Birth Injury and Asphyxia – Related Or Not?
Cleveland, OH (Law Firm Newswire) March 21, 2013 - There is a long standing debate over whether cerebral palsy is caused by oxygen deprivation. It is important to know the cause to pursue medical malpractice litigation.
“There is a long standing debate among doctors and medical malpractice lawyers, over whether cerebral palsy is caused by asphyxia during birth, which leads to a question of how many cases could have been prevented. It’s one of those things that no one can really quantify, but it is vitally important for a family to know if their child developed cerebral palsy as a result of being deprived of oxygen during birth,” explained Tom Robenalt, a Cleveland medical malpractice lawyer.
Over 150 years ago, when cerebral palsy research was in its infancy, Dr. William Little hypothesized cerebral palsy was caused by birthing complications. Others thought a difficult birth was a symptom of fetal developmental problems. Today, it is well known that oxygen deprivation is one of many causes of cerebral palsy.
“Interestingly, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggest that asphyxia only occurs in about 4 percent of births. However, other studies have revealed the percentage of babies deprived of oxygen at birth may range from 8 percent to 23 percent,” Robenalt added.
No matter what set of statistics one chooses to support, the fact is that cerebral palsy is a devastating birth injury and one that causes a family enormous grief, anxiety and financial difficulties. For instance, on average, the lifetime expense of caring for someone with cerebral palsy is approximately $921,000, and even more if a family is raising a child with cerebral palsy.
Medical expenses facing a family include surgery, rehabilitation, devices to assist the child/adult with sitting/walking/standing, medications, frequent E.R. visits, hospitalizations, numerous visits to doctors and other medical health professionals and psychological counseling, not to mention legal expenses to ensure they are cared for in the event of the death of a caretaker.
“The expenses do not stop there,” Robenalt remarked. “Often a family home will need to be modified, as well as a vehicle to take the child/adult to appointments. Mobility is crucial to allow cerebral palsy patients to live their lives as best as they can, which would also include attending special education programs. All of this comes at a staggering emotional and financial cost to all involved.”
Who pays the bills? If a child’s cerebral palsy was preventable, the family has grounds to sue for compensation to assist their child cope with living with such a significant disability. “Many medical experts and malpractice lawyers believe oxygen deprivation plays an important role in birth injuries, meaning it is preventable. If it was preventable, and the unthinkable happened, someone needs to be held responsible. This is why is it vitally important for the family to understand the cause of their child’s cerebral palsy, meaning how did the lack of oxygen occur,” stated Robenalt.
The bottom line is that if asphyxia is the result of neglect, carelessness, medical negligence or hospital errors, the law offers victims the legal right to file a lawsuit to obtain lifetime compensation. Lifetime compensation often includes funds for the child’s ongoing treatment and care for the rest of their life. “If you suspect your child suffered oxygen deprivation during birth, have your case assessed by an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. You will need their assistance to file a claim,” Robenalt added.
Mellino Robenalt LLC
200 Public Sq., Suite 2900
Cleveland, Ohio 44114
Call: (216) 241-1901
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