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Children with special needs, including cerebral palsy and other disorders, have a wealth of resources and excellent medical care in Houston. Most babies born in Houston are in quality medical hands.
Yet, mistakes can and will happen, and costly medical errors can lead to a lifetime of expenses and a complete lifestyle change for parents and loved ones. Families who are a victim of medical mistakes shouldn’t have to worry about costs on top of other worries.
Birth injury laws in Houston and the state of Texas have their own set of rules. If you think your child’s cerebral palsy was caused by medical negligence, time is of the essence. In Houston, cerebral palsy lawsuits must be started within two years of the time your child was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
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However, the deadline can be delayed if any issues arise during your child’s ongoing treatments. Children in Texas are allowed to file the lawsuit themselves, according to state law, but it must be done by the time the child reaches 14 years of age.
What Constitutes Medical Negligence in Houston?
Medical negligence and mistakes happen when medical staff, which can include physicians and nurses, fail to act within a reasonable standard of medical care. For example, if a doctor fails to check up on fetal monitorings properly and doesn’t realize the infant is in distress, this can lead to a host of serious issues. The baby could lose oxygen, which in turn could cause brain damage, leading to cerebral palsy.
Another form of medical negligence, although considered rare in today’s medical world, is the improper use of birth-assisting tools. In one such Texas case, a family won their cerebral palsy lawsuit after a physician crushed a little girl’s head while using forceps during delivery.
Baby Olivia’s Lawsuit
Sadly, not all children survive medical mistakes. Although the good news is that death due to medical negligence is rare, it didn’t take the pain away from a family who lost their infant girl in 2014.
The day after Christmas in 2013, Rachel Melancon checked into the Medical Center of Southeast Texas after going into labor. Rachel had a healthy pregnancy and didn’t expect anything except a joyous occasion to bringing her baby daughter into the world. Yet, things went wrong when Dr. George Backardjieve decided to use forceps to deliver baby Olivia. 
The doctor, in an attempt to pull Olivia out during delivery, ended up crushing the infant’s head and destroying her spine. The baby was subsequently rushed to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, but she passed away five days later.
“We had plans. We had plans. We definitely wanted a little girl. We got a little girl,” Rachel told 12 News.
Olivia’s parents filed a lawsuit against the hospital and the delivering physician. While investigating, the family’s lawyers discovered that not only had the doctor misused forceps, but he also gave Rachel the labor-inducing drug, Pitocin, even though Olivia had an abnormal heartbeat.
When the trial concluded in 2013, the jury awarded the family close to $10.3 million in damages. The jury also awarded an additional $200,000 to the mother for pain and suffering.
In other cases, when babies survive an incident after a physician misuses birth-assisting, they have a higher rate of developing cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy occurs typically when an infant develops brain damage.
When physicians use birth-assisting tools, such as forceps and vacuum extraction tools, there is a risk of numerous injuries if these tools are not used correctly. Signs of improper birthing tools usage include:
- Misshapen infant head (keep in mind this can also happen naturally during the birthing process)
- Infant bruising
- Infant lethargy and weakness
If you feel your child was injured due to medical mistakes, keep in mind that an experienced and compassionate Houston cerebral palsy lawyer can help you get the justice you deserve. No parent should have to foot overwhelming medical and care expenses alone if a child is injured by the very professionals who should have kept them safe.
Medical Help and Resources in Houston
Cerebral Palsy Clinic at Texas Children’s Hospital
The Cerebral Palsy Clinic at Texas Children’s Hospital provides an array of services and treatment options for children with the disorder. According to its official website, the clinic provides not only treatment options for cerebral palsy, but also associated conditions, including “developmental and learning problems, difficulties with coordination, positioning and mobility as well as seizures.” 
6621 Fannin Street
Houston, Texas 77030
Texas Comprehensive Spasticity Center
Part of the Texas Children’s Hospital, the Texas Comprehensive Spasticity Center’s Houston location, has numerous medical specialists to help develop a comprehensive treatment plan for your child. Medical professionals include a pediatric neurologist and “three pediatric neurosurgeons, pediatric orthopedists, and a pediatric physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist,” according to the center’s website. 
The center also has a clinical trial program manager, physical and occupational therapists, and numerous medical and physician assistants.
6621 Fannin Street
Houston, Texas 77030
Shriners Hospital for Children – Houston Location
The Shriners Hospital for Children in Houston offers “specialists with pediatric expertise” in numerous specialties, who all have the goal of helping children with disabilities with non-operative and operative orthopedics treatment. 
Houston, TX 77030
- Holmes, V. (2016, August 16). Baby Olivia: Timeline to a tragedy. KBMT.
Retrieved from: https://www.12newsnow.com/article/news/local/baby-olivia-timeline-to-a-tragedy/299924318
- Cerebral palsy clinic. (n.d.). Texas Children's Hospital.
Retrieved from: https://www.texaschildrens.org/departments/cerebral-palsy-clinic
- Texas Comprehensive Spasticity Center. (2018, November 16). Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital.
Retrieved from: http://childrens.memorialhermann.org/services/neurological/texas-comprehensive-spasticity-center/
- Shriners Hospitals for Children — Houston. (n.d.). Children's Hospital | Shriners Hospitals for Children.
Retrieved from: https://www.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org/houston/orthopaedics