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Cerebral Palsy Legal Help and Information

Cerebral Palsy, also called Little's Disease or static encephalopathy, is a group of chronic disorders impairing control of movement. It is a condition that can develop during pregnancy or child birth or the first few years of life. Cerebral Palsy can be caused by a birth injury, possibly as a result of medical malpractice or human error.

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Cerebral Palsy Birth Injury

Cerebral Palsy is characterized by spasticity, paralysis and seizures caused by trauma in critical developmental stages. Some patients with Cerebral Palsy may also experience delayed motor skills, mental retardation, and visual disturbances.

Cerebral Palsy affects the nerves that regulate and control the body's muscles. The literal meaning of the word cerebral is the brain's two halves and palsy describes any disorder that impairs control of body movement. When there is faulty development or damage to motor areas, as in Cerebral Palsy, it disrupts the brain's ability to sufficiently control movement and posture.

Birth Injury and Causes of Cerebral Palsy

cerebralA birth injury or birth trauma results from complications in the labor and delivery and can be mild or severe.

A devastating birth injury like Cerebral Palsy occurs when the brain is damaged before or during birth. Such a birth injury may be the result of improper medical responses to fetal distress. In order to prevent birth injury, hospitals should use a fetal monitor that tracks the heart rate and responses to contractions. Often it occurs when the baby cannot get sufficient oxygen.

Birth injury can occur if the doctor fails to recognize and respond to distress. If the birth injury results from the negligence of the medical staff, then the doctor/hospital should be held responsible. Birth injury costs can include emergency surgery, long term care and treatment. Additionally, a birth injury is a traumatic, devastating event for the entire family, and parents of a child with a birth injury may be entitled to compensation for the emotional and psychological distress they suffer.

Cerebral Palsy lawsuitSome examples of birth injury conditions are brachial palsy, Erb's palsy, bruising/forceps marks, cephalohematoma, facial paralysis due to pressure on the baby's face causing facial nerve damage, fractures, or the breakage of small blood vessels in the infant's eyes. In some cases, the baby sustains a birth injury due to improper birthing techniques, resulting in nerve damage or oxygen deprivation.

When a birth injury occurs through the negligence or poor judgment of medical professionals, the family living with the birth injury may have many questions about their legal rights.

Four Types of Cerebral Palsy

People with Cerebral Palsy must endure extremely difficult medical, social, and educational development. There are four main categories of Cerebral Palsy, including spastic cerebral palsy, athetoid cerebral palsy, ataxic cerebral palsy, and mixed cerebral palsy.
  1. Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common form, affecting 70-80 percent of patients. This type of Cerebral Palsy keeps the muscles in a constant state of increased involuntary reflex.

  2. Athetoid cerebral palsy is characterized by a slow and uncontrolled movement and affects 10-20 percent of the Cerebral Palsy patients.

  3. Ataxic cerebral palsy is the rare form of Cerebral Palsy affecting just 5-10 percent of the patients. In most cases of Cerebral Palsy there is more than one of the types of symptoms present.

  4. Mixed Cerebral Palsy is the most common form, which is a combination of spasticity and athetoid movements.

Cerebral Palsy Diagnosis and Risks

Many cases of Cerebral Palsy can be linked to complications in the birthing process or during fetal development. Babies that are born with Cerebral Palsy are sometimes born with breech presentation. Breech presentation is when a baby is presented feet first as opposed to the typical head first birth. A complicated labor and delivery may be a sign that the infant could have cerebral palsy. Premature births and low birth weight have been shown to correlate with Cerebral Palsy. The risk for increases as the weight falls. Multiple births are also considered a risk.

Cases of Cerebral Palsy are recognized by vascular or respiratory problems that are sometimes the first sign that a baby has suffered some brain damage or has not fully developed their brain. There is a numbered rating scale that reflects a newborn's condition by checking the baby's heart rate, breathing, muscle tone, reflexes, and skin color in the first minutes after birth, called the Apgar score. A low Apgar score indicated potential problems and babies with cerebral palsy often score a low Apgar.

cerebral palsy lawyerThere are also indicators of Cerebral Palsy that show up in the mother carrying the child. Maternal bleeding or severe proteinuria late in pregnancy or vaginal bleeding during the sixth to ninth months of pregnancy is linked to higher risk of Cerebral Palsy babies. Mothers who have hyperthyroidism, mental retardation, or seizures are also more likely to have a child with Cerebral Palsy. Seizures in the newborn child can also indicate a higher risk of being diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy later in childhood.

