Articles Posted in Cerebral Palsy

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According to a recent lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court of Tennessee, defendant health care providers failed to properly handle the delivery of the minor plaintiff, resulting in extended fetal oxygen deprivation and brain injury at birth. Specifically, the complaint alleges that during the mother’s labor and delivery, medical personnel failed recognize and respond to clear signs of declining fetal response, indicating the need for an emergency C-section.

The mother plaintiff gave birth to her first child via Cesarean section, and shortly thereafter she became pregnant again. According to the lawsuit, despite her risk factors, including short stature; previously unsuccessful attempt at vaginal birth; and a brief time between the two pregnancies; the mother plaintiff was advised that she was a good candidate for a vaginal birth after C-section (VBAC).

The mother plaintiff went into labor early, and within the first half hour the EFM strip indicated minimal variability and loss of accelerations (two signs of fetal compromise). According to the lawsuit, rather than being admitted to the Labor & Delivery ward, the fetal monitoring was stopped and the mother plaintiff was advised to walk around the hospital for an hour or so. About two hours later, she was admitted whereupon labor progression was slow and the fetal monitoring continued to show repetitive late decelerations. After several hours, a C-section delivery was ordered.

According to the lawsuit, upon delivery, the infant plaintiff was limp, with bluish-tinged skin and no pulse. He wasn’t breathing and had a high blood acid level indicative of acidosis. The infant plaintiff was sent to the NICU ward, where he spent nearly a month and during which time brain cooling was utilized in attempts to mitigate the damage to the baby’s cells, to no avail. The infant plaintiff was diagnosed with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy caused by intrapartum asphyxia. He has since been diagnosed with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and suffers serious developmental delays.

The trial lawyers at Bottar Leone, PLLC, have decades of experience investigating, prosecuting and trying to verdict all types of medical malpractice cases including babies injured following a complicated labor and delivery. If your child has been diagnosed with a disability, you and/or your family may be entitled to compensation. To discuss your case or concerns with an experienced Central New York medical malpractice lawyer, contact Bottar Leone, PLLC.

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World Cerebral Palsy Day is a global innovation project created to improve quality of life for people living with cerebral families, and their families. The project is led by a group of non-profit cerebral palsy charities, and supported by organizations in over 45 countries.

Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder caused by abnormalities in parts of the brain that control muscle movements, hearing, vision and cognition. It is the most common physical disability in childhood. The majority of children with cerebral palsy were born with it, although the diagnosis may not be made until a child reaches three years of age. According to en.worldcpday.org, at least two thirds of children with cerebral palsy will have movement difficulties affecting one or both arms, 1 in 4 children with cerebral palsy cannot talk, 1 in 3 cannot walk, 1 in 2 have an intellectual disability, and 1 in 4 have epilepsy. In the most severe cases, children born with cerebral palsy will live their lives dependent upon others for every aspect of daily living.

Causes of cerebral palsy include hypoxia or ischemia during childbirth, genetic disorders, stroke, infection and trauma. Where cerebral palsy is caused by a preventable medical error during labor and delivery, the child and his or her family may have a claim for medical malpractice.
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Cerebral palsy is a term used to cover a group of brain and nervous system disorders affecting 10,000 babies annually. About 50% of all cerebral palsy cases involve full-term or near full-term infants. According to the American Medical Association, there are ways to prevent cerebral palsy in full-term and premature infants.

One way to prevent CP in a full-term infant is to prevent chorioamnionitis. Chorioamnionitis is an inflammation or infection in the amnion and/or chorion, the membranes that surround and protect a fetus before birth. It affects 1-10% of term births and is often associated with prolonged labor.

