FAQ's: Your Questions Answered
At some point in everyone’s life they will hear or read about cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders involving brain and nervous system functions such as movement, hearing, seeing and thinking. It is a disability resulting from injury to the brain before, during or shortly after birth. The term cerebral refers to the brain and palsy refers to paralysis or lack of control with one’s body. It is estimated that 8,000 infants born in the United States are diagnosed with cerebral palsy each year.
Causes of cerebral palsy can include:
In some, cerebral palsy is caused by low levels of oxygen before or during birth. Cerebral palsy can be the result of negligent medical care provided to the mother and child during the birthing process.
Signs of cerebral palsy can appear anytime within the first few years of a child’s life, typically prior to age three. In more than 80% of cases, symptoms are apparent within the first month of life. In the case that the infant’s brain is injured by low oxygen levels, there may be signs of brain injury present at the time of delivery. However, it is very common for infants to experience the symptoms before an official diagnosis is given.
Life with cerebral palsy varies dependent upon the severity of the brain injury. Cerebral palsy can range from a mild form needing little or no assistance to severe cases of cerebral palsy requiring special medical, educational, and social services. Cerebral palsy can put tremendous financial stress on the family of a child with the disorder. In 2003, the average lifetime cost of cerebral palsy-related expenses for one person was estimated at $921,000.
There are four different types of cerebral palsy. They are defined as the following:
Spastic CP is the most common form of cerebral palsy and is found in approximately 70% of cases. Symptoms of spastic CP include awkward reflexes, stiffness in one part of the body, permanently tightened and rigid muscles, and an abnormal gait.
Athetoid CP differs from spastic CP as the main trait includes involuntary movements to the face, torso, and limbs. Other symptoms of athetoid cerebral palsy include a stiff or rigid body, floppiness in the limbs, problems with posture, and issues feeding from a very young age (and in more severe cases this will continue).
Ataxic CP is associated with problems affecting balance and coordination. People inflicted by ataxic CP will often suffer from tremors. Other symptoms include speech impediments, problems with depth perception, and spreading feet apart when walking.
Mixed CP is a condition where the child is suffering from damage to multiple parts of the brain that develops the characteristics of some or all of the above cerebral palsy impairments.
Carefully monitor baby’s oxygen during labor and delivery. Cerebral palsy can be caused by a number of things including lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain during labor and delivery. During this time, the mother is usually placed on a fetal monitor, a device used for monitoring and recording the baby’s heartbeat. Doctors, midwives, and nurses are trained to know what measures are necessary in order to relieve the distress. If their efforts fail to correct the lack of oxygen and relieve the distress, immediate delivery of the baby is necessary to prevent brain injury. If there is a significant delay in recognizing the distress then a prolonged lack of oxygen can result in an injury to the baby’s brain. This brain injury can later be diagnosed as cerebral palsy. Alternatively, when improperly used, delivery instruments such as forceps and vacuums can result in bleeding into the brain or skull fracture.
If your child was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and was injured during birth as the result of surgery, medication, or other medical treatment, it is possible your child’s condition is the result of medical malpractice. Life with cerebral palsy can be exceptionally difficult and if it was the result of medical malpractice you need to contact us immediately.
Hire an experienced and passionate group of medical malpractice attorneys like Dan Newlin Injury Attorneys to help you get everything to which you may be entitled. Call us at 800-257-1822 for a free consultation and to have all your questions answered regarding your injury.