Cerebral palsy is not a type of cognitive issue caused by a birth injury although mental impairments often co-occur. It is a motor and movement disorder caused by a perinatal injury to certain areas of the brain. In addition to cognitive issues, children with cerebral palsy may also have epilepsy, learning disabilities, autism, and behavioral concerns. These are co-occurring conditions in addition to the challenges posed by their physical symptoms of cerebral palsy.
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Cerebral Palsy Is the Most Common Motor Disability in Children
Cerebral palsy is a brain injury that occurs when certain parts of the brain do not get enough blood and/or oxygen during labor and delivery. Almost any type of complication that could cause this can lead to cerebral palsy, including:
- Long and difficult births resulting in head trauma to the baby
- Maternal infections
- Fetal stroke
- Blood clotting problems in the baby
- Very low blood pressure in the mother
- A torn uterus
- Placental abruption
- Nuchal cord or other problems with the umbilical cord
The symptoms of cerebral palsy occur when one of these complications causes damage to the brain’s white matter that serves as the body’s motor control center. There are several areas of white matter that work together to provide motor control, movement, coordination, and balance. The child may have a different type of cerebral palsy depending on the specific area affected.
Children with cerebral palsy can have symptoms that vary widely from easily manageable with medication and therapy to life-limiting issues that can interfere with the quality of life. Some children walk without support, while others require around-the-clock assistance and care.
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Co-occurring Conditions Are Common with Cerebral Palsy
When a birth injury affects the motor control centers of the brain and causes cerebral palsy, the traumatic brain injury often affects more than just that specific area of white matter. This can lead to epilepsy, a cognitive disability, or other developmental concerns.
Cerebral palsy is not the cause of these co-occurring conditions, but they stem from the same birth injury and injuries to other areas of the brain. While every case is different, children who have the most severe types of cerebral palsy and who have the most motor limitations may also have the greatest risk of cognitive disabilities.
Cerebral Palsy Lawsuits
In many cases, the brain injuries that cause cerebral palsy, cognitive delays, and other co-occurring conditions are preventable. If your child has cerebral palsy, with or without a cognitive disability, you may be eligible to take legal action against the doctor that delivered them or the hospital where they were born.
A doctor can cause or fail to prevent cerebral palsy and other perinatal brain injuries by:
- Failing to adequately monitor mother and baby during pregnancy, labor, and delivery
- Failure to diagnose medical concerns or possible complications in mother or infant
- Failure to order a cesarean section (C-section) when risks of vaginal delivery were too high
- Failure to provide an acceptable standard of care
- Other careless or negligent actions
To learn if you may have a valid birth injury case, you should discuss your case with a medical malpractice attorney in your state or the state where your child was born. Each state sets its own laws and only an attorney who regularly handles these cases in your state will know how to navigate the process, prove your case, and meet all applicable deadlines.
Most medical malpractice lawyers offer free case reviews and consultations, so you can learn if you have a case at no cost to you. They also take on this type of case based on contingency, meaning your family pays no out-of-pocket costs. The attorney does not get paid unless you get a settlement or court award.
Some recoverable damages in a birth injury medical malpractice case may include:
- Medical care costs
- Ongoing and future care costs
- Physical, occupational, speech, and other therapies
- Mobility and assistive equipment
- Out-of-pocket expenses related to their treatment and care
- Pain and suffering damages
- Mental anguish
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Talk to a Cerebral Palsy Birth Injury Attorney About Your Case
You do not have to go through the hassle of trying to find a medical malpractice attorney near you to evaluate your case. The Birth Injury Lawyers Group can make this process easier by connecting you with an attorney who knows that cerebral palsy is not a type of cognitive issue caused by a birth injury, but can result in other conditions or cognitive delays and regularly takes on birth injury cases near you.
Call us today at (800) 222-9529 to learn more.