  • Improperly monitoring the mother for low blood sugar
  • Improperly guarding against umbilical cord compression

There are only some of, and not all of the causes of cerebral palsy birth injuries.

Each of these causes, if proven, is evidence of negligence and generally against the accepted standard of care a medical provider is expected to follow. But that is not determined by just us, the attorneys. We will review your case and meet with medical experts in the same field as the defendant-doctor to determine if the medical expert would have acted differently, or if other medical providers would have acted differently as well.

Sometimes, the unfortunate truth is that there was a medical emergency and the medical provider’s options were few. However, the majority of these emergencies can be and should have been prevented. Our medical experts will also review if this was a preventable accident that just simply should not have happened.

What is the value of my West Tennessee cerebral palsy birth injury claim?

If your child develops cerebral palsy due to the negligence of your doctor or medical team, you may be eligible for the following compensation:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of future income
  • Pain and suffering

Every child, and every injury, is unique. Our attorneys work to secure full compensation for your child’s birth injury, with a focus on their future care to ensure they thrive as much as possible.

The law requires you commence your medical malpractice action very quickly under the Tennessee statute of limitations. For a Memphis birth injury case, such as a cerebral palsy case, you only have three years to commence the claim by filing a notice of intent to sue with the defendant doctor. This requires you to act quickly and contact an efficient attorney immediately or your (and your child’s) right to file a claim may be lost.

How can a Memphis cerebral palsy injury attorney help my child?

Depending on the severity of your child’s CP, they may need ongoing medical care for the rest of their life. If your child’s cerebral palsy was indeed caused by medical negligence, you may be able to take legal action against the doctor and/or hospital where you gave birth. Our on-staff medical personnel know how to investigate birth injury cases, and we do not stop until we are able to procure compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering and the child’s ongoing medical care.

Is your cerebral palsy birth injury law firm near me?

The law firm of Bailey & Greer, PLLC is located in Memphis, but we also serve Jackson and all of West Tennessee. If, due to your child’s injuries, you are unable to come to our offices, we can work with you to set up a hospital or virtual consultation. Our attorneys are here to help.

Schedule a consultation with our West Tennessee birth injury attorneys today

If you should discover that your child’s cerebral palsy birth injury was preventable, you may want to contact a lawyer. Bailey & Greer, PLLC is the firm you can trust to advocate for your child. Our Memphis and Jackson birth injury lawyers know what it takes to build a successful case, and we’re ready to get to work for you. Please fill out our contact form or call us at 901-475-7434 for a free consultation.

Bailey & Greer Team