p>Twenty six and a half million dollars doesn’t go far when caring for a child with Cerebral Palsy.

In one of the largest awards ever rendered by a Massachusetts jury, a Suffolk County court awarded $26.5M to a family who sued two obstetricians at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, reported the Boston Herald. The medical malpractice suit was filed in Suffolk County in 2003.

Family Waited Four Years for Settlement

Maria and Jose Bejarano of Brockton claimed delays in delivery caused permanent brain damage to their son, Jose, Jr., now 10. They wonder why a Cesearian section was never performed. “The family wanted answers,” attorney Florence Carey said. “They never got an answer as to what happened.”

If money talks, they do now.

Despite the verdict, the hospital retained both docotrs. “The hospital is “shocked and saddened” by the verdict, according to a statement. “These gifted obstetricians consistently provide all their patients the highest standards of care, just as they did in this case.”

According to Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, Cerebral Palsy (CP) is the second-most expensive, developmental disability to manage -- mental retardation is first -- with an average lifetime cost of $100,000.

Exact Cause of Cerebral Palsy Varies

“Cerebral Paralysis," as it was known almost 150 years ago, was identified by English surgeon William Little in 1860. Dr. Little surmised asphyxia during birth was a chief cause of the disorder. Nearly 40 years later, Sigmund Freud said a difficult birth was not the cause but rather only a symptom of other effects on the fetus. Research in the 1980s showed asphyxia accounted for 10 percent of CP cases, whereas infections in the mother tripled the risk of CP.

Between 40% and 50% of children who have CP were born prematurely. With underdeveloped organs, a baby’s risk of asphyxia and other brain trauma increases, reported the web site.

The Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia said there isn’t a cure but only treatments for CP. Health care includes physical therapy, braces, eyeglasses, hearing aids, medications and special education. Muscle relaxants are prescribed to reduce tremors and anticonvulsants are given to reduce the chance of seizures.

Occasionally, surgery is necessary to ease joint contractures. Surgery also is needed for insertion of a feeding tube to provide nutrition and control gastro esophageal reflux.

A misconception is that CP sufferers aren’t smart. Just the opposite is true. In CP, the brain section controlling movement is damaged but the brain area defining intelligence is unaffected.