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Stem Cell Treatment a Possible Answer for Cerebral Palsy

In 2008, a German child, then just 2 years old, had a cardiac arrest that resulted in severe brain damage and a vegetative state. The situation seemed almost hopeless, with doctors quoting a six percent chance for just survival, let alone recovery. There is no known cure for cerebral palsy but the child’s parents proposed using stem cells in cord blood they had frozen as an experimental symptom treatment.

Doctors at the University Clinic of the Ruhr University of Bochum (UK RUB) began treatment nine weeks after the child’s cardiac arrest and regularly monitored his progress for forty months. According to a university report, following an unlikely recovery, “the child was able to eat independently, walk with assistance, and form four-word sentences”. While the doctors still hesitated to claim a causal relationship between treatment and recovery, researchers continue to explore the stem cell method.

Typically, cerebral palsy treatment involves consistent medical support for a patient’s entire life, whether it’s different kinds of therapy, medication, or a social worker helping with day-to-day activities. In 2013, Korean doctors claimed that they had successfully treated cerebral palsy using cord blood that was not originally taken from the patients. If stem cell therapy continues to develop and become more accessible, it could drastically change the futures of cerebral palsy patients.

Preparing for a Cerebral Palsy Claim

Cerebral palsy is a disorder that affects movement and muscle coordination. It is neurological in nature rather than muscular or neural, and results from a brain injury or abnormality. Depending on the severity of the neurological damage, cerebral palsy may range from severe to mild, but it will have a permanent effect on the child and long-term consequences for his or her family.

In some cases, cerebral palsy is a result of a birth injury that may be due to negligence on the part of the medical staff. In order to prepare for a possible birth injury claim, you need to follow certain steps.

First, confirm that cerebral palsy is present. Bring the medical records of the child to a neurologist who can assess if it is indeed cerebral palsy or another type of developmental disorder. Get copies of all the tests and get the doctor to give you a written diagnosis as well as the recommended treatments and devices to manage the disorder. These documents will be invaluable when presenting your case before a jury.

Second, request for all the medical records taken for the pregnancy and delivery. This can be quite a lot, as prenatal records tend to be extensive, but it will prove that due care was taken during the pregnancy, and there are no contributing factors evident in the medical history, physical condition or lifestyle of the mother prior to birth. The records will also show vital signs reports and who were present during the delivery.

Lastly, find a cerebral palsy lawyer conversant with the birth injury laws of Pennsylvania and present him or her with what documentary evidence you have been able to gather. Some of the records take some time to get, but you should not delay the initial consultation too much just to complete all the records. Make sure that the lawyer you retain has the required certifications for a medical malpractice suit in the state, and ask about the results and success rate in similar cases. A good lawyer will be able to prepare the mother for cross-examination, which can be somewhat distressing as the defense will most likely try to pin the blame on the mother.

It is important to remember that getting all the needed information will determine success or failure in a cerebral palsy claim. If you are convinced that a birth injury is the cause of the child’s cerebral palsy, making a successful claim will mean that the costs of managing the disorder will not place an impossible burden on the family.