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Cerebral Palsy Laws in Maryland

Cerebral palsy is one of the more serious birth injuries that can result from medical malpractice in the delivery room.   It has a lifelong effect and lifelong costs, both economically and emotionally, on the families of those affected. So what are the relevant cerebral palsy laws in Maryland?

Cerebral palsy is the medical term for neurological disorders that inhibit body movement and muscle coordination.  Although there can be many different factors, it is often the result of an insufficient oxygen reaching an infant’s brain during birth.  It is estimated that around 70% of cerebral palsy cases are caused by a lack of oxygen flow to the infant during birth, though an additional 20% are diagnosed due to a brain injury.  Some other causes, however, include illness during a pregnancy or severe illness, i.e. meningitis, during early life.

In a medical malpractice context, some of the mistakes that can lead to cerebral palsy are mistakes in using instruments (i.e. vacuum) while performing delivery; delay or failure to perform a necessary cesarean section; not detecting an umbilical cord wrapping around the infants’ neck; and failure to monitor heartbeat, among others.

The results of this in cerebral palsy victims is a nonprogressive brain disorder, meaning that, devastating as the disorder is, the brain damage does not continue to worsen throughout life.  The symptoms, however, may change over time, sometimes getting better, sometimes worse.  In addition to the pain, it will debilitate those who suffer from it for a lifetime, often costing him or her the earnings they would have made over a lifetime.  These earnings are replaced with the medical bills necessary to keep those suffering from cerebral palsy comfortable and safe.

Cerebral palsy is also surprisingly common: around 10,000 infants and 1,500 preschoolers are diagnosed with it every year, while the United Cerebral Palsy Association estimates over 764,000 Americans have cerebral palsy.  This disorder is known for impairing control of movement, but also often causes seizures, varying levels of mental disabilities, learning disabilities, as well as problems with vision, speech, hearing and language.

For the hundreds of thousands of Americans who have been injured, what are their options to ensure that those responsible shoulder as much of the burden as possible?

“It’s a devastating disorder for an individual and family to go through,” said Miguel Palmeiro of the Law Offices of Miguel Palmeiro.  “There are so many different degrees of symptoms we see in cerebral palsy patients, so each case is very different, but many of the questions families want to plan around are how to provide lifelong care for a disabled loved one.”

“Sometimes, doctors do everything they can very competently, and things just go wrong.  Other times, however, a doctor should have known, and his mistake will cost a family for a lifetime.  When that happens, it’s important that those who are injured understand their rights, and make sure that those responsible help care for their child.”

If a loved one received an injury during birth that resulted in cerebral palsy, the potential lawsuit will likely be a “medical malpractice” lawsuit.  To find a medical professional liable for medical malpractice, it needs to be found that their actions violated a duty of care that was owed to the patient, i.e. not ordering a cesarean section when it was necessary, and that this violation caused the cerebral palsy.

One of the best ways to determine whether or not you have a case is to make a free consultation.  Remember, there is a statute of limitations that begins to run, and medical malpractice cases are complicated and often require expert witnesses and additional evidence gathering; even a brief conversation can help provide clarity in what can often be a confusing and intimidating experience.

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