Cerebral palsy (CP) is a non-progressive brain disorder that causes impaired movement and development. CP is one of the most common causes of childhood disability. An estimated 10,000 infants are diagnosed with CP each year in the United States. Although the disorder is non-progressive the symptoms of brain damage may change over time. About half of the children diagnosed with CP also have seizures and some degree of mental retardation.
Causes of Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is a result of either a congenital defect or an injury at birth. An infection during pregnancy could damage the developing fetus, causing congenital brain damage. Infants who are severely jaundiced at birth may be susceptible to possible brain damage if the jaundice is not effectively treated. In some cases, the mother and baby have Rh incompatibility, which can cause jaundice leading to brain damage. In cases of birth injury, oxygen deprivation is a major factor that leads to cerebral palsy.
Risk of Cerebral Palsy
There are a number of risk factors associated with a higher incidence of CP. When the baby experiences vascular or breathing difficulties during birth or has a low Apgar score there could be a possibility of problems with development or cerebral palsy. Babies with a low birth weight and those born with birth defects are also at a higher risk for CP than other babies. Infants who have a malformation of the nervous system are also at an elevated risk for CP. Doctors and parents must be attentive to the signs because children may not show symptoms of mild CP until they reach the toddler years.
Cerebral Palsy Caused At Birth
A birth injury is an occurrence that happens during labor or delivery, or immediately after birth. One of the most common birth injuries is lack of oxygen to the baby. This can happen during labor, or more often, during delivery. If the baby is deprived of oxygen, even for a short period of time, brain injuries can occur. Fetal monitoring is necessary to ensure that the baby is never under any stress during the labor process. If so, immediate steps must be taken to prevent brain damage. If the delivery is long or does not progress properly, the baby could suffer from a reduced level of oxygen. Also, the doctor can cause injuries to the baby if he pulls too hard or does not use proper care during an assisted birth.
Injuries that happen at birth are not expected. Birth injuries are caused by medical negligence or malpractice. Doctors are required to provide a high level of care. When a birth injury happens it may result in cerebral palsy. Sometimes CP is evident immediately because the baby experiences severe symptoms including seizures. However, mild CP may not always be detected immediately. The baby’s Apgar score is a significant indicator of a problem that may include brain damage or CP. If your infant is the victim of a birth injury you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the experienced legal team at Levin & Perconti to learn more about your options.
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