Cerebral Palsy Prevention

Preventing Cerebral Palsy is not always possible but there are certain precautions that can be taken. Child safety using car seats properly and wearing bicycle helmets are among safety measures to protect a child's head from becoming injured and leading to Cerebral Palsy. Newborn babies with jaundice can be treated with phototherapy that exposes the affected baby to special lights that break down bile pigments and prevent them from building up and threatening the brain. A blood test that is routinely performed on expectant mothers can find Rh incompatibility that can be treated with a special serum to prevent unwanted production of antibodies. Doctors can minimize problems by watching the developing baby and performing a transfusion when necessary. A simple vaccination that can be given to women before becoming pregnant can keep Rubella or German measles from occurring and leading to Cerebral Palsy.

From birth up to three years of age, characteristics of Cerebral Palsy may become noticeable. Delayed motor skills, delayed development, abnormal muscle tone (including decreased and increased muscle tone). While these symptoms are good indicators of cerebral palsy they can also be caused by other developmental problems. A doctor can help diagnosis this.

Cerebral Palsy Treatment

Cerebral Palsy is a group of chronic disorders impairing control of movement. The effect of this condition on an individual can face serious and difficult medical, social, and education challenges. While there is no cure for Cerebral Palsy, different treatment methods are constantly being researched and improved. Treatment includes different therapeutic approaches to help better manage the potential physical and mental aspects of a child. Physical therapy, drug therapy, or surgery may be implemented as part of a treatment, depending on the individual's needs. Psychological therapy, speech or occupational therapy may also be part of treatment.

Physical therapy is important within the first years of a child's life. Specific exercises help keep muscles from becoming weak and deteriorating from lack of use. Cerebral Palsy patients can experience muscle contractures, when muscles become fixed in a rigid and abnormal position. When muscles and tendons are prevented from stretching and do not grow fast enough to keep up with lengthening bones, it is called spasticity.

Drug therapy can be used to prevent and control seizures and spasticity. Patients with athetoid cerebral palsy sometimes are prescribed drugs to reduce the abnormal movements that they experience.

There is also a surgery that can lengthen the shortened muscle thus reducing spasticity in the legs. This surgery that reduces the amount of stimulation that can reach the leg muscles by the nerves is still being researched on a continual basis to determine its overall effectiveness.


Register your Cerebral Palsy Case

If your child has suffered from Cerebral Palsy as a result of the birthing process, you may qualify for damages or remedies that may be awarded in a possible cerebral palsy lawsuit. Please click the link below to submit your complaint to a cerebral palsy lawyer for a free case evaluation.
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CEREBRAL PALSY BIRTH INJURY LEGAL ARTICLES AND INTERVIEWS

Canadian Woman Awarded $1.5 Million in Cerebral Palsy Malpractice
Canadian Woman Awarded $1.5 Million in Cerebral Palsy Malpractice
June 23, 2010
Surrey, BC A young girl suffering from severe cerebral palsy was awarded in excess of Can. $1.5 million by a Supreme Court judge in British Columbia after her mother sued the health authority overseeing the hospital where she was born. A doctor and two nurses were also named in the cerebral palsy medical malpractice lawsuit , although one nurse was exonerated [READ MORE]

Trials Begin for Stem Cell Treatment for Cerebral Palsy
Trials Begin for Stem Cell Treatment for Cerebral Palsy
February 18, 2010
Augusta, GA Scientists at the Medical College of Georgia have begun conducting experiments to test the effectiveness of stem cells in the treatment of cerebral palsy [READ MORE]

Stem Cells Show Potential in Treating Cerebral Palsy in Children
Stem Cells Show Potential in Treating Cerebral Palsy in Children
November 20, 2009
Denver, CO In a move that could mean expanded medical testing with controversial genetic material, stem cells taken from an umbilical cord have shown great success in treating a three-year-old girl born with cerebral palsy [READ MORE]



READER COMMENTS

Posted by
Colorado
on
My daughters oxygen was cut off which caused cerebral palsy. The cord was wrapped tight around her body AND her neck. I think the doctor should have done a C section. They always talk about how proud they are that they have the lowest Ç section rate around. I used to think that it was a good thing.

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