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Cerebral palsy is a serious condition affecting thousands of children each year, causing everything from vision, hearing and speech problems to muscle spasms, muscle stiffness and mobility issues.
Experts have yet to pinpoint all the complex causes of cerebral palsy. However, it is widely accepted that cerebral palsy can and often does result from a brain injury sustained in utero, during delivery or shortly after birth.
To illustrate, an OB/GYN may fail to order the necessary tests that would indicate certain birth complications or fail to properly monitor the health of the baby during the delivery. Similarly, a pediatrician may fail to diagnose a certain health issue during the child’s early development.
While cerebral palsy can prove to be a physical, emotional and financial challenge, there are many who refuse to let it get in the way of leading a full life.
Take for instance, 15-year-old Matthew who was diagnosed with the condition shortly after being born prematurely back in 1997, and whose parents were told that he would never walk.
While Matthew proved the doctors wrong by taking his first steps at 21 months, he continued to be plagued by muscle spasticity issues throughout his childhood. When leg surgeries and quarterly injections were no longer doing the job, Matthew and his family decided to try something different.
In 2010, physicians surgically implanted a drug pump — measuring only 3.4 inches in diameter and less than an inch thick — that injects medication directly to Matthew’s spine to treat his muscle spasms.
Thus far, the drug pump has been largely successful, enabling Matthew to start walking and, more significantly, running. In fact, he has since joined his middle school and high school cross country teams and competed in multiple road races, including a 20 mile stretch of an ultramarathon. Matthew even completed a ten mile race as part of a local marathon this past weekend.
When asked about the overall impact that the drug pump has had, Matthew’s response was nothing short of inspiring.
“Right now, I’m running, having fun, enjoying life,” he said.
Hopefully, Matthew’s story can serve as inspiration for any parents who have received the devastating news that their child suffers from this condition. If you believe that a physician’s negligence may be the cause of your child’s cerebral palsy, consider contacting an experienced legal professional to learn more about your rights and options for recovery.
Sources: The Pioneer Press, “He’s 15. He has cerebral palsy. He runs — far,” Christopher Snowbeck, Oct. 6, 2012; WCCO, “15-year-old with cerebral palsy finishes TC half marathon,” James Schugel, Oct. 7, 2012