New Cerebral Palsy and Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Help: Resource4thePeople Voices Concern about New Caregiver Guideline

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Resource4thePeople fears Labor Department "companionship exemption" ruling could adversely affect the care of cerebral palsy victims. National network of attorneys will continue to offer free consultations for parents seeking information involving compensation for alleged medical malpractice in such cases.

Resource4thePeople announced today its concern over a new caregiver guideline issued by the U.S. Labor Department that Resource4thePeople feels could adversely affect thousands of cerebral palsy victims.

Labor Department officials announced in their September, 2013 monthly update,* that they have tightened the Fair Labor Standards Act by narrowing what is called the “companionship exemption” in order to make in-home, direct support caregivers eligible for minimum wage and overtime benefits.

"While well-intentioned this ruling does not take into consideration the enormous effect this measure would have in states in which these services are covered by Medicaid which does not allow payments for overtime," said Resource4thePeople.

"We fully support the dedicated efforts of caregivers and the desire of parents of children born with cerebral palsy to provide for the care of their children and seek compensation in any cases in which this condition or a death may have been caused by medical malpractice."

Resource4thePeople also announced that it will continue its policy of offering free consultations to families who have been affected by allegations of medical malpractice that may have resulted in cerebral palsy or birth injuries.

"Consumers should be aware that there may be legal time limits in certain states which could negatively affect the legal options that may be available to seek compensation so we are urging consumers to take advantage of these consultations as soon as possible," said Resource4thePeople.

"We are also urging states affected by this Medicaid situation to adjust their rates in order to allow organizations providing much-needed care to cerebral palsy victims to continue their efforts."

Resource4thePeople also reaffirms its support for any additional research that can help reduce the number of these cases as well as fund-raising activities that raise the public profile of this condition, which affects an estimated 17 million people around the world.

Cerebral palsy is a general description of a set of neurological problems that stem from brain damage and permanently disrupt an individual's capacity for muscle coordination and body movement control. This can occur during fetal development, birth, post-birth or during the first few years of life.

“Families place the care of the mother and infant during the birthing process in the hands of medical practitioners with the trust that these professionals will meet the accepted standards of medical care,” said Resource4thePeople.

“Unfortunately, this is not always the case and sometimes mistakes are made that can cause such serious medical conditions as cerebral palsy, which have lifetime consequences for the child and the family involving medical costs, special education costs and other expenses directly attributable to this condition.”

Resource4thePeople notes that it has received a significant number of inquiries from consumers who are attributing the incidence of cerebral palsy in their children to medical malpractice.

"Our data shows that there is a great demand from consumers about information in the area of cerebral palsy and birth defects, which occur in about 750,000 births in the United States each year,” said Resource4thePeople.

Resource4thePeople also has established a new information site that provides a detailed, easy-to-read outline of how medical malpractice can occur in some cases resulting in cerebral palsy and other birth defects.

There are several different types of cerebral palsy, which are classified as neurological disorders that cause lifetime disruptions of muscle coordination and body movements.

The condition can be caused by several factors that occur before, during or after birth and, in some cases, can involve medical malpractice, said Resource4thePeople.

Estimates of the costs of care and treatment for cerebral palsy victims vary widely but a May, 22, 2010 U.S. government report provides estimates that reach as high as $700,000 over a lifetime.**

The government report describes cerebral palsy as a motor disorder appearing in early childhood that is caused by brain damage and is the most common movement disorder of childhood and affects approximately one to six children per 1,000 births.

“The estimate varies considerably because mild cases may not be determined in early childhood, and all cases may be obscured by other developmental disabilities, such as seizures and mental retardation,” according the EPA report.

“The most severe cases may result in rapid death and not be detected. When estimates of the incidence of cerebral palsy are based on evaluations in the neonatal period, the occurrence will be underestimated.

“It is very difficult to identify cerebral palsy during this period by clinical methods, due to the relative immaturity of the nervous system of newborn infants. Both muscle tone and the control of movement are affected in cerebral palsy.”

To provide some insight for consumers who are inquiring about the treatment and expenses required for cerebral palsy, Resource4thePeople provides these details from a Nov. 13, 2010 Mayo Clinic web site:***

“Children and adults with cerebral palsy will require some degree of long term care with a medical care team. This team may include:

  •     Pediatrician or physiatrist, who oversees the treatment plan and medical care
  •     Pediatric neurologist, who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders in children
  •     Orthopedist, who treats muscle and bone disorders
  •     Occupational therapist, who specializes in therapy to develop everyday skills and to use adaptive products that help with everyday activities
  •     Developmental therapist, who specializes in therapy to help your child develop age-appropriate behaviors, social skills and interpersonal skills
  •     Mental health provider, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist
  •     Social worker, who assists the family with accessing services and planning for transitions in care
  •     Special education teacher, who addresses learning disabilities, determines educational needs and identifies appropriate educational resources”


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