Cerebral palsy, CP, is a disorder that impacts muscle movement, muscle tone, and brain function. According to the United Cerebral Palsy Foundation (UCP), about 800,000 people in the United States have cerebral palsy. This number includes both children and adults. Cerebral palsy is a very serious condition that has no known cure. There are some treatments that can be helpful for some. There are many CP symptoms which may range from mild to severe.
Causes of Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy typically occurs either during a baby’s development before birth or due to a complication during labor or delivery. CP is triggered by a disruption or abnormality in brain development, however, there is still much for doctors to learn about it. An infection of the mother or fetus during development could cause the onset of CP. A fetal stroke is also thought to be a possible cause. During labor or delivery a lack of oxygen to the brain, called asphyxia, could cause CP. A traumatic head injury to the infant during birth or shortly thereafter could also trigger CP.
Birth Complications Could Cause CP
Cerebral palsy could be caused by a mistake made during labor or delivery. Complications arise that could cause serious injuries to the infant. The baby could be oxygen deprived because of a delayed or difficult labor. The doctor may need to utilize instruments such as forceps or a vacuum to assist in the birth and the improper use of these could cause injury to the baby. If a doctor was negligent when delivering the baby it may be a case of medical malpractice.
Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy
Sometimes the signs of CP are apparent immediately after birth while other times the symptoms are not revealed until the child begins to develop. Those with severe CP may have limp limbs or neck, a droopy eye, or may have tremors. Other symptoms include drooling or difficulty swallowing, slow movements, and stiff muscles. As children develop they may have delayed development in both speech and motor skills. They may have problems trying to crawl or walk and they are usually behind in the major milestones of development. Sometimes one side of the body is primarily affected. For children with mostly brain developmental difficulties, cerebral palsy may not be diagnosed for several or more years after birth.
Treatment of CP
The severity of CP will not change over time because the damage has already occurred. Therefore, treatment is the only option for children or adults suffering from cerebral palsy. It is important to have the child examined by a neurological specialist a soon as possible. Symptoms may appear differently over time and as the child grows. Intellectual disabilities may not be completely determined until the child is old enough to speak and learn. Those with CP will require continual medical care and treatment. The costs of this ongoing care can be astronomical and may take a financial and emotional toll on the parents and family.
If CP was caused by a medical mistake, families need to take legal action to get the compensation necessary to cover the medical expenses and other damages due to the negligence. If your child suffered may have suffered cerebral palsy because of medical malpractice, contact the experienced legal team at Levin & Perconti to discuss your case.
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