Cerebral Palsy is in an injury as a result from brain damage. Not all persons suffering with Cerebral Palsy sustained their injury at the time of birth. Cerebral Palsy can be caused to the brain before, during and indeed after birth.
There are various types of Cerebral Palsy which are:-
- A spastic Cerebral Palsy which can make its victim have difficulty with movement.
- Athetoid Cerebral Palsy causing involuntary and uncontrolled movements by the victim.
- Ataxic Cerebral Palsy causing a disturbed sense of balance
- Mixed Cerebral Palsy causing a mixture of the types of the Cerebral Palsy as set out above.
Cerebral Palsy can be caused either by a failure of the brain to develop or as a direct result of neurological damage to the victim whilst their brain was in the developmental stage.
Not all cases of Cerebral Palsy are as a result of clinical negligence and it will take careful consideration of medical records, evidence and indeed obtaining medical advice to assess whether the cause is as a result of professional negligence on the part of the healthcare provider.
There are various ways in which a healthcare provider can be negligent and whilst the following list is not exhaustive typical areas of concern are:-
- Failing to carry out fetal monitoring correctly or at all (CTG monitoring – cardiotochograph monitoring)
- Failure to deliver when necessary, either assisted by forceps, ventouse or indeed caersarean section.
- Failure to action emergency indicators such as mecionium discharge (sticky green/black material) usually extracted by the baby during first couple of days after birth but during birth can be an indication of maternal stress or during periods of hypoxia (a reduction in oxygen level required for normal physical logical function).
There are no immediate signs on a baby that are definitive in showing that the infant is suffering from Cerebral Palsy. However, one will need to consider an abnormal heart rate on a CTG monitor
(cardiotochograph). Normal fetal heart rate (FHR) will range between 110 and 150 beats per minute.
In addition a low APGAR score (a quantitative scoring mechanism used to determine the condition of the infant within 1, 5 and 10 minutes after birth which may indicate the need for resuscitation. It assesses five features with a maximum score of 2 being assigned to each.
- Heart rate
- Respiratory effort
- Muscle tone
- Response to stimulation
In addition to APGAR score poor blood analysis result and delay in natural unassisted breathing may be an indication of Cerebral Palsy.
To assist in a claim for Cerebral Palsy as a result of negligence on the party of the Healthcare provider one can also look at damage caused to the infant during first and second stage labour.
Many vital organs are vulnerable during the birth process and it is not unusual (although not essential to show negligence) to see damaged caused to other areas.
Can I claim
As set out above not all persons suffering with Cerebral Palsy have sustained such brain damage as a result of negligent treatment by Healthcare provider. It will be necessary to consider circumstances of birth, evidence that is available and indeed medical records to assess whether there may be grounds for further investigating the potential for a claim for Cerebral Palsy. The indicators set out in the narrative above whilst not definitive in any claim do provide helpful assistance in considering whether there is merit in considering a claim further. If you are unsure as to whether the type of Cerebral Palsy being suffered to you and/or a member of your family has been caused by clinical
negligence then please contact our team to discuss the matter further.
As a result of The Limitation Act of 1980 this imposes a strict duty upon Claimants to pursue a claim within a strict period of time. Whilst there is provision to dis-apply the strict ruling for Limitation Act essentially you must pursue a claim within three years from:
- The date on which the cause of action accrued or;
- The date of knowledge (if later) of the person injured.
If a person dies before the exploration of the period mentioned above then the period applicable in respect of that cause of action surviving for the benefit of the estate of the deceased party is three years from:
- The date of death
- The date of the personal representative’s knowledge Which ever is later.
For all cases involving children limitation will expire on their 21st birthday.
What can I claim for
The amount of compensation (damages) you receive is made up of:-
- “General Damages” which compensate you for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life (PSLA)
- “Special Damages” which consist of your quantifiable financial damages. They sometimes include medical expenses, transport cost, nursing or child care costs (in some cases) and a claim for loss of earnings if appropriate.
- “Smith and Manchester Award” This is where an award of damages is made for the weakening of the Claimants competitive position
on the open labour market.
We would welcome the opportunity of discussing all aspects of your claim with you. We can discuss its merits free of charge. Please feel free to contact us on any of the modes of communication set out on our website. Not only can we discuss the merits of your claim but also methods of funding.
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