Cerebral Palsy Lawyers Representing the Black Community

Cerebral Palsy, commonly known as CP, is a neurological disorder that is caused by a brain injury or malformation. CP affects muscle coordination and strength, and can also cause intellectual, hearing and visual impairments. According to the CDC, it is the most common motor impairment found in children, at a rate of about 1 in every 323 children. 

While CP is a diverse condition that can impact families from all walks of life, there are numerous studies indicating that Black children are more prone to cerebral palsy than their white counterparts. Added to that, Black children are also less likely to be appropriately diagnosed, leading to numerous negative consequences that can affect their future. 

Why are Black Infants at Higher Risk of Cerebral Palsy?

One explanation often given for the high rate of CP in the Black community is the increased prevalence of premature or low birth weight babies born to Black mothers. Low birth weight in Black infants is a much discussed topic, and it is believed that racism and discrimination play a large role in their proliferation. Racism and discrimination cause stress, and researchers are beginning to learn more about how deep the impacts of stress on a pregnancy can be. 

When Black infants are diagnosed with CP, they also tend to experience more severe symptoms than white infants from similar backgrounds. This could be linked to the fact that CP is mis- or underdiagnosed in the Black community.

Causes of Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy can be caused by numerous factors, including:

  • Lack of oxygen, leading to brain cell death
  • Trauma in the womb, or during birth
  • Malformation of the brain in the womb

While CP often occurs naturally, there are some situations in which the attending doctor or hospital staff could have prevented it from occurring. 

When to Suspect Negligence or Discrimination

You may suspect medical malpractice or negligence was a factor for several reasons:

  • Fetal distress: When a doctor fails to recognize or diagnose fetal distress during pregnancy or labor, they put the infant at risk of developing CP
  • Failure to perform a C-section: If a C-section becomes medically necessary, but a doctor proceeds with a vaginal birth, they are putting both the mother and child’s lives at risk
  • Infections during pregnancy: When a doctor fails to diagnose or treat an infection such as toxoplasmosis, rubella, or herpes, during a pregnancy, the infant is at increased risk of CP. Black mothers experience “weathering” due to stress-induced wear on their bodies, which increases their susceptibility to infection, and frequently have their pain or symptoms dismissed by physicians
  • Failure to properly diagnose CP: If a medical provider delays or misdiagnoses CP in a child, this can postpone proper treatment and lead to further issues later in the child’s life

 Of course, most doctors will do everything to ensure the health and safety of their patients. But when mistakes are made due to negligence, they can lead to issues that affect families for the rest of their lives. 

When to Consult with a Lawyer Experienced in Discrimination

Lee Merritt, Esq. is a longtime leader and influential voice in the fight for Social Justice, representing high-profile civil rights cases like that of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man recently shot and killed while jogging in Georgia. 

 A dedicated civil rights activist and trial attorney, Mr. Merritt runs a distinguished national practice focusing on victims of police brutality, hate crimes and corporate discrimination. As an activist, he has championed police reform and community empowerment. His office has led the way to reform in Texas, a state notorious for its failure to prosecute police officers, successfully advocating for the first murder indictments of officers in the state in over 40 years.

There are many more battles to fight on behalf of the 22 percent of Black women who report discrimination in their medical care. For a free consultation please fill out our form, write [email protected] or call us directly at 1-800-590-4116.

About S. Lee Merritt

Civil Rights Lawyer

Lee Merritt, Esq. is emerging as a leading and influential new voice in the fight for Social Justice. A dedicated civil rights activist and trial attorney, Merritt runs a high profile national practice focusing on victims of police brutality, hate crimes and corporate discrimination. As an activist, he has championed police reform and community empowerment. 

Do you need more information or want to help? 

Our organization can help mothers and their families who have faced medical issues during pregnancy learn about the resources available to them, as well as learn about what action they may be able to take legally due to discriminatory health practices.  Contact us below by email or phone and our team can learn more about your situation and give you free and friendly advice.

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