Cerebral palsy is a common childhood disorder that can cause a wide range of health issues. In infancy, babies are unable to hold their head up or control the arms or hands. In childhood, it can affect a child’s ability to run, jump, or even walk, depending on the severity of the injuries that caused it. Mental lags and intellectual disabilities may also develop. In adolescence, the patient may have difficulty getting around without help, and in adulthood, cerebral palsy can cause bone contractures and misaligned joints and can lead to frequent bone fractures.
If your child suffers from cerebral palsy or if you have reason to suspect that he or she may have suffered a birth-related injury, call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group for a free case evaluation. We will help you investigate the causes of your child’s injuries and will put together a medical malpractice claim if the circumstances surrounding your child’s birth warrants one. Call us today at (800) 222-9529 to learn more about your legal options, evidence requirements, statutes of limitations, and what next steps you should take.
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Causes of Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy refers to a set of motor function issues that arise from damage to – or the abnormal development of – the centers of the brain that are responsible for movement. Most cerebral palsy patients exhibit some form of movement disability. This may involve an inability to move both legs, both limbs on one side of the body, or all four limbs. However, due to the nature of brain injuries and the physical makeup of the brain itself, damage of any sort to different parts of the brain can lead to markedly different symptoms in different patients.
For example, one patient may walk with a slightly awkward gait, whilst another may be completely incapacitated. It all depends on where, how, and to what extent brain damage occurs. The availability of treatments, when treatments are initiated, and patient responses to treatment also play a role in determining how badly a set of injuries or disabilities will affect a patient.
With this in mind, it is important to note that cerebral palsy can occur at any age and for a variety of reasons. Anything that damages the brain’s motor centers can cause it, and vehicle accidents, sporting injuries, and even slips and falls are included. However, in most cases, when people speak about cerebral palsy, they mean the childhood disorder.
The causes of cerebral palsy in childhood depend on a number of risk factors present before, during, and after a baby is born. These risk factors include:
- Maternal obesity and blood pressure
- Maternal intellectual issues
- Premature birth
- Low birth weight
- Multiple births
- Doctor inexperience
- Abnormal brain development during pregnancy
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Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy
The underlying causes of cerebral palsy – brain damage or abnormal brain development – are permanent and do not recover with the passage of time. Because of this, cerebral palsy is a permanent disorder with no known cure. In the past, it was believed that cerebral palsy was caused by restricted oxygen supply to a growing fetus or during delivery but we now know that that only causes a small fraction of all cerebral palsy cases. The risk factors outlined above are better indicators of what may cause cerebral palsy.
In infants, symptoms of cerebral palsy include difficulty sucking or swallowing. A general lack of movement at any age can cause muscles to waste away, a condition called atrophy. Bone fractures, mental disorders, problems with vision and hearing, speech impediments, mouth ulcers, social rejection and isolation, stiff muscles, and a severe lack of independence are common with severe cases of cerebral palsy.
There are mild forms of the disorder as well, however, and cerebral palsy is actually measured on a scale of one to five.
- Patients with Level 1 cerebral palsy can move around on their own and can even run and jump but may do so somewhat awkwardly.
- Patients with Level 2 cerebral palsy can move around within their communities relatively freely but require assistive devices for longer distances.
- Patients with Level 3 cerebral palsy can climb stairs using a railing but have difficulty walking or balancing on uneven surfaces.
- Patients with Level 4 cerebral palsy can walk short distances on their own with an assistive device but otherwise need assistance to use a wheelchair.
- Patients with Level 5 cerebral palsy are permanently confined to using a wheelchair and cannot care for themselves or perform basic tasks such as closing buttons or feeding themselves.
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How a Lawyer Will Help
Because of the wide range of health issues that it causes and because it is a permanent disorder, cerebral palsy can drain the physical, financial, and mental reserves of a family. Arranging caretakers, taking time off from work, finding care centers that have the treatments your child needs, the potential travel and lodging costs associated with undergoing care or treatment at centers outside your hometown, and spending nights in the hospital for a variety of issues can take its toll not just on your child but on everyone in the household.
If your child’s injuries were caused by medical negligence, you have every right to seek fast and fair compensation for those damages, but how can you file, manage, and pursue a civil malpractice case while handling all the rest of life’s responsibilities?
The Birth Injury Lawyers Group can help. Our team of compassionate and empathetic birth injury lawyers has years of experience helping families navigate the complexities of medical negligence and we can help you with your child’s birth injury case. Call us at (800) 222-9529 for a free consultation to discuss your options, including treatments that are available where you live, how to handle the insurance and financial aspects of care and therapy, and gathering the evidence needed to prove a claim.
We provide all of our services on a contingency-fee basis so you pay nothing until we win your case for you. For immediate help, call us now.