Factors that Increase the Risk of Developing Cerebral Palsy

One type of chronic disorder which more than half a million children in the US are suffering from is cerebral palsy (CP), a neurodevelopmental motor impairment that affects a child’s posture and balance, mental capabilities and speech. This chronic and incurable illness actually refers to a group of brain disorders which also impair sensation, muscle coordination, muscle control, body movement, reflex, and various brain functions, such as speech, perception and cognition. Cerebral palsy can be due to the abnormal development of the brain or physical injuries to the infant’s brain; it may be congenital or inborn, occurring during pregnancy or during the birthing process, or it may be acquired, occurring during the first years after birth.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 85% of all cerebral palsy cases are congenital in nature, but while there is no certainty about its exact cause, there are certain factors which increase the chances of newborns developing this neurodevelopmental motor impairment. For congenital CP, these factors include:

  • Premature birth, affecting babies who are born three or more weeks before the 40th week of pregnancy, but most especially those who are born before the 32nd week of pregnancy
  • Low birth weight, which affects infants whose weight is below 5.5 pounds at birth, however, those weighing below 3.5 pounds are at much greater risk of acquiring CP;
  • Infections during pregnancy, such as bacterial meningitis and viral encephalitis, both of which are characterized by an inflammation of the membranes which surround the brain and spinal cord of an infant;
  • Health conditions of the mother, such as Down’s syndrome, thyroid issues, syphilis, toxoplasmosis, cytomegalovirus, chickenpox (varicella), German measles (rubella), or illnesses which cause seizures; and,
  • Birth complications, which occur during labor or delivery and which interrupts a baby’s supply of oxygen. Some of these complications include umbilical cord problems, uterine rupture, and detachment of the placenta.

The risk factors for acquired CP, on the other hand, include:

  • Infections, like encephalitis and meningitis which cause inflammations in the central nervous system of an infant;
  • Traumatic head injuries, which can be caused by the violent shaking of a baby, child abuse, a baby falling head first to the ground, or child abuse; and,
  • Conditions which affect the flow of blood to the brain, like heart defect, sickle cell disease or fetal stroke.

On its website, Crowe & Mulvey, LLP explains that CP can also develop during the first few years of a child’s life, while his or her brain is still developing. Furthermore, the firm explains that, while this disorder can be a result of a natural or unavoidable health complication, often it is a result of an act of negligence, usually by a medical professional. Government and court records also show that most cerebral palsy cases are results of medical malpractice, making this disorder totally preventable.

Proving that a child’s CP is a result of medical negligence is not easy, however. It will take careful and thorough investigation which only a seasoned medical malpractice lawyer may know how to approach and conduct effectively.

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Espousing a Peaceful and Friendly Way of Ending a Marital Union

Many marriage counselors and divorce lawyers describe the process of divorce as complex, demoralizing emotional and, often, extremely frustrating, when referring to contested divorce. Contested divorce, which is the traditional way of ending a marital union, is settled in a family court, wherein all decisions regarding divorce-related issues (child custody and visitation rights, child support, alimony or spousal support, and division of property, assets and debts) are made by a family court judge since the divorcing spouses refuse to agree or cannot reach an agreement on these same issues.

Other than a family court judge deciding on all related matters that need to be settled, a contested divorce is also open to the public, thus, all those present in the courtroom will be able to witness how each spouse, through their respective lawyers, discredit and destroy one another, often in order to win the judge’s favor. This type of divorce can also drag on for months, even up to a couple of years; worse, the longer it takes to settle the more expensive it becomes.

Avoiding all these unpleasant situations associated with contested divorce is the most probable reason why many divorcing couples in the US now choose mediated divorce or mediation, a private and out-of-court legal procedure wherein divorcing couples are given the chance to settle all divorce-related issues themselves and in a friendly way. It can probably be stated that mediated divorce promotes one important matter: preserving the respect between the spouses, which is necessary in recognizing each other’s rights and interests, and vital in living out their parental roles (for though they may end being a couple, their being parents to their child/children, if they have any, do not end).

