Cerebral palsy is a group of health issues that mostly affect movement and muscles. In children, it often develops in the aftermath of events before, during, or after birth that leads to some form of injury to a baby’s developing brain. There is no known cause of cerebral palsy, but there are several identifiable cues or pathways that a baby passes through between pregnancy and delivery that can heighten the risks and chances of developing the disorder.
Most cases of cerebral palsy occur in the uterus while the mother is still pregnant or before the baby reaches one month of age. Strokes, low birth weight, multiple babies in a single pregnancy, blood clotting issues, infections, prolonged labor, and medical errors can lead to brain damage and cerebral palsy. If your child suffered a birth injury or was formally diagnosed as having cerebral palsy, our Houston cerebral palsy lawyer team can help. Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at (800) 222-9529 to learn more.
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The Effects of Cerebral Palsy
The effects of cerebral palsy are most pronounced when it comes to posture, balance, and the ability to move. The ability to communicate, eat, and learn can also be affected, although different patients exhibit different symptoms, all based on where, how, and to what extent the motor control centers of the brain were injured. Some people may be able to overcome their disabilities while others may have very limited control, if any, over their movement and limbs and may require round-the-clock assistance.
The broad effects of cerebral palsy are:
- Uncontrolled and unpredictable movements
- Stiff, weak, or tight muscles
- Shaky movements or epilepsy
- Difficulty swallowing and breathing
- An inability to hold up the head or neck
- Limited bladder or bowel control
- Dental and/or digestive problems
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For the most part, there are no specific steps you can take to eliminate the chances of your child sustaining a brain injury or developing cerebral palsy. It can happen as a result of delivery room errors that are, of course, unplanned, or genetic mutations or abnormal cell migration which are out of the control of you and your doctor.
What you can do, however, is take proactive steps to lessen the chances of cerebral palsy developing. Expectant mothers can do this by:
- Maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle: Excessive weight gain by the mother and maternal diabetes increase the risk factor of a child developing cerebral palsy.
- Undergo regular checkups: This can help with the early identification of potential issues or complications such as large fetal size or abnormal presentation of the baby inside the womb.
- Ensuring that she is vaccinated, especially against diseases that can cause fetal brain damage such as rubella.
- Avoid the consumption of harmful or toxic substances.
Despite your best efforts, if your child still suffered a birth injury or developed cerebral palsy, we can help. Contact a Houston cerebral palsy lawyer with the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at (800) 222-9529 for a free consultation to determine:
- When and how your child was injured.
- Why birth complications, if any, were not identified or handled properly.
- Who, if anyone, was responsible for medical errors.
- What expenses and damages you may be able to claim for a preventable birth injury.
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Types and Treatments
The classification of cerebral palsy depends on the part of the body that is affected by a brain injury. The Birth Injury Lawyers Group can connect you with the doctors and subject matter experts who can diagnose and treat your child to try to help him or her make as quick and complete a recovery as possible.
Cerebral palsy usually presents in one of three ways:
- Spastic diplegia: This affects the legs more than it affects the arms and is more common with preterm babies born before week 32 of pregnancy.
- Spastic quadriplegia: This involves all four limbs equally and affects full-term as well as preterm babies.
- Spastic hemiplegia: This involves one side of the body and is common in children who have suffered some form of blood or bleeding issue.
Depending on your child’s symptoms, your child’s doctor may recommend therapy, surgery, or the use of medication to help him or her overcome the disabilities he or she faces. Here are a few treatments that may be used:
- Therapy: Physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, or emotional therapy can all be used to help a growing child overcome different physical, mental, or emotional challenges.
- Muscle relaxants: These can be administered orally or surgically to help with stiff or rigid muscles.
- Electrical stimulation: This can be used to increase blood flow to muscles that have been weakened by cerebral palsy.
- Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy: Also known as SDR, this procedure involves cutting some of the nerves that enter the spinal cord from different muscle groups to reduce spasticity. It is usually used in conjunction with various forms of physical therapy, especially after a surgery.
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When and how does medical malpractice or negligence come into the picture?
Errors on the part of your child’s doctor can happen in an instant but will have lifelong repercussions. Consider the following:
- A doctor does not have the experience needed to use assistive devices.
- A medical team administers an incorrect dosage of labor-inducing drugs.
- A medical team does not perform basic checks or tests prior to delivery.
- Reports or tests are misread, or an illness is misdiagnosed or undiagnosed.
These are all examples of preventable mistakes. Any injuries that result from such mistakes can be categorized as a preventable injury. If you can prove that a doctor’s negligence, distraction, lack of experience, or avoidable mistake caused your child’s cerebral palsy, you may be able to sue for compensation to cover costs arising from:
- Assistive devices
- Lost income
- Special schooling
- Home improvements for ease of access
To initiate an investigation and collect the evidence needed to prove negligence, speak with our Houston cerebral palsy lawyer at (800) 222-9529. At the Birth Injury Lawyers Group, we provide free case evaluations at no upfront cost. We only receive payment for services rendered if you win your case, so call now to speak with an experienced birth injury attorney.