The governor’s office has received thousands of phone calls, letters, and e-mails about House Bill 7069, and the volume is about three-to-one against the measure’s highly controversial voucher provision.

If enacted, House Bill 7069 would increase homeschool voucher funding for parents of children with cerebral palsy and other disabilities by about $30 million. Most of the money would go to the Gardiner Scholarship program, which was established in 2014. In return for scholarship money that enables them to purchase educational supplies, homeschool parents must maintain a portfolio of student work that can be reviewed at any time, administer standardized tests at least once a year, and submit their educational expenses to the state for audit.
H.B. 7069 supporters are mostly homeschool and voucher advocates, while its opponents feel that it siphons money away from public schools and the legislation was crafted in a highly partisan manner.

Cerebral Palsy

This condition nearly always results from a birth injury. Due to hypoxia (lack of oxygen) during delivery, the brain essentially abandons control over the muscles in order to save vital organs from being oxygen-starved. Often, the baby is lodged in the mother’s birth canal but the umbilical cord keeps dropping. The cord causes pressure on the baby’s neck, which causes the blood’s oxygen level to drop.

In these shoulder dystocia cases, brain damage begins in as little as five minutes of partial oxygen starvation. The symptoms depend greatly on the length of the shoulder dystocia, and seconds count.

  • The brain begins by shutting down fine motor skills, so CP infants cannot grasp objects and often feel either floppy or rigid when picked up. Later in life, these children may be unable to tie their shoes or hold cutlery. While the former is little more than annoying, the latter is seriously life-changing, because the children normally require either special diets or feeding tubes.
  • Paraplegia usually comes next, and depending on the degree of loss, CP victims may lose most or all function in one, two, three, or four of their limbs.
  • Many CP victims also suffer from either moderate or severe developmental delays, as brain functions are usually the last thing to shut down before the internal organs.

CP is not a degenerative condition, so it never becomes worse. Through surgery and extensive physical therapy, many patients show at least some improvement. Furthermore, some emerging therapies and surgeries may one day make it possible for doctors to regenerate dead brain cells and thus reverse at least some of the effects of this disease.

Contact Experienced Attorneys

Birth injuries have lifelong effects. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Brandon, contact Reed & Reed.

From our office in Brandon, Reed & Reed helps clients in Tampa, New Tampa, Plant City, East Hillsborough County and throughout the state of Florida.