As pointed out by the website of BB Attorney, mediated divorce, which involves the assistance and guidance of a certified, third party mediator, offers divorcing spouses a number of other short-term and long-term benefits, besides being able to decide on all issues. This list of benefits includes:

  • Allowing each of the couple to maintain a good relationship (with his or her former spouse) for faster and easier resolution of future problems
  • Enabling couples to resolve all issues peacefully and within a much shorter period
  • Less expensive compared to a contested divorce
  • Helping spouses communicate better with each other, thus making them understand more each other’s interests
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Driver Error – The Cause of More than 90% of Car Crashes in the US

Every year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) receives reports of more than five million car crashes on US roads and highways; more than two millions of these crashes result to injuries, while at least 35,000 are fatal. An accident, whatever its result is, will always cause a change in people’s lives, whether he or she was the driver, a passenger or someone who merely witnessed the tragic event.

There are many different causes of car accidents, each falling into either one of two categories: causes that are beyond a driver’s control (such as car/car part defect and road defect) and causes that are within the control of a driver (like drunk-driving, overspeeding, reckless driving and driver error).

The 2008 National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey (NMVCCS), a study conducted by the NHTSA, shows that from 2005 to 2007, about 93% of the total number of car crashes were due to driver error, making it the major cause of accidents on roads and highways.

There are a hundred different things which can be construed as driver error, most of which are often unnoticed, like distractions while behind the wheel. The ones most often reported though, and which, without doubt, are mistakes, include:

  • Overspeeding or driving too fast for certain road conditions
  • Driving despite feeling drowsy or driving while impaired by alcohol
  • Not wearing a seatbelt
  • Driving recklessly, like driving through a red light, not stopping at intersections, changing lanes improperly, tailgating, improper turning, improper overtaking, unsafe passing
  • Texting, calling someone or answering the phone while driving
  • Allowing oneself to be distracted by things that will lessen road focus, like eating, using an electronic device, looking at a map, adjusting a GPS, conversing with a passenger, and so many others.

While no driver would want to be involved in an accident, much more injure anyone, it is definitely important to realize that committing any of these errors can very likely result in injury-causing accidents which, in the very first place are totally preventable because all these errors can be avoided – simply by being responsible on the road.

It is a sad reality that once an accident occurs, its results can no longer be undone. The law firm Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ®, however, explains online that victims of car accidents have the right to file a civil lawsuit against the guilty party in order to seek compensation for whatever damages (present and future) the injury will cause them.

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Construction Workers’ Right to Pursue Compensation after a Crane Collapse Accident

In May of 2015, a crane lifting a heating and air-conditioning unit to the roof of an office tower somewhere in Midtown Manhattan accidentally dropped the equipment, which weighed several tons, from about 30 stories down to the ground. The equipment scraped the building as it fell, causing glass, metal and concrete to rain down to the ground which inflicted minor injuries to five passersby and two construction workers.

Six months after this incident, in November, another accident involving a small crane, known as a knuckle boom, occurred; this time, however, the result was much more tragic.

The victim in this fatal accident was a construction safety coordinator, named Trevor. While lifting materials to the second or third floor of a building using the crane on his truck, Trevor went on to check a mechanical malfunction with the crane, which suddenly caused its boom to collapse; the boom fell on him and pinned him on his truck’s flatbed.

According to the New York City construction lawyers at Hach & Rose, LLP, cranes are a common presence on most construction sites due to the integral part these play in the building of various types of structures, including lifting of heavy equipment on top of buildings. However, because of their substantial size and complexity, cranes pose a number of safety risks to anyone on or near a construction area, whether they are the workers themselves or passersby. Thus, if not properly set up, operated or maintained, these can cause devastating accidents which can result to injuries or death.

