Victoria Upsey was 36 weeks pregnant when she arrived at Pottstown Memorial Medical Center concerned and complaining of the pain and bleeding that are often signs of a detached placenta. She expected competent medical care for herself and her baby. Instead, she received the shocking and erroneous news that her baby was dead. Despite her protests, doctors denied her a surgical delivery, insisting the baby had died.
During a normal pregnancy, the placenta functions as a conduit from the mother’s body to feed and remove waste from the unborn baby. According to the experts at the Mayo Clinic, a detached placenta will prevent the baby from receiving oxygen that is essential to his or her wellbeing. The mother can also be at risk of heavy bleeding when the placenta detaches. A delivery by cesarean section is usually the safest option, promoting the best outcome for mother and baby.
A Mother’s Nightmare
Immediately after Ms. Upsey was admitted to the hospital, fetal monitoring did not give clear information about the baby’s condition. For this reason, the obstetrician who examined her used ultrasound equipment instead. Unfortunately, the ultrasound machine was outdated and improperly maintained. According to records, the machine had not been serviced in 10 years, even though annual maintenance was required.
Unable to obtain a clear image of the fetal heartbeat, the obstetrician made a terrible judgment call. Continue reading
Most people work hard to save up for retirement. Retirees dream of owning a home, perhaps on a beach or farm, where they can live a peaceful existing on the money they earned during their working years. Some retirees are being denied that dream, despite hard work and honest dedication. Through no fault of their own, after struggling with hardships that most workers never experience, retirees with cerebral palsy (CP) are finding their hard work thrown away, just shy of realizing their dreams.
According to CBS Minnesota, Charles Van Heuveln, a recipient of benefits through Minnesota’s incentive program, will soon be forced into retirement so that he can continue to receive the care he needs
. Once he turns 65, he will no longer be eligible for benefits unless his income falls below the poverty threshold. If he wants help paying for his medical expenses, he will have to quit his job. Otherwise, he will be forced to spend his life savings on medical care and spend his retirement in poverty.
People with CP face a life of hardship, and Mr. Van Heaven’s situation is not unique. Such situations illustrate the need for those who suffer CP due to the fault of another to seek compensation for their injuries. Doing so protects them from the poverty that accompanies this costly disorder. Continue reading
Finding Inspiration Instead of Frustration
Being the parent of a child who has cerebral palsy can be riddled with challenges and frustrations, but according to one Indiana mom, it can also be inspirational. Melissa Deuel says she admires the strength of her seven-year-old daughter. Bekka Deuel suffers from cerebral palsy and severe hearing loss, which makes communication difficult. Despite the difficulties she faces every day, Bekka is loving and compassionate, and she works through challenges with a smile.
In 2009, the family traveled to Wisconsin so Bekka could use a hyperbaric chamber, an experimental treatment for cerebral palsy. The chamber allows the user to receive three times the normal amount of oxygen, which increases the blood oxygen level and allows the body to release growth factors and stem cells, fight infection, and heal wounds. According to the Deuel family, Bekka’s treatment with the hyperbaric chamber was effective. As a result, the family would like to purchase a hyperbaric chamber to allow Bekka to have regular treatments. Unfortunately, because the treatments are considered experimental, purchase of a chamber will not be covered by her health insurance. Since the cost of purchasing a hyperbaric chamber can easily reach $20,000, this puts the chamber out of a typical family’s budget.
The Tom and Bryan Foundation
Help for the Deuel Family is coming from an unexpected local organization, the Tom and Bryan Foundation. Continue reading
For most of his life, Brandon Fisher refused to deal with his disability. He thought of it as a nuisance and wanted nothing to do with it. Growing up, Brandon felt like an outcast. He felt awkward because he walked differently, and so he rarely interacted with his classmates. Eventually, however, he desperately wanted to prove he was no different from his peers.
Living with Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is not a single disorder, but a group of neurological disorders that cause difficulty with movement and coordination. The condition can result from damage to a developing brain or from congenital defects. These problems typically happen when a baby is in the womb. They can also appear during the first two years of a child’s life when the brain is still maturing. A common cause of cerebral palsy is an insufficient level of oxygen in the brain, which can occur when mistakes are made during childbirth. Unfortunately, some cases of cerebral palsy have no clear cause.
