Cerebral palsy (CP) is a term used to describe a set of chronic disorders that impair the brain’s ability to adequately control movement and posture.  More often than not, a baby can suffer from cerebral palsy due to a doctor or other medical professionals’ medical errors and negligence both before and during the birth.  This is unfortunate and devastating, as there is no cure for brain damage causing cerebral palsy and is permanent throughout the child’s entire life. Call our team to discuss cerebral palsy lawsuits in Michigan.

Cerebral Palsy Classification & Severity Level

Cerebral palsy is often classified by severity level as mild, moderate, severe, or no CP. These are broad generalizations that lack a specific set of criteria. Below is the common classification which offers a simple method of communicating the scope of impairment.

  • Mild: A child can move without assistance; his or her daily activities are not limited.
  • Moderate: A child will need braces, medications, and adaptive technology to accomplish daily activities.
  • Severe: A child will require a wheelchair and will have significant challenges in accomplishing daily activities.
  • No cerebral palsy: A child has cerebral palsy signs, but the impairment was acquired after completion of brain development and is therefore classified under the incident that caused the disorder, such as traumatic brain injury or encephalopathy.

Medical Errors Causing Cerebral Palsy

Medical-Errors-Causing-Cerebral-PalsySome of the most common causes of CP that may give rise to filing a Michigan cerebral palsy lawsuit include the failure to:

  • Order specific tests during pregnancy; and not interpreting these tests correctly
  • Perform a cesarean section in the presence of fetal distress
  • Deliver the infant when the membranes have been ruptured for more than 24 hours
  • Monitor the fetus, or to respond to signs of fetal distress
  • Act quickly when the water breaks, there was unexpected bleeding, labor failed to progress, or maternal blood pressure rose suddenly.

Other possible forms of negligence in which a Michigan cerebral palsy lawsuit may be filed include the administration of too much Pitocin, failing to refer the mother to a specialist when problems arose during the pregnancy, and neglecting to have a pediatrician present at delivery during a high-risk pregnancy.

Caring For A Child With Cerebral Palsy

A child who suffers from cerebral palsy will need a variety of services to make life livable for them and to gain some measure of independence.  Because it is a non-progressive health condition, it does not necessarily worsen over time, however services such as medications, physical therapy, and lifetime medical treatment may all be required to help the child cope with the disability.

What To Do If Your Child Suffers From Cerebral Palsy

While every child is affected in a variety of ways, the fact of the matter is that the effects are very traumatic and unfortunately a child will suffer their entire lifetime due to someone else’s mistake. In the event that CP was due to the medical negligence or error of a doctor or medical professional, a lawsuit may be able to be filed to obtain a settlement to compensate the child and his/her parents. This often includes significant funds necessary to care for the child throughout their lifetime.

Cerebral palsy (CP) is caused by abnormal development of the brain or damage to the developing brain that affects a child’s ability to controls his or her muscles. Unfortunately, there are several factors that can cause abnormal development or damage. It used to be believed that CP was only caused by lack of oxygen during deliver. However, scientists now believe that this causes only a small number of CP cases. Studies have shown that the brain damage that leads to CP can happen before birth, during birth, within a month after birth, or during the first years of a child’s life, while the brain is still developing.

Causes of Congenital CP

According to the CDC, CP related to brain damage that happened before or during birth is called congenital CP. The majority of CP (85%–90%) is congenital. In many cases, the specific cause is not known.

Congenital CP & Risk Factors

Though the specific cause of congenital CP is not always known, some factors may increase the chance that a child may have CP. Some of these risk factors are listed below. However, just because a child may have one or more of these risk factors does not mean that the child will have CP. Some of the risk factors for congenital CP are listed below.

