Child Sexual Abuse – Holding Predators Accountable

Sexual assaults on children often go undiscovered and unreported until long after the applicable statute of limitations has expired. Pedophiles and pederasts are masters of manipulation and sometimes the child does not even know that what has happened to them is wrong.

The perpetrators of child sexual abuse try to shroud their sins until it is too late for the parents of the child to take legal action. Perpetrators usually enjoy a position of trust and authority and use their position to hide the evidence of their wrongdoing. Examples of settings within which such abuse takes place:

  • Churches (clergy sexually abusing children in their church)
  • Schools (teachers sexually abusing children in their classes)
  • Sports Teams (coaches sexually abusing children on their teams)
  • Doctors/Hospitals (doctors/nurses sexually abusing children under their care)
  • Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts (scoutmasters/troop Leaders sexually abusing children in their pack/troop)
  • Day Care Centers (child care providers sexually abusing children they care for)
  • Homes (relatives sexually abusing children)

This report describes how one such predator, a pediatrician who sexually abused child patients, abused scores of children before getting caught –

Child sex abuse is disturbingly common. The younger the child the less likely the abuse will be reported. Parents who do discover signs of abuse may feel they lack the power or resources to do anything about it. The perpetrator may be someone the parents knew and trusted. It may be a close relative.

Reporting sex abuse to the police does not always result in justice for your child. Sometimes civil litigation against a sex offender is an additional way to punish and deter the abuser from harming more children and to recover money to pay for the help you and your child need.

Deciding whether to bring a civil claim against the person who sexually abused your child is not easy. Much thought goes into such a decision. Getting counsel from an attorney about your legal options may be a good place to start. If your loved one has suffered at the hands of a sexual predator and you are struggling with what you can do, please call me. A legal claim may provide much needed compensation to pay for medical treatment and counseling for you and your child.

Childbirth Injury – Shoulder Dystocia

Shoulder Dystocia is a medical emergency that your doctor or midwife must manage by following the proper sequence of obstetrical maneuvers. It occurs when the baby’s head is delivered but the shoulders get stuck inside the mother’s body.

Serious injury or death can be the result if proper steps and proper sequencing are not observed. Failure to properly manage this medical emergency can result in damage to the brachial plexus nerves and lead to the following permanent injuries:

  • Klumpke Paralysis (or Klumpke Palsy) – your baby may have a “claw hand” due to the paralysis of the muscles of the forearm and hand.
  • Erb’s Palsy – paralysis of the arm which may lead to stunted growth and cause that arm to be smaller than your baby’s other arm. Your baby may not be able to move the effected arm and surgery may be necessary in order to regain use of that arm.
  • Fetal Hypoxia – Your baby does not get enough oxygen during delivery. This can lead to cerebral palsy or death.

This trial exhibit video shows what can happen to baby if your doctor of midwife fails to properly manage Shoulder Dystocia –

Your doctor or midwife should have been trained in managing this medical emergency. If you suspect they were not properly trained or failed to follow their training and your baby was injured or dies, call me to discuss your legal options.

Injury to Child – Sepsis and Brain, Kidney, Lung, & Heart Damage

Sepsis, severe sepsis, and septic shock are life-threatening conditions that occur when your child’s body responds to an infection by beginning to break down tissues and organs.

Sepsis is a toxic response to an infection. The immune system, instead of protecting your child’s body, attacks it. With sepsis the body’s immune system over-reacts to the presence of bacteria and produces molecules that damage the organs.

If sepsis is not diagnosed right away and a full course of antibiotics is not given, the bacteria will spread. If the infection is not controlled bacteria can spread to your child’s central nervous system and cause irreversible damage to the baby’s brain. Irreversible damage to other organs such as the kidneys, lungs, and heart, can also occur. Bacteria can also infect the spinal cord, resulting in spinal meningitis.

This trial exhibit video illustrates what can happen to a young baby if a doctor fails to diagnose and properly treat Sepsis –

As of 2011, Sepsis is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. The very young are at a higher risk of Sepsis (as are the elderly and anyone with a compromised immune system).

Injury and death from Sepsis is preventable IF your doctor recognizes it is a true medical emergency and starts antibiotics right away.

