Birth Injuries

Alabama Birth Injury Lawyers   Alabama Cerebral Palsy Lawyers   Alabama Erb's Palsy Lawyers


A birth injury occurs nearly seven times for every 1,000 births in the United States, with infants suffering severe ailments such as a cerebral palsy and Erb’s palsy. Unfortunately, these injuries are often caused by preventable medical error. Mistakes committed by health care personnel before, during or immediately after childbirth results in hundreds if not thousands of cases of birth injury. These young victims suffer permanent injury and often require a lifetime of care.


In many of these cases, filing a lawsuit is a helpful and justifiable recourse. And getting a good lawyer to handle your case is critical. If you are contemplating filing a birth injury or cerebral palsy lawsuit, you want the best attorney possible. Ken Hooks has had extensive experience and success handling birth injury cases.


Cerebral Palsy

Contrary to what many people believe, cerebral palsy is not a disease. It is brain damage caused at around the time of birth or, in some cases, in young children due to head injuries. An estimated 500,000 Americans have cerebral palsy, with at least 4,500 new cases diagnosed annually (and as many as 10,000 according to some reports). Since a statute of limitations applies to lawsuits involving cerebral palsy, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible if you suspect medical malpractice.


Causes: There are many causes for cerebral palsy, including infections (such as German measles) during pregnancy or jaundice in the infant after birth, a condition that can damage brain cells if left untreated. Other problems that can occur are head trauma during labor and delivery and a prolonged shortage of oxygen in the brain (asphyxia), which can cause damage called hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. This can be caused by a number of factors, including a baby getting stuck in the birth canal or being choked by the umbilical cord. In some cases a doctor may fail to perform a C-section when one is necessary to ensure a healthy birth. Improper use of forceps or excessive use of vacuum extraction during childbirth can also lead to cerebral palsy as can failure to treat seizures or jaundice (with light therapy) after birth.


One group, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), which conducts research at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., estimates that birth complications including asphyxia account for 6 percent of congenital cerebral palsy cases. Other groups estimate birth complications in a greater percentage of cases.


Risk factors: Among the risk factors for cerebral palsy are low birth weight, breech presentation at birth, complicated labor and delivery including vascular and respiratory problems of the baby, multiple births, and vaginal bleeding late in pregnancy. Cerebral palsy is generally not diagnosed until a child is older, usually two or three years old.


Types of cerebral palsy: There are three basic categories of cerebral palsy, including spastic diplegia, which affects roughly 80 percent of patients. They suffer stiff and permanently contracted muscles and also in some cases hemiparetic tremors, an uncontrollable shaking of the limbs on one side of the body. Patients with athetoid, or dyskinetic, cerebral palsy have slow, writhing, uncontrolled movements of the hands, feet, arms, legs and sometimes of the facial muscles and tongue, a condition that causes grimacing and drooling. Ataxic cerebral palsy, a rare form of the ailment, affects balance and depth perception, causing sufferers to walk unsteadily and to have trouble with tasks such as writing or buttoning a shirt. Some patients have a combination of more than one form of cerebral palsy.


Other medical disorders associated with cerebral palsy: Disorders such as cerebral palsy that involve brain impairment can also cause seizures and affect intellectual development. Two-thirds of children with cerebral palsy suffer mild or moderate intellectual impairment, while the other one-third are not affected. As many as half suffer seizures, according to NINDS. Other related problems for cerebral palsy sufferers include growth problems, impaired vision or hearing, and abnormal sensation and perception accompanied with a diminished ability to experience basic sensations such as touch and pain, and poor nutrition caused by difficult with eating and swallowing.


Erb's Palsy

Erb's palsy is caused by an injury to the nerves surrounding the shoulder, known as the brachial plexus, which occurs generally during difficult childbirths. Also known as brachial palsy, Erb’s palsy is a paralysis of the arm that can either resolve on its own over a number of months or require surgery.


In meritorious cases, victims of serious birth injuries may be entitled to monetary damages for past and future medical expenses, past and future institutional or home care, home medical equipment and supplies, home modifications to provide reasonable disability accommodations, transportation accommodations, lost earnings, disfigurement and pain and suffering. Some cases may also merit an award of punitive damages.


If you or a loved one have suffered a traumatic brain or spinal cord injury, please contact us for a confidential, no-cost, no-obligation evaluation of your claim.

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