  • Low birth weight―Children who weigh less than 5½ pounds (2,500 grams) at birth, and especially those who weigh less than 3 pounds, 5 ounces (1,500 grams) have a greater chance of having CP.
  • Premature birth―Children who were born before the 37th week of pregnancy, especially if they were born before the 32nd week of pregnancy, have a greater chance of having CP. Intensive care for premature infants has improved a lot over the past several decades. Babies born very early are more likely to live now, but many have medical problems that can put them at risk for CP.
  • Multiple births―Twins, triplets, and other multiple births have a higher risk for CP, especially if a baby’s twin or triplet dies before birth or shortly after birth. Some, but not all of this increased risk is due to the fact that children born from multiple pregnancies often are born early or with low birth weight, or both.
  • Assisted reproductive technology (ART) infertility treatments―Children born from pregnancies resulting from the use of some infertility treatments have a greater chance of having CP. Most of the increased risk is explained by preterm delivery or multiple births, or both; both preterm delivery and multiple births are increased among children conceived with ART infertility treatments.
  • Infections during pregnancy―Infections can lead to increases in certain proteins called cytokines that circulate in the brain and blood of the baby during pregnancy. Cytokines cause inflammation, which can lead to brain damage in the baby. Fever in the mother during pregnancy or delivery also can cause this problem. Some types of infection that have been linked with CP include viruses such as chickenpox, rubella (German measles), and cytomegalovirus (CMV), and bacterial infections such as infections of the placenta or fetal membranes, or maternal pelvic infections.
  • Jaundice and kernicterus― Jaundice is the yellow color seen in the skin of many newborns. Jaundice happens when a chemical called bilirubin builds up in the baby’s blood. When too much bilirubin builds up in a new baby’s body, the skin and whites of the eyes might look yellow. This yellow coloring is called jaundice. When severe jaundice goes untreated for too long, it can cause a condition called kernicterus. This can cause CP and other conditions. Sometimes, kernicterus results from ABO or Rh blood type difference between the mother and baby. This causes the red blood cells in the baby to break down too fast, resulting in severe jaundice.
  • Medical conditions of the mother―Mothers with thyroid problems, intellectual disability, or seizures have a slightly higher risk of having a child with CP.
  • Birth complications―Detachment of the placenta, uterine rupture, or problems with the umbilical cord during birth can disrupt oxygen supply to the baby and result in CP.

A jury recently awarded a 25-year-old woman with cerebral palsy a verdict of $43 million dollars against the hospital where she was born. The jury found that the negligence of the hospital caused her cerebral palsy. She is confined to a wheelchair and has very limited communication abilities. She is unable to live independently. The amount is the total amount of the award into the future and not the present value of the judgment. The award included compensation for home health care expenses, pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost earnings. The suit alleged that the woman suffered her brain injuries as a result of lack of oxygen and other negligent care at the time of her birth.

Contact Our Michigan Cerebral Palsy Lawyers

If you believe that your child’s cerebral palsy was caused my a medical error or mistake, you should contact our experienced cerebral palsy lawyers to review your case.  We charge no legal fees whatsoever unless you receive a settlement and we pay all of the case expenses.

To get started on your case, call us now for your Free, No Obligation Case Review.  You will have a conversation with a friendly and experienced Michigan cerebral palsy lawsuit attorney who will be able to help you and answer all of your questions.  If you choose us for your case, we will start working on it immediately.

Warning:  There are strict time limitations for filing this type of claim in Michigan, therefore it is important that you contact one of our experienced attorneys immediately who is an expert at handling medical malpractice and birth injury cases. If you miss a deadline, your claim will be lost forever and you may not be able to be compensated for medical bills incurred and lifetime treatment your child may need.

The United Cerebral Palsy organization has affiliates throughout the United States. The provide direct services to individuals and families with cerebral palsy and other disabilities. This is a tremendous resource of information and other valuable resources. In Michigan, the UCP affiliates are:

UCP Michigan

3401 East Saginaw, Suite 216

Lansing, MI 48912

Phone: (517) 203-1200; (800) 828-2714 (Toll Free)

Fax: (517) 203-1203

E-mail: ucp@ucpmichigan.org Web: http://www.ucpmichigan.org/


UCP of Metro Detroit

23077 Greenfield, Suite 205 Southfield, MI 48075

Phone: (248) 557-5070; (800) 827-4843

Fax: (248) 557-4456

E-mail: main@ucpdetroit.org

Web: http://www.ucpdetroit.org

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