People dealing with medical malpractice predicaments are often confused.  A couple in South Carolina gives birth to a child, with all of the hopes and dreams that are attached to that experience. And, through the fault of a medical team, the baby is born with brain injury that results in cerebral palsy or another disability. In a situation of this sort, the family deserves the compensation that will allow them to care for their child –and to do so without the financial hardships that so many would face under these circumstances. And the child deserves compensation for the medical malpractice that has resulted in his situation.

Our job, at Gershon, Willoughby, Getz & Smith, LLC as doctors and lawyers trained to deal with medical malpractice in South Carolina, is to assist families in these situations.  We assist families who have experienced a devastating medical malpractice situation in receiving the financial recoveries that they are entitled to – and that they need for their future. Our law firm determines if the cerebral palsy is due to a doctor or nurse’s mistake and we can work to create accountability for the terrible, preventable error that has occurred.

Here, we offer a wealth of resources to assist families in South Carolina to deal with their situation when their child is born with or diagnosed with cerebral palsy or another disability as a result of medical malpractice.

Government Assistance for Cerebral Palsy
Since families who have a child with cerebral palsy will need to locate the government-aided resources to help pay for some of the financial burden, below is an initial list of programs that offer help in this area.  As well as governmental assistance, one should also look into help from various community organizations.  Below are just three of the many organizations and programs offering help in South Carolina.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Run by the Social Security Administration (SSA), the Supplementary Security Income (SSI) is one of the most extensive federal benefit programs.  Families on low-incomes and those who are suffering from various disabilities can apply for this assistance, such as cerebral palsy sufferers who would need to apply to the SSA.  In addition, representatives at Social Security offices can help with the application process as well as clarification on information.

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program – provided by the government – was set up in South Carolina to improve the health and safety of children with cerebral palsy, in their homes.  These families receive assistance with paying their utility bills as well as repairs on energy-related devices/equipment, etc.   Often people with cerebral palsy require therapies at home, using energy-zapping equipment, which will increase the overall utility bill in the home. Local state agencies manage the energy assistance programs.

Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)
Similar to the LIHEAP, the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) helps families with cerebral palsy pay utility and energy-related bills, since these are often higher when caring for one with this disability.  Those working with the weatherization service may also assess electrical and heating/cooling systems and appliances to ensure they are running efficiently; help with proper insulation; install weather stripping and more.  The idea is, the greater the efficiency in the home, the lower the utility bill and thus the less assistance the family will require.

Social Services Resources for Children with Cerebral Palsy
There are many social resources available in South Carolina for families facing the challenges of raising a child with cerebral palsy.  Below is a list of some of them:
United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) of South Carolina
Diane Wilush, Executive Director
1101 Harbor Drive
West Columbia, SC 29160
Phone:  803.926.8878
Fax:       803.926.1272

State Department of Education: Special Education

Ora Spann, Director
State Department of Education
Office of Programs for Exceptional Children
1429 Senate Street, Room 808
Columbia, SC 29201
(803) 734-8806

Programs for Children with Disabilities: Ages 3-5

Norma Donaldson-Jenkins, Education Associate
Office of Programs for Exceptional Children
1429 Senate Street, 8th Floor
Columbia, SC 29201
(803) 734-8811

Programs for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities: Ages birth through 2

Kathy Hart, Part H Coordinator
Dept. of Health & Environmental Control/Baby Net
Robert Mills Complex, Box 101106
Columbia, SC 29211
(803) 898-0591

State Disabilities and Special Needs

Stanley J. Butkus, Director
Department of Disabilities & Special Needs
3440 Harden Street Extension, P.O. Box 4706
Columbia, SC 29240
(803) 737-6444

Client Assistance Program

Larry Barker, Director
Office of Governor; Division of Ombudsman & Citizen Svcs
Edgar Brown Bldg., Room 308
1205 Pendelton St.
Columbia, SC 29201
(803) 734-0285; (800) 868-0040 (In SC)
(803) 734-1147 (TTY)