Living with the Devastating Effects of Cerebral Palsy

It would have been hard to miss the news clip of Pope Francis stopping his motorcade in order to bless a young child with cerebral palsy while he was visiting the United States.

Today, the Washington Post published a heart-rending article about the “story behind the story”. WaPo reporter Julie Zauzmer did an excellent job going behind the scenes and into the home of this ten-year-old boy and his family, all of whom struggle to cope with the devastating effects of cerebral palsy.

Here’s an excerpt: “The Keatings count the surgeries — one to insert Michael’s feeding-tube port and one for the pump that dispenses a muscle relaxer inside him, one to put a rod in his spine, then one to put steel plates in his hips. They list the doctors they must visit regularly — the neurologist for Michael’s seizures, the urologist for his semiannual kidney scan, the gastrointestinal specialist to calibrate what goes into his feeding tube.

They number, too, all the times they are at a loss to comfort their other two children when their brother is in danger or in pain: Katie, who flicks her long blond curls toward Michael when she gets out of the shower because she knows the water will make him giggle; and Chris, who is slight and wiry and dark-haired like his twin, but wears scuffed sneakers while Michael’s are spotless neon blue, the shoes of a child who will never run outdoors.”
As a medical malpractice trial lawyer, I’ve witnessed similar heartbreak and pain. Yet, I’ve also witnessed the courage and heroism of family’s that care for and love a child suffering from cerebral palsy. I am proud and honored to have represented families like the Keatings and I look forward to the day when there will be no more cerebral palsy affecting our most precious ones.