Cerebral palsy, or CP, is a developmental illness in babies that can be caused by abnormal brain development or brain injury sustained before, during, or soon after birth. This damage affects the child’s ability to control his or her muscles; in fact, ‘cerebral’ means ‘of the brain’ and ‘palsy’ means a lack of muscle control.
There are several known causes of abnormal brain development and brain injury. In the past, it was believed that it was caused by a lack of oxygen during birth, but several risk factors, as well as pre- and post-delivery complications, can cause cerebral palsy. If your child or someone you know suffers from cerebral palsy, speak with a member of our birth injury team at (800) 222-9529. We are here to help you learn more about identifying the cause of the illness, determining who, if anyone, was responsible for causing it, collecting the evidence needed to build a case, and pursuing the compensation that you may be legally entitled to.
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What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy is a physical disability that can affect your movement and posture. In the United States, a child with cerebral palsy is born every hour, and it is the most commonly occurring childhood physical disability. Over 800,000 people in the United States and 17 million people worldwide live with cerebral palsy, representing an untold amount of pain, suffering, stress, and missed opportunities, not to mention medical bills, doctor’s visits, special care costs, and more.
For most people, the cause of cerebral palsy is unknown, and there is no known cure for this illness. However, cerebral palsy is classified into two main types, as below.
Congenital Cerebral Palsy
This pertains to brain damage that occurred before or during birth. Most cerebral palsy cases (between 85% and 90%) are congenital.
Acquired Cerebral Palsy
Some cerebral palsy cases are caused by brain damage that is sustained during or after birth. Known as acquired cerebral palsy, this type of cerebral palsy is usually caused by an infection or a head injury.
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Who Is at the Greatest Risk for Cerebral Palsy?
While there are many different contributing factors to cerebral palsy, four groups have the statistically highest risk of developing this debilitating illness.
- Males: Males are at a much greater risk of developing cerebral palsy than females.
- Premature babies: Premature birth is correlated with higher cerebral palsy incidence.
- Infants with low birth weight: Babies that are smaller at birth tend to have higher rates of cerebral palsy.
- Multiple births: Children born as one of multiple children in the same pregnancy exhibit higher rates of cerebral palsy than children born in single-child pregnancies.
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Preventing Cerebral Palsy
The causes of congenital cerebral palsy are not fully understood and there is not much you can do to prevent it. However, when it comes to acquired cerebral palsy, there are many things you can do before, during, and after pregnancy and delivery of the baby to lower the risk of developing acquired cerebral palsy since it is often caused by infection, injury, or medical negligence, and these are factors that can be, or at least should be, prevented.
- Before pregnancy, treat infections, get required vaccinations, and maintain a healthy diet and an active lifestyle as per your doctor’s instructions.
- During pregnancy, be regular in your prenatal checkups, get in touch with your doctor if you develop any illnesses, and be sure to speak to your doctor about the potential for blood incompatibility issues between the mother and the baby as this can cause cerebral palsy.
- Make sure to check your child for jaundice in the hospital and within two days after leaving for home.
- After pregnancy, always use age-appropriate car seats or boosters, child-proof your home, and wear appropriate safety gear when participating in sports or outdoor activities.
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What if My Child Is Still Diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy?
It is entirely possible that, despite your best efforts, your child still develops or is diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Under such circumstances, it is natural to feel fear, frustration, and confusion about what to do, what happened, and what next steps you should take. However, it is important to remember that you are not alone in this trying time. We know how devastating it can be to live with an injured child who is not only helpless to take care of himself or herself but is also forced to live with a lifelong and incapacitating illness for no fault of their own. Paying for expensive treatment, managing the schedules of caretakers, and consistently, daily, living with a severely unwell loved one can take its toll not only on your financial stability but also on your mental and physical well-being.
Getting the Help You Need
Contact us at (800) 222-9529 to learn more about cerebral palsy cases, how they are handled, and how to pursue a case of your own. Medical practitioners owe a duty of care to everyone they treat. If they fail in providing this duty of care by being negligent of the measures needed to safeguard the well-being of your child and your child developed cerebral palsy or was harmed in some other way as a result, you may have a right to sue for damages and compensation. Proving that you or your child were owed but did not receive the duty of care you were entitled to will require collecting evidence, expert testimony, pregnancy or delivery-related documentation, and statements from those involved in your child’s delivery or pre/post-natal care.
If, based on collected evidence, we determine that your case qualifies for compensation, we can help you receive the medical treatment your baby needs. We will also pursue a claim for damages on your behalf for the pain, suffering, expenses, and lost income that accrue as a direct result of your child’s cerebral palsy. Our team of birth injury lawyers represents clients on a contingency-fee-basis; we do not collect any fees unless you win your claim and receive compensation. To learn more about how we can help and what you should do if your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, call us today at (800) 222-9529 for a private consultation.