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Michigan Cerebral Palsy Attorney

Every year about 10,000 babies and infants are diagnosed with cerebral palsy. A diagnosis is gut-wrenching news for a young family, and rouses questions about the disorder and worries for the future. Cerebral palsy can be caused by injury during birth, with symptoms or ailments appearing in the first few years of life.

At Buchanan Firm, our skilled Michigan cerebral palsy lawyers understand how daunting the news of a diagnosis of cerebral palsy can be for a family. Determining the cause and investigating possible legal action can be overwhelming.

However, if medical negligence caused your child cerebral palsy, Michigan law gives your family rights to seek reimbursement for the harms and losses, including medical and care expenses. Our Michigan cerebral palsy attorneys and on-staff medical team have extensive experience in cerebral palsy and other birth injuries and help ease the stress of getting answers, enrolling your child in special programs for cerebral palsy, and finding solutions.

What is Cerebral Palsy?

The term cerebral palsy (CP) refers to a neurological disorder that appears in infancy or early childhood and permanently impairs the child’s ability to move, maintain balance, and posture. “Cerebral” means brain, and “palsy” refers to weakness or problems using muscles.  Though CP distorts muscle movement, the cause is not a disorder in the muscles or nerves but from injury to or abnormality in parts of the brain controlling muscle movement.

To preserve legal remedies when CP is suspected or diagnosed, a family should promptly contact experienced Michigan medical malpractice attorneys to investigate the cause and protect your rights before they are barred forever. If medical malpractice caused brain injury, your child and family may be entitled to reimbursement for the harms and losses.

How is Cerebral Palsy Diagnosed?

A definitive medical test for CP does not yet exist. Diagnosis is by medical history and physical examination. Diagnosis is difficult, and there are different types. 43% of CP cases are diagnosed in the first few months of life and 70% are diagnosed in the first year.

In more mild cases, a diagnosis might not be made until age 3 or 4. To diagnose CP, doctors test baby motor skills, look for characteristic symptoms, and review the medical history. CT (computer tomography) scans and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans reveal injuries in the brain. Lab tests rule out other biochemical disorders that might be causing the motor problems.

Early diagnosis is important for the well-being of the children and family. If your child is not meeting movement milestones or might have CP, contact your pediatrician and share the concerns. Our experienced Michigan cerebral palsy lawyers will help you get answers.

What Causes Cerebral Palsy?

The cause of CP is injury to the brain or malformation when developing, and can occur before, during, or after birth. It may be difficult in some children to determine cause, so it is important for parents to promptly and carefully evaluate circumstances leading to their child’s condition. Common causes of cerebral palsy include:

  • Lack of oxygen to the brain (asphyxia) because of difficult labor or delivery.
  • Traumatic head injury to an infant from a motor vehicle accident or fall.
  • Maternal infections that affect a developing fetus.
  • Infant infections that cause inflammation in or around the brain.
  • Random mutations in genes that control brain development.
  • Fetal stroke, which is disrupting blood supply to the developing brain.

Determining cause may make your child eligible for medical assistance and care. If you believe your child suffered an injury at birth that caused cerebral palsy, promptly seek help from an experienced birth injury legal team. The Grand Rapids injury attorneys and medical advisers of the Buchanan Firm can determine if medical negligence was the cause.

How do you Treat Cerebral Palsy?

There is no cure for cerebral palsy. However, treatments maximize function and physical strength, prevent complications, and improve quality of life. It is important for parents to educate themselves about available treatments, and strive to enhance a CP child’s achievements and progress toward independence.

Medical treatment often requires a team of a pediatrician, social worker, nurses, occupational therapists, speech therapists, physical therapists, and other medical specialists (e.g., neurologist, rehabilitation physician, pulmonologist, and gastroenterologist). Common treatments include:

  • Home care (i.e., proper nutrition, exercises, home safety, and accessibility)
  • Physical therapy – which helps with mobility and motor function
  • Occupational therapy – assisting in the improvement of independence in daily activities and care
  • Medical devices (e.g., splints, braces, casts, glasses, hearing aids, walking aids)
  • Medications (i.e., anticonvulsants for reduction of frequency of seizures, muscle relaxants to reduce tremors and spasticity, and botulinum toxin to help with spasticity and drooling)
  • Surgeries – operations may help control gastroesophageal reflux, disconnect certain nerves to curb pain or spasticity, place feeding tubes, and release joint contractures

Other therapies include:

  • Equine-Assisted Therapy – therapeutic horseback riding to improve posture, balance and overall function
  • Acupuncture – the traditional Chinese medicine improves motor function by inserting fine needles into precisely defined, specific points on the body
  • Threshold Electrical Stimulation  – increases the flow of blood to muscles, which increases muscle strength and bulk
  • Encouragement – supporting your child and providing tools to actively participate in normal activities

Traditional medicine and alternative therapies are helpful, but families must encourage and promote a positive view of life with CP.  Promoting patience and positive encouragement greatly improves the lives of loved ones with CP.

Legal Options for Michigan Families Affected by Cerebral Palsy

If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, it is important to immediately seek legal help. Often cerebral palsy occurs because of a birth injury caused by medical negligence in the form of a doctor, hospital, or nurse error.  If you suspect medical negligence played a role in your child’s cerebral palsy, please contact the Buchanan Firm and speak with our team of experienced Michigan cerebral palsy attorneys and healthcare professionals. We offer a free, no-obligation consultation are happy to answer any questions that you may have.