Boy Without Cerebellum Forges On, Stymieing Doctors


Posted on 13th February 2011 by gjohnson in Uncategorized


Chase Britton had a premature birth, and was legally blind. When he turned one year old, doctors performed an MRI on him to confirm their suspicions: That he had cerebral palsy.

Instead, physicians were rather astounded by their findings. Chase is missing two crucial parts of his brain, a saga that is described in a recent AOL story headlined “Boy Without A Cerebellum Baffles Doctors.”

As it turns out, Chase not only doesn’t have a cerebellum, the portion of the brain that governs motor skills, balance and emotion. He is also missing the pons, the part of the brain that governs breathing and sleeping.

Chase’s case has especially stymied doctors because there are ultrasound pictures of his brain when he was still in the womb, and those pictures show that at one point he had a cerebellum, according to AOL. Yet there is no evidence that Chase suffered a brain bleed or hemorrhage that would have lead to the cerebellum’s disappearance. 

Despite his abnormal brain, Chase found a way to balance and sit up on his own, and to crawl. He is onto his next step, learning to walk. He even plays with an iPad, according to AOL.

Chase is now three years old, and his parents Heather and David Britton feel blessed to have him. And doctors still haven’t figured out how is able to do what he is doing. 


Doctor Lawmaker Pushing Malpractice Caps Paid Toward $500,000 Settlement


Posted on 9th February 2011 by gjohnson in Uncategorized


Is it a potential conflict of interest for a lawmaker, a retired doctor, to push for legislation limiting malpractice awards when he himself was involved in the settlement of such a case for $500,000? Maybe not technically, but it doesn’t seem quite kosher.

The New York Times Wednesday did a story about Rep. Phil Gingrey of Georgia, a retired obstetrician, who has introducd a number of versions of a malpractice reform bill. 

As it turns out, according to The Times, Gingrey was one of  several doctors named in a lawsuit filed by a pregnant woman. The suit alleged that  Gingrey and two fellow doctors failed to realise that the woman had appendicitis. When her appendix burst the woman not only lost her fetus but also suffered a stroke.

The malpractice suit, which had been reinstated after being dismissed at a trial. was settled in 2007.

Gingrey’s office gave The Times a prepared statement about the settlement, saying that the parties in the case agreed to settle because they want to deal with the cost, time, commitment and stress of a second trial.          

The bill that Gingrey is backing would collar damages for pain and suffering in malpractice cases at $250,000. It would also limit the fees that attorneys could collect for handling a patient’s case and it would offer alternatives to litigation to resolve malpractice suits.

In his statement Gingrey defended the malpractice legislation, saying that it will stop third-parties, such as attorneys,  from from collecting big fees at the expense of patients who are suing.

It seems to me that capping malpractice awards and attorneys’ fee will discourage talented lawyers from representing patients in such  cases. And then it follows that these patients won’t be getting the benefit of the best counsel around .

Judge Declares Suit By Nursing Home Residents With Cerebral Palsy A Class Action Case


Posted on 4th February 2011 by gjohnson in Uncategorized


A federal judge in Maine has granted class-action status to a lawsuit involving nursing home residents with cerebral palsy, epilepsy and other ailments that want to live outside those facilities, according to the Associated Press.

Earlier this week U.S. District Court Judge John Woodcock gave the class-action designation to a suit lodged by three men with cerebral palsy who want to live on their own but still receive services from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.

That lawsuit, filed in December 2009, claims that Maine was  in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Nursing Home Reform Act for not letting the three men reside outside nursing homes.

Judge Woodcock ruled that 40 nursing home residents with cerebral palsy and other conditions can join in the 2009 lawsuit.