The parents of a severely disabled 12-year-old son and a Nova Scotia hospital reached a $4.5-million settlement in regards to a medical malpractice lawsuit on September 3, 2012. Jacob Saulnier’s parents allege that Jacob developed cerebral palsy as the result of a traumatic birthing experience at Valley Regional Hospital. After nine years of legal negotiations, Jacob’s family has finally been able to obtain some financial relief as approved by the Nova Supreme Court from Jacob’s doctor, the hospital, and the former Western Regional Health Board.
The agreed to $4.5 million settlement terms allow for one half of the money to be set aside for Jacob’s ongoing care as well as periodic payments to him for the rest of his life. Jacob’s parents will each receive $125,000.00 and a specially-equipped van in which to assist the transport of Jacob to attend to his health. The remainder of the money will remain in a trust. Both sides admit that the settlement was accomplished because neither party wished to drag out the lawsuit and incur further expense or participate in what would likely be a lengthy trial and opted to use a mediator instead. Jacob’s family and the hospital indicated to CBS News that they were pleased with the solution.
Cerebral Palsy Defined
Cerebral palsy (loosely defined as brain paralysis) is caused by damage or abnormal development in one or more parts of the brain controlling movement and muscle tone. Impairments associated with the condition usually appear early in life during infancy or early childhood with the condition being noticed when a child or infant is slow to reach certain developmental milestones like rolling over, crawling, sitting, and walking. Individuals with cerebral palsy have difficulty accomplishing even simple movements as well as difficulty in the control and coordination of muscles.
Specific symptoms of cerebral palsy include:
- Muscle stiffness (spasticity)
- Poor muscle tone
- Uncontrolled movements
- Posture, balance, and coordination problems
- Difficulty walking, speaking, eating, swallowing and performing similar functions
- Mental retardation and learning disabilities
- Breathing problems
- Bladder and bowel control problems
- Skeletal deformities
Severity of the above-mentioned symptoms vary wide and the magnitude of cerebral palsy symptoms may come and go over time; however, the condition is not reversible with individuals suffering from the condition showing signs of deterioration as they age.
Care of Cerebral Palsy Patients is Expensive
While medical care for cerebral palsy sufferers has advanced, cerebral palsy remains a significant health problem that requires expensive and life-long medical and physical care that includes speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy to manage. With appropriate interventions, most cerebral palsy patients are able to improve their abilities substantially, making it imperative that they and their families have the financial resources to attend to their special needs. It has been estimated that as many as 1,000,000 people are affected by cerebral palsy with no variance among the sex of patients, what socioeconomic group they belong to or what ethnic group they are members of.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer Experienced in Medical Malpractice Law to Determine What Relief You Might be Eligible For
Since the majority of cerebral palsy cases are the result of some birth injury, many families find financial relief in the form of insurance payouts and medical malpractice litigation. If you or a loved one has been injured as the result of the negligence of another or due to a birth injury and wish to seek legal recourse, contact a personal injury lawyer experienced in medical malpractice law to see what relief might be available to you.