Risk factors for chorioamnionitis include: prolonged labor, maternal age (less than 21 years old), prolonged rupture of membranes, first pregnancy, and multiple vaginal examinations during labor. If it is timely diagnosed (typically after a mother exhibits a fever, increased heart rate, uterine tenderness and/or foul smelling amniotic fluid), chorioamnionitis can be treated with intravenous antibiotics (usually ampicillin or clindamycin, plus gentamicin). Undiagnosed chorioamnionitis, which may be the result of medical malpractice, can lead to serious complications including bacteremia, meningitis and respiratory distress syndrome which, depending upon the severity, can restrict fetal oxygenation and lead to cerebral palsy.

In preterm infants, administering a drug called magnesium sulfate 24 hours before delivery may also reduce the risk of cerebral palsy. Studies suggest that “mag sulfate” has a neuroprotective effect.
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“7 out of every 1,000 children experience a birth injury,” said Watertown cerebral palsy lawyer Michael A. Bottar, Esq., an attorney with Syracuse-based Bottar Leone, PLLC, a law firm prosecuting New York birth injury lawsuits throughout the State, including those arising out of a failure to diagnose preeclampsia discussed in our blog post titled “Watertown New York Women With Gestational Diabetes At Risk For Preeclampsia, Palsy and Birth Injury.”

“Caring for these children takes time and costs money.” Many organizations exist to aid children permanently disabled following a difficult birth. These organizations, like the Northern New York Cerebral Palsy Association, provide services to children with conditions such as cerebral palsy while, at the same time, acting as a resource to families with children who have developmental disabilities.

Not-for-profit organizations cannot exist unless the community donates time and/or money. “Even in difficult times, we must remember to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves.”
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Upstate Cerebral Palsy, a private not-for-profit based in Utica, New York, recently announced the availability of inclusive preschool programs through six New Discoveries Learning Centers in Utica, Barneveld, Rome, Chadwicks and Clinton.

Inclusive preschool programs usually consist of 3-5 year old children, half of whom are typically developing and half of whom are “special needs.” Special needs may include learning disabilities, profound retardation and/or cerebral palsy, as well as terminal illnesses and psychiatric problems. According to Utica birth injury lawyer Michael A. Bottar, and attorney with Bottar Leone, PLLC, a law firm with nearly three decades of experience handling New York birth injury lawsuits, “research suggests that inclusive preschools help special needs children with development because they are in close, direct contact with other children who may act as behavioral role models. At the same time, these children can receive essentially therapy.”

Special needs children come from all walks of life. Some children with special needs suffer from unavoidable birth defects, while others are disabled because they sustained brain damage during birth and were born with low APGARs following fetal distress marked by prolonged fetal heart rate decelerations. No matter what the cause of a child’s disability, it is well known that early intervention with speech, physical and occupational therapy, as well as child peer contact, can accelerate development.
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Syracuse birth injury lawyer Michael A. Bottar, Esq., an attorney with Bottar Leone, PLLC, a team of New York cerebral palsy attorneys, reports that the findings of a new study suggest that children born at night are at greater risk for being diagnosed with “neonatal encephalopathy,”

“Neonatal encephalopathy is a rare brain disorder marked by symptoms including abnormal consciousness, tone, reflexes, breathing and feeding. It can lead to cerebral palsy or epilepsy,” said Bottar. According to a study published in the November edition of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, babies born between the hours of 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. were 22% more likely to experience a brain problem. The study examined more than 2,000,000 births over a period of 14 years.

Prior studies have linked birth injuries to night time deliveries, with some suggesting that medical residents (i.e., new doctors), tired obstetricians, and understaffed hospital labor and delivery units may contribute to New York labor and delivery complications, including fetal distress, low APGAR scores from hypoxia and hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, which may form the basis of a New York birth injury lawsuit seeking compensation for permanent disability, such as cerebral palsy or persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN).

Conditions like cerebral palsy and PPHN typically are caused by an injury to the infant’s brain that can occur before, during, or shortly after birth. When a baby’s brain does not receive enough oxygen, it can sustain permanent damage that can lead to seizures, global developmental delays, cognitive impairment, loss of vision, and other life-long disabilities.
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