In this video a doctor tells the story of a Janice, an 11 month old baby, who was severely scalded and had to undergo surgery to address the burns. While in the hospital she developed serious complications from Sepsis.

The video below, produced by the Sepsis Alliance (advocates for encouraging doctors and hospitals to treat Sepsis like the true medical emergency that it is), tells the story of a Georgia dentist’s daughter whose life could have been saved if her doctor had not failed to diagnose Sepsis –

If your loved one is injured or died due to Sepsis and you suspect the doctor or hospital did not diagnosis it early enough or failed to treat it properly and you need to talk, you can contact me here or here or here.

Childbirth Injury – Prolapsed Cord

A prolapsed umbilical cord can result in a reduction or complete stop of blood flow to your baby and lead to brain injury or death. It is the responsibility of your doctor or midwife to manage a prolapsed cord immediately.

If the prolapsed cord can be managed quickly (by moving the baby away from the cord or delivering the baby quickly or if necessary by caesarean section) there will be no permanent injury. The longer the delay, however, the greater the chance your baby will suffer a brain injury or die.

Proper management of a prolapsed cord is critical to prevent permanent harm to your baby. If you believe your doctor or midwife failed to properly manage a prolapsed cord, call me to discuss your legal options.

Here is a trial exhibit video that explains the effects on your baby of a prolapsed cord –

Child Injury – Fall at Day Care – Failure to Keep Playground Surfacing Well-Maintained

According to the US Consumer Safety Product Commission safe playground surfaces should have at least 12 inches of wood chips, mulch, sand, or pea gravel or the ground should be covered with mats of rubber or similar material.

Children can be seriously hurt or killed from falls on playgrounds. If your child was injured or died because a day care center was negligent by failing to keep the playground surface well-maintained with safe materials, let’s talk about your legal options.

The primary focus of my representation is seeking just compensation for the victims of preventable injuries. Another motivation in bringing a claim against a day care center is that a lawsuit may be the only action that makes them get serious about their duties. Getting the right surfacing installed could save another child from getting injured and save another family from going through what you are going through.

Watch a Mom talk about the child safety practices at her day care center, including the rubber mat playground surface –

Car Accident – Placental Abruption

Also called abruptio placenta or placenta abruptio, abruption  (breaking away or off) of the placenta can be harmful to the mother and baby and in rare cases even lead to death.

The placenta is a temporary organ that connects the mother and baby in a life-giving embrace. Through it the mother supplies her unborn child with oxygen and food and the baby is able to release carbon dioxide and waste. The placenta is your baby’s life support system until birth.

Normally the placenta stays attached to the inside of the uterus until after baby has been born. The majority of the placenta must stay attached to the uterus or your baby will not receive enough blood, oxygen and nutrition and could die.

Here is a trial exhibit video that gives an idea of what a partial placental abruption might look like –

Injury to your uterus (commonly a car accident or fall) can cause this emergency condition. If your baby was harmed in this way, you may want to evaluate your legal options.

Call my office to speak to me if you need more information or help.

Contact Attorney Pete Pearson

Childbirth Injury – Hypoxic-Anoxic Brain Injury

Fetal Monitoring during labor is commonly performed in all hospitals and is in part used to detect hypoxia during labor that could cause your baby to suffer a brain injury. If your infant suffers a reduced oxygen supply to the brain (cerebral hypoxia) or complete oxygen deprivation (cerebral anoxia) a hypoxic/anoxic brain injury could be the tragic result.

Because of these dangers it is imperative that both mom and baby are continually monitored during active labor. If continuous and proper monitoring is not performed and your baby is injured, you may have a medical negligence case.

When there is birth malpractice and your baby has a brain injury the fetal monitoring strips become vital evidence. They can help your attorney pinpoint when your baby went into distress and establish what steps the nurse or doctor responsible for your baby’s care should have taken to address the problem.

Here is an example of how we can use the fetal monitoring strips to show an insurance company or a jury what went wrong. This is from a fetal heart monitor animation used by another lawyer in a case involving a prolapsed umbilical cord –

Here is a video that will orient you to the basics of fetal heart monitoring (the presenter calls it fetal heart tracings, which is the same thing) –

Over 100,000 Motorists Every Day Pass A Stopped School Bus?

