Thursday, January 3, 2013

Cerebral Palsy: Your Rights and Social Responsibility

Having a baby is one of the happiest moments in a parent’s life. From the moment you learn that you are pregnant, emotions of excitement and anticipation accompany you until the delightful moment that your little one enters the world.  Mothers work hard to ensure that they eat properly, get enough rest and take care of themselves while pregnant to ensure the health of their baby.  Couples interview doctors and choose a qualified care provider that can make assure their child is cared for during pregnancy and delivery.  Parents put their trust in hospitals and medical professionals every day asking of them one simple thing – do a good job and deliver my child safely.  Unfortunately accidents during delivery happen, and when they do children are at risk for cerebral palsy.

Cerebral palsy affects thousands of babies and children every year.  Cerebral palsy (CP) is a brain condition that impacts the rest of the body.  Children with CP have trouble controlling their muscles - leaving many unable to walk without help, or unable to walk at all. Some will have difficulty eating, communicating or playing.  While this condition can be devastating to families, there are ways to improve a child’s quality of life and to help them live as normally as possible.  Unfortunately, wheelchairs, therapy, and other necessary equipment and services are not cheap, and can deplete a family’s financial resources.  Medical devices are often needed to aid with some of the basic requirements of everyday life, and without the financial means to pay for such, families may feel discouraged and helpless.

However, there is help available.  There are people who will work relentlessly for you, so that your child can receive the help they deserve.

Financial damages are typically awarded based on the following:

  • Medical expenses of the patient – previous, ongoing and future.

  • Cost of care – the amount necessary to keep the patient in constant care over the course of their life.  This can include care providers and therapy.

  • Loss of wages – when  a child is born with cerebral palsy many parents cannot continue to work in their current capacity as their child needs their assistance more than a healthy child would.

  • Emotional pain and suffering.  The devastation that comes with a child suffering from a severe medical condition is not something that can be measured monetarily, nor is it something that money can solve.  Money can however make it easier to endure, allowing for a more comfortable living situation, and reducing the stress of making ends meet while caring for your child.

Medical malpractice cases and those involving cerebral palsy are complicated.  There is no easy answer.   Unlike a personal injury case involving a car crash, as an example, there is often no clear answer as to why this happened.  Understanding the case and chain of events takes an expert.  It takes a legal mind that is familiar with the complexities of not only the law but medical procedures and cerebral palsy as a whole.  It is essential for families to work with an attorney that is an expert in cerebral palsy cases.  This is not the time to work with a novice or someone that needs to “get up to speed” on the condition.  You need a lawyer in your corner that has been through the process and can listen with knowledge and understanding, and most importantly compassion.

Please help spread awareness on this topic.

Want to know how?
  • Teach disability awareness in schools
  • Hold Cerebral Palsy local events (find out if there are existing ones in your area) if not, create one! J
  • Note the Wear in Awareness: Pin the ribbon or wear the shirt+get your friends to join you
  • Facebook It: Spread the message on Social Media Platforms. Get a green FB cover for a week to show you care.
  • Donate to the cause; realize that there are tougher things in life than living without a new Apple device. A bit of sacrifice can make a huge impact on someone’s life.
  • Reach out: Make a new friend. You will be amazed at how much you can learn from each other.
  • Hold a fundraiser: It can be a fun time to spend time with friends, and simultaneously help raise funds to those who need the help.
  • Educate yourself: Read up on the topic and tell others what you learned
  • Give the gift of knowledge to help parents of a special needs child by giving them a book. This is a good one: Special Needs Parent Handbook: Critical Strategies and Practical Advice to Help You Survive and Thrive  
  • Organize a Social Awareness Campaign: Find online resources and be creative! Pinterest is a great way to get started organizing your ideas.
Do you know anyone who has ‘slipped through the cracks’ and been forgotten by the system? It is your social responsibility to make sure they receive the help they deserve.

 SimplyLili is a PhD student in Social Psychology, and the witty author of Essell magazine; created to disperse knowledge on a plethora of psychological topics in a minimalist and relevant way. She is a self-proclaimed nerd and her 3 fave things are blogging, rainy days, and pugs.

Twitter: @SimplyLili1717


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