It is every new parents’ worst nightmare…the thought that your child may have a disease or life-altering condition. After all, as parents, we want our children to live easy, full and happy lives.
When a challenging diagnosis is made it can feel like the air is sucked out of you, and the worst thoughts creep in – especially if the condition can leave your child permanently injured. At least that is what it felt like for me when I found out about my daughter’s brain tumor…
While I am not a parent of a special needs child, my child did suffer from a brain tumor at the age of 1, and she still suffers from developmental issues related to its removal. No cognitive development issues, but she has a hard time balancing, walking up stairs or even hopping on one foot.
We were lucky…
We were lucky, though. We caught it early (well actually my wife did)…
See, she is a pediatrician and just has a sixth sense about how kids move, stand, walk, and behave. While we all thought that she may have been overthinking it, she was convinced something was not right.
And that’s because she knew the checklist by heart. And, because of that, our neurosurgeon operated on a tumor that was virtually asymptomatic, because it had not grown large enough to create significant problems for our daughter.
As a parent I am blessed to have my wife as a walking checklist of health concerns to look out for in our children.
But, most parents don’t have that resource at home.
That’s why you go to your pediatrician regularly. And that’s why the developmental milestone charts are so important to follow in the first few years of childhood.
Value of a checklist
Since I focus my law practice on Medical Malpractice cases involving birth injury, especially concerning Cerebral Palsy, I thought it would be useful to share a 5-point checklist to help new parents learn the signs that could be a cause for concern.
My intention here is not to alarm any of you. It is merely to help you, like my wife helped us.
The earlier a diagnosis can be made, the better for your child.
A lot of times, pediatric practices shuffle kids through the door within ten minutes. While in the vast majority of cases, doctors are able to diagnose symptoms, it is possible that they miss the signs that could lead to an early diagnosis, and, thus, get appropriate treatment to a child immediately.
My daughter’s pediatrician didn’t diagnose her, my wife did.
As parents, we spend the most amount of time with our kids. So, we have the best opportunity to make observations that can assist pediatricians in making a diagnosis. We need to be emboldened to ask and tell our kids’ doctors anything that seems out of the ordinary.
But, we can’t credibly do that, unless we know the signs.
Act fast, because the law doesn’t care
Furthermore, if your child’s cerebral palsy was caused as a result of Medical Malpractice, you will need to act fast. If the malpractice happened at birth (which is when it would likely happen if your child’s CP is due to malpractice), you will only have up and until his or her 3rd birthday to make a claim, even if you don’t discover the malpractice until after that.
Sounds crazy, but that is the law in Louisiana. Read my blog post about time delays in Louisiana Medical Malpractice cases if you want a more detailed explanation.
So the earlier you get a diagnosis, the better for your child’s health, and, for your child’s Medical Malpractice case if the cerebral palsy was, in fact, caused by a doctor’s or nurse’s negligence.
5 signs of potential Cerebral Palsy in babies
1. Low muscle tone – baby feels “floppy” when picked up.
2. Seizures in the first month
3. Difficulty sucking or swallowing
4. Unable to lift head up while laying on stomach by 1 month
5. Inability to roll over by 6 months
Now, this list is not exhaustive. And, many of these symptoms can mean something else besides cerebral palsy.
However, these are the common signs that would show up on a differential diagnosis for a baby with cerebral palsy and should definitely be brought to your pediatrician’s attention, immediately, should you notice any of them.
Fortunately, cerebral palsy is not degenerative, meaning that the condition, generally, does not get any worse. But, the sooner help is provided, the better for the child.
Malpractice or Not?
In the vast majority of cases, a child’s cerebral palsy is not caused by a birth injury. Meaning, a doctor or nurse is generally not responsible for causing cerebral palsy. About 10% of all cases, nationwide, are thought to be caused by a medical error. So, how do you know if your doctor caused your child’s cerebral palsy, or, if it was due to genetic conditions or an in utero infection?
The answer is that there is no easy answer. It is unlikely that a doctor will document in their medical notes that they are the cause of the symptoms experienced by your child. In reality, they will notate some happenings that could be a cause for concern that it was medical malpractice. For instance, some signs in a medical record or during delivery that you may remember could be:
1. Cord wrapped around baby’s neck
2. Baby not crying/breathing on her own
3. Low fetal heart rate before/during delivery
4. Baby falls/is dropped and has a skull fracture
The only way to know for sure whether or not your health care provider is at fault for your child’s birth injury is to contact a law firm that handles medical malpractice cases for birth injuries.
If you have any questions about cerebral palsy diagnoses we have (or will find) the answer.
Since my wife is a pediatrician we spend a lot of time around kids. It is my goal to ensure that doctors and hospitals are brought to justice, in order to account for the damages they cause their patient’s.
If you win your child’s medical malpractice case your child’s medical bills associated with cerebral palsy, will be covered for the rest of their lives. The average lifetime cost of medical care for a child with cerebral palsy can be upwards of $1 million dollars.
So, not only is it important that these medical providers are brought to justice so they do not harm others again, your child will benefit by having her medical care taken care of, forever.
Contact us below so we can help you determine if you have a case.