6 October 2018 marks World Cerebral Palsy Day. It is more than just an awareness day, it is an opportunity to celebrate and affirm the lives of the 17 million people globally, living with cerebral palsy.
In the UK, cerebral palsy affects about one in every 400 children. It is the most common physical disability in childhood; however it is widely misunderstood.
What is cerebral palsy?
Cerebral palsy is an umbrella term for a group of lifelong conditions that affect movement motor skills and muscle tone, caused by injury to the brain that occurs before, during or soon after birth. It is a complex, lifelong disability.
The condition primarily affects movement, but people with cerebral palsy may also have visual, learning, hearing and speech impairments. It can be mild, such as a weakness in one hand, to severe, where people have little control over movements or speech and may need 24 hour assistance.
The impact of cerebral palsy and how we can help
It is a devastating truth that some cases of cerebral palsy are preventable and are a result of mistakes. Problems can sometimes go undetected by medical professionals, for example if a mother has an infection which spreads to the womb and this is not appropriately treated, or if a baby is distressed during labour, or if there is a delay or failure to spot this distress and in delivering the baby.
Cerebral palsy affects each person differently and could lead to a wide range of issues. The original injury with the brain doesn’t get worse over time, but the condition can put a lot of strain on the body and cause problems such as painful joints later in life. Physiotherapies and other therapies can often help sufferers become more independent. No two people will be affected in the same way and so treatments and therapies must reflect individual needs.
There is a misconception that all people with cerebral palsy are intellectually impaired. Some people however, will develop some form of cognitive impairment due to the injury that caused cerebral palsy in the first place and may require additional assistance. We can help you with applications to the Court of Protection for appointing a deputy to manage the money of someone who has suffered cerebral palsy as a result of a birth injury.
Making a will can be complicated, especially when you have to take into account caring responsibilities. Thomson Snell & Passmore has a team of private client lawyers who are experienced in supporting people with complex wills and trust needs.
In circumstances where cerebral palsy was avoidable, it is always worth investigating the potential for a legal claim.
People with special needs often require additional medical care and necessities that can become costly. Most families simply cannot afford the expensive but necessary equipment and treatment to enable a person with cerebral palsy to lead a fulfilling life. Financial worries can be an added pressure at an already difficult time.
Almost all of the problems facing a person with cerebral palsy are easier to cope with if a family has access to funds allocated to the individual affected that have been specifically awarded to deal with the problems of the condition. An award of damages can provide a degree of certainty in an otherwise uncertain situation.
We can help to obtain interim payments so that families can afford to pay for the necessary treatment without worrying until they receive their full compensation pay out; arrange an ‘immediate needs assessment’ to identify any additional help and support that is required and call on our close relationships with brain injury case managers who can co-ordinate care and therapy packages.
Cerebral palsy and birth injury cases are highly complex. It is therefore crucial that any initial discussion relating to a possible claim is with a firm that specialises in medical negligence and has expert knowledge of cerebral palsy and birth injury related cases. We are one of the most established teams in the country, with access to the best case managers and medical consultants in the country assisting us in recovering millions of pounds worth of damages for our clients.
Thomson Snell & Passmore are experts in this field and in dealing with the sensitive legal and medical issues related to cerebral palsy.