Sometimes we take to this blog to ‘gripe’ about issues we hear about while speaking with hundreds of families touched by Cerebral Palsy. Unlike other blogs, our complaints go well beyond the mundane and instead we focus here today on the misinformation and blatant delays in diagnosis of CP, caused by some medical professionals and institutions in this country. Delaying diagnosis can, for instance, cause a parent to wait too long and allow the statute of limitations for Lifetime Benefits for a child who suffered a birth injury to expire. Far too often we explain to a parent that a doctor can, and should be willing to, rule out Cerebral Palsy in the event there is no current diagnosis. Whether through testing like an MRI, ultrasound, CT scan, etc., and/or requesting a formal assessment by a specialist in the field, there are very few, if any legitimate reasons, for delays in making a Cerebral Palsy diagnosis.
Why this matters is simple: the earlier a diagnosis is made, the more impact can be made through specialized treatments and therapies. Early Intervention is a term used to describe those treatments and therapies performed to help limit the impact symptoms may be having on a child with a Cerebral Palsy diagnosis. This can range from physical therapy to potential surgical efforts, in addition to working with a speech therapist and/or special education professionals. Early Intervention can play a critical part you see in providing your child with an opportunity to become the best they can be. Delays can result in limiting the extent of recovery and reducing symptoms, including painful contractures that may be avoidable.
The other reason a Cerebral Palsy diagnosis should not be delayed are variances in the statute of limitations for states nationwide. Where one state may allow a child to pursue Lifetime Benefits and/or damages for a birth injury into their early adulthood, other states put the onus on parents to discover the harm and pursue litigation in as little as three years, or less. With developmental delays sometimes mischaracterized as children ‘going at their own rate,’ a delayed diagnosis could mean years of out-of-pocket costs versus funds that could have been set aside in the form of Lifetime Benefits paid by a negligent hospital, doctor or their insurance company.
Delays in Cerebral Palsy diagnosis can occur for a number of reasons, but far too many are for self-serving reasons. When a child’s condition is due to a preventable birth injury, a doctor can and may find it in his or her best interest to delay a diagnosis to avoid being held accountable. A Medical Legal Review, conducted by our team of medical-legal professionals can help review the steps taken during the pregnancy, as well as the delivery and after, to determine if deviations from the standard of care occurred and if the CP may have been preventable. Those children with preventable Cerebral Palsy, in turn, may be eligible for Lifetime Benefits that pay for provides decades of care and support for you and your child. This, essentially, is one of the key reasons why a delay in Cerebral Palsy diagnosis is unacceptable and should be remedied as quickly as possible.
If your child exhibits symptoms of Cerebral Palsy, but you cannot get a proper diagnosis, contact our offices today to find out your options regarding a free Medical Legal Review and preserve opportunities for your child, both in terms of their development and any legal options. For more information about what goes into a Cerebral Palsy diagnosis, click here.