Along with the symptoms and pain caused by the disorder, many also suffer from depression. Children with cerebral palsy face ridicule and bullying at school, which makes them feel alone. They are also frustrated when faced with reminders that they cannot do the same physical activities as their peers. When Brandon Fisher faced these challenges, he began to engage in risky behavior such as biking down a steep incline only to crash into a wall, just to fit in.
Now 28, Brandon has opened up. Continue reading
Cerebral palsy is a blanket term used for many neurological disorders that can be caused by medical malpractice during labor and childbirth. The condition occurs when the brain does not receive enough oxygen during birth. The resulting lifelong nerve damage makes it difficult for sufferers to control movements. Cerebral palsy is the most common motor disability in children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fortunately, new research shows a potential treatment for the disease.
Causes of Cerebral Palsy
While most cases of cerebral palsy are attributed to defects during fetal development, too many cases result from medical negligence during labor and delivery. A lack of oxygen to the brain caused by a medical mistake during childbirth can permanently damage a child’s life. While cerebral palsy can be caused by actions that were not negligent, some of the most common medical mistakes leading to the condition include a doctor’s failure to:
- Detect or treat infections
- Appropriately monitor the baby and the mother’s heart rates
- Notice a prolapsed umbilical cord
- Properly and efficiently schedule a cesarean section
- Correctly use the vacuum or forceps during delivery
Breakthrough May Help Victims
According to Medicus, an online publication from the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, university scientists working with mice have discovered a way to recreate the myelin coating that covers and protects nerves in the body and brain. Continue reading
Anyone who knows or has met a person with cerebral palsy (CP) is likely to be immediately aware of the challenges faced by those with this condition. Depending on the severity of their disability, a person with mild CP may have an odd gait while serious cases may require a wheelchair. This is because the brain signals that control movement do not work properly, usually due to brain damage during birth or early in a person’s life.
While there is no known cure for CP, Gregg Mozgala, an actor in his 30s with the disability, didn’t let that stop him from learning how to dance. Profiled in the New York Times, Gregg and his choreographer Tamar Rogoff worked on a dance routine for Gregg that dramatically changed Gregg’s body and his ability to move.
Learning to Dance
In the article, Gregg says that even before his dance project, his condition was less severe than most. He could walk after 12 years of physical therapy as a child. However, his posture and gait remained abnormal, and his upper body deformed itself in an attempt to counterbalance the problems with his legs.
The Theater Breaking Through Barriers is a performance group based around bringing together actors with disabilities and those without. Gregg was playing the lead male role in “Romeo and Juliet” when Tamar discovered him. They soon began working together, unsure of what to expect because of Gregg’s CP and Tamar’s ambitions as a choreographer.
It proved to be a great match. Continue reading
Engineers at Rutgers University have adapted Sony’s Playstation 3 video game console to help cerebral palsy (CP) patients improve hand function. Although initial trials were limited to a select few patients, all participants had markedly improved their ability to perform a broad range of daily activities.
Setting Up The Game
Patients used a commercially available gaming glove to control a modified Playstation 3. Custom software was designed to be played with the gaming glove, providing exercise routines to challenge a player’s hand speed, dexterity and finger range of motion.
The First Game: Dexterity Tests
The game testing range of motion begins by having players make a fist and then open their hand as far as possible. The thumb and each finger’s movement was measured and mapped to a pleasing image on the screen, which had been obscured by grey blocks. As a player moved their fingers, the grey areas were removed, revealing parts of the image. Displaying the full image was only possible by increasing their range of motion. A game clock added a sense of urgency, and sound gave their actions audible results, increasing the immersive experience of the game.
The Second Game: Butterflies, UFOs And Mosquitoes! Oh My!
The second game tested finger velocity – how quickly the players could move each finger. Continue reading
The birth of a child is one of the most extraordinary experiences in anyone’s life. The anticipation, fears and concerns build for nine months in preparation for this dramatic event. Sadly, childbirth does not always go smoothly. At times, medical staff can injure the infant during birth by failing to follow safe procedures. This is when the parent’s natural desire to film a blessed event gets in the way of hospital interests. The family video camera could record incriminating evidence of medical negligence that could make or break a lawsuit.
Birth Complications Commonly Lead to Brain Injury
When complications arise during childbirth, the delayed birth often diminishes the supply of blood and oxygen to the brain. This naturally results in injuries such as hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, cerebral palsy or stroke. Other common injuries include facial palsy and brachial plexus injury. It is vital that medical staff follow proper procedures when complications arise to minimize the chance of permanent injury. Taped evidence of such injuries makes hospitals nervous. Continue reading