Fortunately, most births are joyous events and
all goes well. However, about three times in every hundred
births, there are serious birth injuries. Not all birth
injuries are due to medical malpractice. But if the medical
treatment received fell below the medical standard of care
and if the malpractice caused the birth injuries, then a
Rhode Island Birth Injury Lawyer can establish a case.
When a child has suffered serious birth injuries, the child
needs the help of an experienced medical malpractice law
firm which has expertise as experienced birth injuries
lawyers. All the medical records with details of the
childbirth injuries need to be obtained and reviewed. An
expert obstetrician needs to review all of the records and
the medical literature needs to be reviewed and analyzed.
This process could take several months.
When you retain a birth injuries attorney or cerebral palsy
lawyer from The Law Offices of James P. Howe, you
will be sure to have the most experienced and knowledgeable
legal help you can receive. Our birth injuries lawyers have
obtained countless verdicts and settlements on areas ranging
from forceps injuries, asphyxiation damage, failure to
properly c-section, medication errors, improper
amniocentesis technique, failing to timely deliver the
child, improper assessment of fetal age, and all types of
other childbirth injuries.
What exactly is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebal Palsy is a group of disorders which can be
characterized by loss of movement or loss of other nerve
functions. These disorders are caused by injuries to the
brain during fetal development or near the time of birth.
What exactly is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is negligent or incorrect performance of
professional duties. In medicine, the term refers
specifically to care rendered to patients by health care
providers and institutions. Generally, four prerequisites
are necessary to establish a valid claim for medical
A provider-patient relationship existed;
Negligent care was rendered;
The patient suffered damage or harm; and
The damage or harm done to the patient was a result of the
What are the causes, incidences and risk factors of Cerebral
The incidence of
Cerebral Palsy is approximately two to four
children for every 1000 births. Cerebral Palsy results from
injury to the cerebrum (the largest portion of the brain,
involved with higher mental faculties, sensations and
voluntary muscle activities). Causes can vary from birth
asphyxia and trauma, hypoxia (low oxygen) to the damaged
areas of the brain, premature birth, or cerebral injury
caused by illness or a head injury.
Injury to the cerebrum can result in the loss of nerve
functions in widely different areas. The classical finding
of Cerebral Palsy is spasticity (decreased muscle tone),
which may affect a single limb, one side of the body
(spastic hemiplegia), both legs (spastic diplegia), or both
arms and legs (spastic quadriplegia). In addition, there may
be partial or full loss of movement (paralysis), sensory
abnormalities and defects of hearing and vision. With
Cerebral Palsy, speech abnormalities are common and seizures
may occur. Intellectual function may range from extremely
bright to severe mental retardation. Symptoms are usually
evident before age 2 and in severe cases may appear as early
as three months of age. Cerebral Palsy is a non-progressive
type of encephalopathy (injury to the brain) and symptoms
directly resulting from the disorder do not worsen.
What can we do to help our child?
Over 500,000 children and adults in the U.S. have Cerebral
Palsy. Cerebral Palsy is a lifelong disorder and long-term
care may be required. The disorder does not affect expected
length of life. And the cost of care for a child with
disabilities may be very high. Depending upon the cause,
compensation for the care of your child may be available. If
you think that your child is entitled to financial
assistance or that the doctors or hospital did something
wrong, immediately call the Law Offices of James P. Howe for a free consultation at (800) 718-4658.
What help could you be entitled to?
Supplemental Social Security Income - This is a federally funded
program that pays monthly checks to children who have been
determined to be disabled under federal law. Under the law,
you may have assets and income and still have your child
qualify for SSI.
Medicaid - This is a federally funded program that can
provide extensive medical benefits to disabled children who
meet the eligibility criteria. These benefits may even be
available to those with substantial incomes if there are
Help with Medical Evaluations and Treatment - Neurology,
orthopedic, cardiac and orafacial clinics are just a few of
the special services available for help with the initial
diagnosis or for additional opinions. There is usually no
charge to the family for initial diagnostic evaluations.
Even beyond the initial visit, financial assistance is
available if the family is eligible.
Early Intervention - Children, up to age three, are eligible
for early intervention programs with professionals
delivering direct services in your home or in their program
Preschool Age and School Age - Children, aged three to
twenty-two, are entitled to special education services under
federal and state laws. These laws guarantee a child with
special needs an educational program designed to meet his or
her individual needs and to maximize the child's potential.
Special education can include speech, occupational and
physical therapy services and placement in public or private
Respite Care - This provides occasional relief from the
daily care of taking care of your child. The services are
offered by several state agencies and are often provided
free. Respite care can provide home-health aides, homemakers
and the like, in your own home or twenty-four hour care
outside the home in family or group-care settings.
Handicapped License Tag - Parents who transport a severely
disabled child may be eligible for handicapped plates on
their car as well as an exemption from sales tax and/or
Did you know?
If you should pass away without a will, under the law, your
child will inherit part of your estate and may no longer be
financially eligible for publicly supported programs. By
carefully drawing up a will with professional guidance, your
child stands a better chance of maintaining
public benefits and a secure future. It is important for you
to know if others have included your child in their will.
The U.S. Congress passed laws recognizing that the parents
can set up a "Special Needs Trust". This Trust will allow
continued payments of government benefits.
A true story...
Here is an actual Cerebral Palsy case history. It is an
example of just one of the many cases with varying results.
If you think your child's Cerebral Palsy could have been
prevented, contact us. We can help.
A FEW YEARS AGO, A WOMAN IN LABOR went into fetal distress
while at the hospital. This necessitated an emergency
c-section. The child sustained seizures and brain damage due
to lack of oxygen to the brain and subsequently developed
Cerebral Palsy, spastic quadraparalysis, severe mental
retardation and microcephaly. At the age of three (3), she
is unable to walk, unable to speak and unable to feed
herself. Through Early Intervention, she receives hours of
physical, occupational and speech therapy. She will never be
able to live independently and will require 24-hour
supervision for the rest of her life. The parents filed a
lawsuit for Failure to Respond to Fetal Distress and Failure
to Timely Perform a Cesarean Section against the
obstetrician and against the hospital. The obstetrician and
the hospital maintained that the fetal monitor strips did
not show signs of fetal distress and that the child's
injuries were congenital and not related to their actions
and inactions. However, all of the records subsequent to the
child's birth indicated that the child suffered from lack of
oxygen at birth, or hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy.
Where can we turn for help?
The Law Offices of James P. Howe understands that
protecting a loved one's rights is one of your family's most
important responsibilities. Just as significant, our firm
understands the law so you receive the best legal
representation possible. Together, we have mastered the
intricacies of this extremely important area of law. Our
firm has the knowledge, experience and passion to help you
find out if your health care provider has been negligent.
You deserve answers to your questions and to know what
options you have. We collect all medical records and conduct
an extensive screening process which often requires a review
by several obstetrical, neurology, pathology and radiology
medical experts. Very often an extensive review indicates
that no meritorious case exists, even though the child has
severe disabilities. Under these circumstances, the parents
owe our firm no fee nor do we require reimbursement of
Should you require assistance with a Childbirth Injury,
please contact us for an immediate free evaluation of your
situation. We have dealt with many of these cases and can be
an invaluable resource for information and more importantly
or call us today at (401) 788-0600 to speak with
someone from our firm..