Archive for April, 2015

Police Brutality: From Missouri to Maryland

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

In early August of 2014, the town of Ferguson, Missouri was rocked after an unarmed 18 year old African American teenager by the name of Michael Brown, was fatally shot by a white police officer. Protests and unrest ensued and every media outlet was present. Debates soon arose about the interactions of police with African Americans and the excessive use of force used by police when dealing with black suspects. Now, less than nine months later and on the east coast, allegations of police brutality are again making news.

For more than a week, protests in Baltimore have made headlines as some of the protests have turned violent and have included looting. The protests arose after a 25-year old black man, named Freddie Gray, died after being taken into police custody. The events surrounding Gray’s death are now part of an ongoing investigation by the Baltimore Police Department. While the investigation is pending, there is some information that is known about the events that led up to Gray’s death.

On the morning of April 12th, police officers were on a block in West Baltimore. Officers saw Gray and went to approach him. According to reports, when Gray spotted police, after being alerted by a third party bystander, he took off running. Two officers on bicycles went after Gray, while a third officer abandoned his bike and ran after Gray. The police did apprehend Gray. A video shot by a witness shows the 5’ 8” 145 pound Gray on the ground, then later being dragged by officers to a police van.

What happened from the time Gray was arrested until the van arrived at the police station are not fully known. When Gray was unloaded from the van, it was reported that he was not able to speak and could not breathe. It was later determined that Gray suffered from a crushed voice box. Police did call paramedics, who spent around 20 minutes treating Gray before he was admitted to the local trauma center. Gray later fell into a coma and passed away about a week after being taken into police custody.

An autopsy has confirmed that Gray suffered a spinal cord injury—which may have occurred during his 30 minute van ride. It has been disclosed that Gray was not fastened into the van—which is a violation of police policy. The purpose of that rule is to prevent officers from the practice of giving a detainee a “rough ride,” where the intent of the officer is to cause harm to the individual in custody by tossing him or her around.

The other big remaining unknown as of now is why Gray was arrested by police in the first place. Meanwhile, six officers associated with Gray’s arrest, including a Sergeant and a Lieutenant, have been put on paid suspension pending the outcome of the investigation.

If you have been the victim of police brutality, or think that a police officer violated your rights, it is important that you seek legal advice right away from a trusted Kansas City Personal Injury Attorney. Only an experienced Kansas City Civil Rights Attorney can thoroughly review the particulars of what happened to you and determine whether you have a case. The experienced Kansas City Civil Rights Attorneys at the Hubbard & Kurtz, L.L.P. have helped numerous clients, in both Kansas and Missouri, seek justice for police brutality and other civil rights violations. Our compassionate team of attorneys are skilled litigators who will diligently pursue your claim. To schedule a free confidential consultation with one of our attorneys, contact our office today at (816) 472-4673.

Kansas City Medical Malpractice Attorneys Answer Frequently Asked Questions about Cerebral Palsy

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

Planning for the arrival of a new baby is an exciting time for most expectant parents. Some folks have compared it to organizing a once in a lifetime dream vacation or feeling like a kid again awaiting for Christmas morning. Any new parent will tell you that the journey was well worth the wait the first time he or she looked into the baby’s eyes for the first time. Parents eagerly count fingers and toes and breathe a sigh of relief when the doctor tells them their baby is perfectly healthy.

Whether a parent is really hoping for a boy or a girl doesn’t really matter at the end of the day; deep down, he or she just wants a child that is healthy. That is why when it is discovered that a newborn has suffered a birth related injury—the news can be heartbreaking. Learning that the hospital or doctor could be responsible for the condition can be downright devastating. One disorder that can be caused by a birth injury is cerebral palsy. The following are some of the most commonly asked questions Kansas City parents have about cerebral palsy:

What is cerebral palsy?

Cerebral palsy refers to various neurological disorders that impair body movement (fine and gross motor skills, posture and balance) and muscle control, coordination and tone. The exact impairments an individual will have to will depend on the type, extent, and timing of the brain injury.

What types of brain damage can cause cerebral palsy?

Four main types of brain injuries are linked to cerebral palsy, including:

  • lack of oxygen to the brain, which causes the brain tissue to be destroyed (Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy or HIE)
  • an injury to the white matter of the infant’s brain (Periventricular leukomalacia or PVL)
  • a hemorrhage inside the brain which causes damage or kills areas of the brain associated with development and motor function (Intraventricular hemorrhage or IVH)
  • an abnormal brain development or brain malformation (Cerebral dysgenesis)

What type of medical errors can cause brain damage?

Various errors on the part of medical professionals can result in an infant having cerebral palsy, including:

  • improper usage of medical instruments during delivery such as forceps and vacuums;
  • failure to appropriately diagnose and/or treat an infection in the mother while pregnant;
  • failure to diagnose a prolapsed umbilical cord;
  • failure to recommend a C-section if the baby is too big for the mother to deliver vaginally or unreasonable delay in performing a medically necessary C-section; and
  • improper monitoring of the fetal heart rate during labor and delivery.

Is Cerebral Palsy always caused my medical malpractice?

No. While cerebral palsy can be caused by medical error, many other cases occur for reasons other than medical error, such as genetics. Therefore, it is completely possible that the medical professionals involved in a woman’s pregnancy, labor and delivery exercised the highest level of care and a brain injury resulting in cerebral palsy still occurred.

Medical malpractice cases that involve birth injuries, like cerebral palsy, are often very complex and involve complicated questions of law and fact. To succeed in proving that your child’s birth related injury was caused by hospital or doctor error, it is vital that you immediately seek out an experienced Kansas City Medical Malpractice Attorney. Only seasoned Kansas City Medical Malpractice Attorneys have the ability to devote the necessary time and attention to detail to ensure that your family receives justice. You can trust the caring and compassionate attorneys to handle your case professionally and efficiently. If your child has suffered a birth related injury contact the attorneys at Hubbard & Kurtz, L.L.P. today at (816) 472-4673 to schedule an initial consultation.