According to this, over 100,000 motorists each day pass a stopped school bus:

Really? Are drivers so frantic to get to work (or wherever) that they don’t think it’s worth it to stop for children? How can it be that so many drivers think they can get away with ignoring basic safety rules? It ought not to be.

Another danger for children is getting run over by their own school bus. When safe crossing practices are not strictly enforced young children get hurt and sometimes killed.

I think the larger issues have to do with a culture in love with it’s own speed. Rush to work. Rush back home. Our little ones are the ones most at risk of injury in a world that rushes them all around.

There is no excuse for passing a stopped school bus. And there is no reason why bus drivers and school districts should be excused for failing to follow safe crossing procedures.

Those who endanger our children need be held accountable. They need serious consequences. And that is where I come in – I create consequences for those who hurt children. That’s why the laws are there and that is why I feel privileged to be an injury attorney.

We need to create a culture of safety for our children. There need to be real consequences for those who break the rules of the road and hurt innocent children. We need to use every tool at our disposal to create a safer environment on our roads for the sake of our children.

I love to work for families of injured children – no doubt about it. But what I really want is for drivers and school districts to slow down. Our kids need a safer world, one that is more focused on doing what is best for the least among us.

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Attorney Pete Pearson practices law in Atlanta, Georgia and has a special interest in helping families with injured children. He is a father to seven and lives with his wife and children near Atlanta, Georgia. He can be reached directly at Six-Seven-Eight 358-2564 or through his main site, www.petepearsonlaw.com.

 

Hot Water Burns And Your Child

When you put your child in a bath tub at an apartment complex, hotel/motel or housing project, you have a reasonable expectation that the hot water will come out a safe temperature.

The temperature of the hot water that comes out the spigot is controlled by the property manager. As a parent, you are relying on the management to supply you with hot water that is not dangerously hot.

Yet you might be surprised to find out that the property manager has no idea what a safe water temperature is. What can you do?

It’s not a bad idea to ask the property manager what their policy is about how hot the water should be that gets delivered to tenants and guests (it better be 120 degrees Fahrenheit or less). Ask also how they enforce that policy – who checks the thermostats in the boiler/hot water room? How often? Is the boiler room locked and off limits to other tenants/guests? Does your unit have installed an anti-scald device or mixing valve that would prevent excessively hot water from making it to your child?

And if it is too late for your child (they already have scald burns) and those burns are severe, you might want to consider taking your child to Children’s Hospital of Alabama. They have the only pediatric burn center in the Southeast. Here are their Top 5 Tips on how to prevent scald burns among children:

Scald burn prevention ought to be a mandatory part of every property manager’s training. Unfortunately it is not and at times this means innocent children suffer.

If you need help thinking through your legal options with regard to a scald burn, click on my name below and call me or email me at ppearson@dplaw.org. Helping children is my passion.

Attorney Peter Pearson

Law, Love & Injured Kids

This is a photo taken a few weeks ago of Canon, my son. 

Canon Bates Pearson, Age Five

I can not imagine life without Canon. He’s part of me and I love him to pieces. I can not imagine what our family would be without our beautiful little hazel-eyed boy.

Canon’s birth was one of the most frightening experiences of my life. He came early and and he almost did not come at all.

We almost lost him because our little guy’s head was pushing on the umbilical cord and cutting off his oxygen and blood supply. One very scary emergency caesarean section later, we got to greet our little man and mercifully he was no worse for the ordeal.

We are so thankful Canon made it into the world whole and healthy. I’m thankful also for the experience, as hard as it was (most of all for my poor precious bride!). Experiencing his emergency birth was an education for me. How fragile we are! How dependent we are!

Those of us in the legal profession get a lot of negative judgment. Some of it is well-deserved (like all the “lawyer-gone-wild” advertisements that pollute your TV). All that negativity is discouraging some times! But, for what it’s worth, in my opinion the law is a wonderful profession. I love what I do. I feel it is a high privilege to be allowed to do it. Especially when a family entrusts me with caring for the legal needs of an injured loved one. And serving the interests of a child is an extraordinary and high calling, and one I love.

Thank you for reading my little story about Canon and my love for the children in my life!