Cerebral palsy is a neuromuscular disorder that can lead to life-long disabilities and a wide range of physical impairments. It is one of the most commonly occurring childhood disabilities in the United States and a leading cause of the condition is oxygen deprivation during labor or delivery, often the result of medical malpractice.
Ensuring that your child is well-supported throughout his or her life can be challenging, as well as expensive. We are here to help you secure the finances needed to provide the therapy, treatment, and medical care your child needs and deserves, and we are ready to file a medical malpractice claim on your behalf against negligent medical personnel responsible for your child’s injuries.
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For a free legal consultation with Nashua Cerebral Palsy lawyer, call 1-800-222-9529
What Is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy can be caused by many different factors. Some of these are purely genetic and outside a doctor’s control. In other cases, however, a child’s cerebral palsy results from injuries or events that could have been prevented had the doctor or physician in charge of the delivery exercised proper care during the mother’s labor and her delivery.
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Types and Effects of Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is not one single condition; it is a family of associated neurological conditions. Every cerebral palsy case is the result of brain damage or the abnormal development of brain tissue, but each type of palsy manifests in different ways. Some types of cerebral palsy affect how an individual moves, while others may lead to problems with muscle tone, coordination, balance, or problems eating and swallowing. Birth asphyxia, which is a birth injury in which an infant is deprived of oxygen during birth, is one of the only causes of cerebral palsy on which all researchers agree.
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Secondary and Associated Conditions
Beyond the effect that cerebral palsy has on muscle tone, movement, coordination, and balance, there are many secondary conditions that are common in cerebral palsy patients. These conditions include problems breathing, a lack of bladder or bowel control, learning disabilities, seizures, intellectual impairment, and sensory disabilities such as a lack of sensation or pain in different parts of the body.
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Medical Malpractice and Cerebral Palsy
In the past, researchers believed that most cerebral palsy cases were the result of birth asphyxia – a lack of oxygen during birth. This understanding has changed in light of recent studies. We now know that cerebral palsy and its associated disorders can develop in multiple ways, including but not limited to genetic abnormalities, environmental factors, or doctor errors, not just during birth but during the mother’s pregnancy and soon after birth as well. Other causes include maternal infections, such as rubella, which can harm the development of the unborn child’s nervous system.
Beyond environmental and genetic causes, between 10% and 20% of children who are diagnosed with cerebral palsy suffer the condition as a result of brain injuries that were sustained during birth. Medical malpractice or negligence is often the cause of these injuries, and if it can be proven that a medical error should not have happened, that the doctor had the information he or she needed to handle the delivery in a different and better way, or that certain procedures were unprofessionally handled or executed, then the doctor may be liable for negligence and may be responsible for compensating you and your child for all of the damages and costs that you must bear to care for your child.
Diagnosing Cerebral Palsy
It can be difficult to diagnose cerebral palsy because the condition is often hard to identify right after a child is born. Doctors can run tests to monitor a child’s brain function, and these tests might turn up clues as to the presence, absence, or extent of a brain injury, but there is no specific test for cerebral palsy.
What happens is that the family may suspect that their child suffers from a developmental or learning disability as he or she grows and misses important growth milestones such as sitting upright or taking a first step.
Treating Cerebral Palsy
Although cerebral palsy cannot be cured, its effects and symptoms can be somewhat managed with the right treatment and therapy. These remedies are designed to help those afflicted with cerebral palsy improve their quality of life, manage their weaknesses, and leverage their strengths to live a better, more independent life. Treatment plans will vary from child to child and from case to case, but most children benefit from a combination of physical therapy, special care, assistive devices such as braces or splints, assistive technologies such as voice-controlled devices, and meetings with specialists so that a customized rehab regimen can be developed for the patient as he or she improves over time.
There are a few medicines available on the market that can also be used to control some of the symptoms of cerebral palsy. For example, muscle relaxants can be used to help loosen tight muscles and lower the frequency of muscle spasms. Anticonvulsants are often prescribed to patients of cerebral palsy to prevent or manage seizures. Be sure to discuss things with your doctor before giving your child medication of any kind.
To better understand the treatments available to your child, how to pay for treatment, and how to seek compensation for a cerebral palsy case that was the result of birth injuries, call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today at (800) 222-9529.