While workers who get injured on the job due to a crane accident can apply for compensation with their state-run Workers’ Compensation Insurance program, they also have the option to waive this claim and pursue legal action against their employer instead. Seeking legal assistance from highly qualified construction lawyers or personal injury lawyers, who can explain to them the pros and cons of applying for benefits or filing a civil lawsuit and help them evaluate what action would be best for them to take, whether to apply for Workers’ Comp benefits or sue their employer, may be called for. This is not only to help make sure that they have all the proper documents required in whatever legal action they will decide to pursue, but also to make sure that they get the full amount of compensation that they deserve.

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The Dangers of Using DePuy ASR XL Acetabular Metal-on-Metal Hip Replacement

The hip joint, otherwise known as ball and socket joint, is one the human body’s largest joints. Its major function is to provide support to the upper body, bearing the upper body’s full weight while a person is standing, running or walking, as well as make bending, stretching and certain other movements possible, easy and devoid of pain.

While a healthy hip is capable of supporting a person’s weight, a damaged one (due to injury or disease), can affect a person’s movements. The hip is supported by strong and large thigh muscles, despite this it can be damaged, either by a forceful blow or by some sort of disorder inside the body. Some examples of this include: falls, which can cause hip fracture; osteoarthritis, or wear and tear arthritis, which can result to the painful rubbing of the bones; and, rheumatoid arthritis, a result of the immune system mistakenly attacking the joints’ lining, causing inflammation in these joints.

When hip joints get damaged, it can be a source or persistent pain, besides making daily activities hard to accomplish. One traditional medical remedy that has been employed by surgeons since the 1960s, which has relieved patients from so much pain, is replacement of damaged hip joint/s with prosthesis, or artificial joint, thru hip replacement surgery. Prosthesis is meant to improve not only the quality of patient’s lives, but also the function of their hips and their ability to perform various activities.

In 2005, the US Food and Drug Administration approved the use of the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular metal-on-metal hip replacement, one of the many products manufactured by DePuy Orthopaedics, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson as well as the first orthopaedic company in the US. This artificial metal-on-metal (MoM) replacement for the hip joint was intended as a longer lasting alternative to metal-on-plastic and metal-on-ceramic hip replacement systems due to its higher resistance against deterioration; since it could also withstand more vigorous activities, doctors saw it as as a more sound choice for patients who were younger and more active.

But while hip replacement systems are notorious for discharging tiny particles inside its host’s body whenever their two parts rub against one another, the effects of MoM systems are much more serious, so that those who have been implanted with these usually require reconstructive or replacement surgery in order to repair joint failure and tissues damaged by the device.

From 2008 to the present, recorded DePuy side effects may be classified under these two categories:

  1. Those that are not medically serious, but can affect a person’s quality of life and capacity in performing normal activities:
    • Difficulty with standing or walking due to hip dislocation or hip instability
    • Pain and inflammation on the implant area
    • Deterioration of muscle due to lack of physical activity
  2. Serious adverse events:
    • Metallosis or metal poisoning, which is caused by the accumulation of metal debris in the body’s soft tissues
    • Necrosis – bone and tissue death due to metallosis
    • Osteolysis –dissolution of bones or bone loss due to metallosis
    • Systemic metallosis –inflammation of the whole body due to presence of metal ions
    • Pseudotumors – development of tumor-like deposits around affected joints
    • Bone fracture – weakening of bones around hip implant resulting to their breakage

The high failure rates in its hip implants plus the new UK joint registry data, which indicate revision rates within 5 years on about 13 percent of all MoM DePuy systems implanted in patients, has made DePuy voluntarily recall its ASR XL Acetabular MoM hip replacement system on August 24, 2010. While this voluntary recall might have been a good move to save others from harm, it is a move too late for the hundreds of thousands of patients (in the US alone) who have already received the implant.

Defective medical devices make up only a small percentage of the frightening realities that continue to rock the medical field. While patients who are harmed because of the carelessness or negligence of certain individuals or parties have the legal right to pursue justice and seek compensation for all the damages they have been made to suffer, understanding first what the problem really is would be a big help in knowing what legal move to take. In the case of DePuy hip replacement system, visiting the web address: www.williamskherkher.com/houston-personal-injury/ will allow victims know and understand the problem they may be caught in as well as their legal stance.

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