Around the world, there are 17 million individuals living with cerebral palsy, a disorder that affects a person's ability to move and to maintain posture and balance. It is a disability that starts at the beginning of life, and continues for a lifetime. There is no cure.
As we announced some time ago, throughout the month of September a team of lawyers at Pacific Medical Law is participating in a global fundraising and public awareness initiative for individuals living with cerebral palsy. In response to the "The September Challenge" we have each committed to taking 10,000 steps a day, and raising funds for this very worthy cause.
Pacific Medical Law donated $10,000 to support the Cerebral Palsy Association of British Columbia. These funds will go toward a variety of valuable services including providing bursaries for post-secondary school and summer camp, and supporting two new exciting programs being launched this year: dance and yoga for children with cerebral palsy.
Stephanie Hammerman is a case in point. She became the first certified CrossFit coach with cerebral palsy. In her interview with CNN, she said, "If you would have told me that in a year I would be lifting weights over my head, flipping tires and coaching this sport, I wouldn't have believed you, but this is my reality. As an adaptive athlete and coach, I see and do things differently than most, but that doesn't make my desire to be great any weaker. In CrossFit when the term "RX'd" is used it means an athlete has done something as prescribed. My weights and rep scheme may never be RX, but my effort always will be. If this last year has taught me anything, it's to embrace every challenge that comes your way because you never know when that challenge is going to turn into great opportunity".
Children with cerebral palsy and their families continue to face challenges accessing medical care and services in rural locations. Two families told their story to the Vancouver Sun. Both are in receipt of legal settlements as a result of the medical errors made around the time of their birth. Both families describe their frustration and struggles in accessing the medical care their children need in the northern hometowns.
Paul McGivern was an invited speaker and a panelist at the Birth Trauma Conference organized by CanLNC and held at the Vancouver Pan Pacific hotel on June 7, 2013. Susanne Raab and Natalia Ivolgina also participated in the conference. The conference featured top lawyers in the province practicing in birth trauma litigation and covered topics such as causes of cerebral palsy, standards of fetal monitoring, challenges in proving causation, and recent developments in the Supreme Court of Canada. Paul shared his knowledge in such areas as the use of experts in medical malpractice cases and recent pronouncements from the Supreme Court.
Cerebral Palsy is the most common physical disability for children. These children and their families bravely face many challenges on a daily basis and deserve our support!
On Friday, May 24, 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada delivered a judgment that is of interest to judges and lawyers across the country, and has special significance for one BC family.
Paul McGivern and Susanne Raab were among the team winning the hard-fought battle at the Supreme Court of Canada for an infant with cerebral palsy injured as a result of a failed attempt at a forceps delivery - April 4, 2013 (Full decision available here)