Working on a medical malpractice case requires familiarity with much more than just the law. It is critical for advocates in these situations to understand many of the actual medical issues related to both the treatment itself which supposedly went wrong as well as the recovery options available.
For example, an attorney who works on a birth injury case where a family alleges that malpractice led to the child’s development of cerebral palsy must know the basics of the birthing process, what can cause the injury, and whether that conduct is or is not below a standard of reasonable care. Law school does not teach any of those things–it comes only with experience working on these cases and dealing with experts.
But it doesn’t stop there. Believe it or not, it is also important for attorneys in these matters to understand what rehab options are available to children who were already injured. Knowing whether negligence caused the cerebral palsy isn’t enough. That is because in any case, determining a fair settlement amount or arguing damages in front of a jury is based on future needs.
The amount of money that a negligent defendant is required to provide to make an injured party whole may be vastly different depending on the treatment options. For example, if a single surgery is needed to fix the problem and return the child to full health, then the cost of the surgery is the main future medical expense. However, if no surgical options are available then perhaps the child will need constant rehab, and even then they may still need close nursing care and more. In short, the treatment options following negligence are important parts of any medical malpractice case.
New CP Research
It is in that vein that our birth injury lawyers monitor developments in the medical field related to these ailments which may be caused by negligence during delivery.
For example, the SF Gate reported late last week on a large scale research project on cerebral palsy that is set to begin at the Virginia Tech Carillon Research Institute. Using a $4.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, the research will track the progress of 135 children with cerebral palsy who received a new, specialized form of high intensity therapy.
According to those involved, as part of the project “Children with hemiparesis – a weakness on one side of the body caused by an injury to the opposite side of the brain – will undergo a form of therapy in which their stronger arm and hand are placed in a cast to encourage development of the weaker limb.”
The therapy envisioned is very intense, often lasting up to six hours every single day, five days a week. Children from around the country are expected to travel to the research site and stay nearby for weeks or months at a time.
Hopefully this project thrives and allows medical professionals to use new tools to help children affected by cerebral palsy regain function and live improved lives.
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