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Family denied insurance claim for child born with cerebral palsy

Understandably, expecting parents want their child's birth to happen without any hitches or complications. Desiring to be a good parent is enough for North Carolina residents to worry about at birth. Yet a preventable medical error during labor can turn a new parent's world upside down. In addition to medical expenses, such errors can cause a lot stress and grief for families.

When preventable birth injuries occur, many families decide to take legal action against the negligent medical providers. Not only does this action send a signal to medical professionals to provide the highest level of care, but a favorable judgment can help families work through the trying months and years after a medical error occurs.

Specifically, cerebral palsy is a condition that develops when an infant is deprived of oxygen during birth. In many cases, this type of birth injury can be prevented if doctors carefully monitor the baby's condition and act accordingly. If a child is born with cerebral palsy, they will have difficulty with motor control and body movement for the rest of their lives.

One young boy's family discovered the long-term effects and financial strain associated with cerebral palsy rather quickly. The 2-year-old boy cannot walk, nor can he sit up without assistance. For quite some time, his parents carried him around, but he eventually became too heavy. At that point, the boy's doctor prescribed a wheelchair that would cost about $5,000.

When the family submitted a claim to their medical insurance company, one of the nation's largest providers, the agency denied their claim and suggested that the boy use a cane instead. According to the insurer, the wheelchair was not a medical necessity, which is a direct contradiction of the doctor's opinion.

After trying to negotiate with the insurance company to prove that their son could not move around without a wheelchair, the family became so frustrated that they called a local news outlet. When reporters contacted the insurance company, they suddenly decided to approve the pending claim.

This story shows the kind of unnecessary difficulties families affected by birth injuries may experience. By seeking justice for their child, a family can obtain the kind of support they need to ensure that their kid receives the medical treatments necessary to thrive.

Source: The Consumerist, "Anthem BCBS Decides Boy Who Can't Sit Up On His Own Doesn't Need A Wheelchair," Chris Morran, June 13, 2012

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