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Cortical blindness, also known as Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI), is an impaired visual response that occurs because there’s a neurological issue that impacts the visual part of a baby’s brain. It’s the leading cause of permanent visual impairment in children, though it can be temporary as well. A child may have a normal eye exam or a condition that can’t account for the abnormal visual behavior that is occurring. The term “blindness” is not entirely accurate, because children with CVI typically have some of their vision and it could improve over time.
The way vision normally functions is the eyes will take a photograph of something, and the message will be sent to the brain through the optic nerves. The brain will then distinguish the image and integrate it with sensory messages such as smell, taste, hearing, and touch. The brain will respond to this and send a motor response to the part of the body that needs to work in the moment. With CVI, the eye will take a picture of something and send it to the brain, but the message will not be appropriately processed or integrated since there’s abnormal brain function going on.
A number of factors may cause CVI, including a traumatic brain injury, epilepsy, hydrocephalus, metabolic disorders, infection, periventricular leukomalacia, decreased blood supply, and hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). A birth injury that caused brain damage could result in a baby being diagnosed with CVI. Other causes include antenatal drug use by the mother, twin pregnancy, cardiac arrest, and central nervous system developmental defects.
Symptoms of Cortical Blindness
If your baby is exhibiting any of these symptoms, then they may have CVI:
- Delayed visual response
- Distance vision is impaired
- Non-purposeful gazing
- Impaired visually guided reach
- Preference for familiar objects
- Abnormalities with visual field
- Difficulty with complex visual environments
- Distinct color preference
- Fatiguing from visual tasks
A doctor will be able to diagnose your baby with CVI. They will run tests and eye examinations to check your child’s vision response. They may also do an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and an evaluation to see how your child is functioning.
Treatment for Cortical Blindness
With treatment, cortical blindness may improve. There are a number of therapies that could be beneficial to children. Occupational therapy will help them with completing their daily tasks, and they may move and touch objects around them to stimulate the brain using physical therapy. Visual stimulation therapy could reconnect the pathways between the brain and the eyes, and speech therapy might be critical if CVI impacts a child’s language, speech, feeding, and swallowing. Art and music therapy could also stimulate the senses and prove to be very beneficial to children with CVI. Parents of children with CVI should take note of any behaviors or changes that occur between each visit with a therapist.
How Do I Know if Medical Malpractice Caused Cortical Blindness?
Sometimes cortical blindness is preventable and sometimes it is not. Typically, doctors will use their medical knowledge and expertise to deliver the best outcome possible when you’re pregnant or in labor. However, it is possible that your doctor was negligent and did not take the right steps to prevent CVI from occurring in your child.
If complications happened while you were pregnant or in labor, or your doctor did not properly care for your baby after birth, then medical malpractice may have been a factor in your baby being diagnosed with cortical blindness. For instance, if your baby lost oxygen or blood and experienced brain damage or another type of injury that led to CVI, then your doctor may be responsible. Perhaps they:
- Did not properly monitor you and/or your baby during pregnancy, labor, or after birth
- Did not give you proper medical guidance at some point
- Failed to give you a C-section when you needed one
- Delayed a C-section until it was too late
It’s difficult to prove medical malpractice, especially without the help of an experienced birth injury lawyer. Once you get in touch with a lawyer, they can let you know if medical malpractice may have been to blame for the cortical blindness your baby is experiencing.
How Much Will I Receive From a Cortical Blindness Settlement?
If you’re able to prove that medical malpractice did occur, then you could receive damages for:
- Medical bills
- Loss of companionship and enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Future medical care
- Loss of earning capacity
The amount of your noneconomic and economic damages will depend on how severe the CVI is and what kind of effects it will have on your child’s life. If your child has traumatic brain injury and CVI, then they may have lifelong medical issues and could need further treatment like medications and surgeries in addition to physical, occupational, and other types of therapies. If they need a full-time caregiver, medical equipment, or any long-term help, then your settlement could be higher. If you win, you’ll have the compensation you need to pay for current and future medical care.
Settlement Offers in a Cortical Blindness Case
When you reach out to a birth injury lawyer, they will ask you for any evidence of medical malpractice you’ve collected. This could include photographs of your baby’s injuries, statements from other doctors, witness statements from people who saw what happened, and your baby’s medical records. If the evidence is strong and it’s clear that your doctor’s negligence caused your baby’s CVI, then you could get a settlement to cover your expenses.
One thing to note is that proving medical malpractice is tough. The legal system makes you jump through hoops to get a case through because they don’t want people suing doctors left and right. Then, nobody would want to become a doctor. Though the bar is high, your lawyer will let you know right away if your case is valid and you could possibly receive a settlement.
Why Contact a Birth Injury Lawyer?
At this moment, you have to take care of your baby, your family, and yourself. You don’t have the time or energy to get involved in a lawsuit. However, you can’t afford all these medical bills and you think it’s unfair that you have to pay for your doctor’s mistake. A birth injury lawyer will work hard to get you the settlement you deserve so you can have some much needed peace of mind.
Cortical Blindness Birth Injury Attorneys
If you believe medical malpractice caused your baby’s cortical blindness, then call Gilman & Bedigian today. We’re ready to help you with your case.
Contact Gilman & Bedigian 24/7 for a free consultation at (800) 529-6162.