Representing Families Affected by Cerebral Palsy Due to Medical Malpractice
Approximately 1 in 345 children in the United States has been identified with cerebral palsy, according to the CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network. Cerebral palsy is one of the most serious diagnoses that a child may receive as a result of medical malpractice. Below, our Chicago cerebral palsy lawyers explain its causes, types and symptoms.
Do you believe that your child’s cerebral palsy is a result of medical malpractice? Consider speaking to our dedicated birth injury attorneys. We can discuss your child’s unique situation, help you to determine your best legal options and be a trusted counselor during this difficult time. Call us at (877) 262-9767 or contact us online.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Birth Injury Lawyers
How May a Cerebral Palsy Attorney Help Me?
It is important to speak to an experienced birth injury attorney if you suspect your child’s cerebral palsy diagnosis resulted from medical negligence or malpractice. You may have legal options to hold the responsible parties accountable, and may be able to recover compensation for damages.
Our Chicago based cerebral palsy lawyers may be able to help you in the following ways:
- Discuss your unique situation and help you understand your potential legal options
- Work with medical experts to investigate medical records and determine whether malpractice occurred
- Determine whether you have a viable birth injury claim
- Offer compassionate representation and extensive experience handling cases similar to yours
- Hold the responsible parties accountable for damages
- Get you answers to your questions
What Are Risk Factors of Cerebral Palsy?
Risk factors increase the likelihood that a child may develop cerebral palsy. However, present risk factors do not indicate that a child will develop the condition. It is important to understand that risk factors for cerebral palsy are not causes or symptoms.
Risk factors may exist during pregnancy, labor, delivery and after birth. A few examples of cerebral palsy risk factors include:
- Infant brain injury during the labor and delivery process, or after birth due to head trauma
- Maternal infections
- Lack of blood or oxygen to the brain during labor and delivery or after birth
- Premature birth
What Are Common Signs and Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy?
Early signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy include:
- Difficulty feeding
- Reduced muscle tone (hypotonic)
- Developmental delays
- Failure to reach milestones such as rolling over, sitting, crawling and walking
- Behavioral problems
- Dragging feet
- Walking on tip-toes
Often, cerebral palsy can go undetected or undiagnosed for months or even years as the injury becomes more noticeable as a child grows older. Although cerebral palsy is a permanent condition, if given the right treatment, children with cerebral palsy may improve their symptoms and experience a normal life expectancy.
What Are Potential Signs of a Birth Injury That May Result in Cerebral Palsy?
Characteristics associated with a potential birth injury claim include:
- An admission into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for 5 days or longer
- The use of head or body cooling after birth
- Seizure activities
- Signs on early CT scans and MRIs
What Are the Most Common Types of Cerebral Palsy?
There are two major types of cerebral palsy for which an infant may be diagnosed. These types of cerebral palsy are known as spastic cerebral palsy and non-spastic cerebral palsy.
Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common type of cerebral palsy. Signs that a child may have spastic cerebral palsy include exaggerated reflexes and increased muscle tone.
A child with non-spastic cerebral palsy may exhibit decreased or fluctuating muscle tone. There are multiple forms of non-spastic cerebral palsy wherein a child demonstrates involuntary movements. These forms include:
- Ataxic cerebral palsy. Manifests as uncoordinated voluntary muscle movements, problems with balance and speech delay.
- Dyskinetic athetoid cerebral palsy. Consists of slow, smooth, writhing movements that involve distal muscles, such as those in the arms, hands, legs and feet.
- Dyskinetic dystonia cerebral palsy. Encompasses cases that affect the trunk muscles resulting in a fixed, twisted position.
Understanding Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is caused by brain damage. It is an impairment of the body’s ability to control movement and posture. Cerebral palsy may result from an abnormal development of a child’s brain or injury to a baby’s brain occurring in the moments prior to birth or shortly after delivery.
It can affect both motor coordination and cognition due to brain damage in the parts of the brain that control movement and higher functioning. Injuries can range from mild to moderate to severe. Often, a child will have some combination of both physical and mental injury.
Cerebral palsy is a non-progressive condition. This means that although injury to the brain is permanent, there will be no further degeneration of the brain. Extensive therapies may help with the symptoms of cerebral palsy and are usually needed for the entire life of a child.
What Causes Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy is often caused by lack of oxygen and blood flow to a baby’s brain during labor and delivery. This event is also known as hypoxia-ischemia. There are other prenatal and postnatal events associated with an increased likelihood of cerebral palsy. These events include:
- Maternal or fetal stroke
- Traumatic delivery
- Improper use of a vacuum or forceps
- Premature delivery
- Maternal or fetal infection
In each of these situations, prudent doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals have a number of opportunities to prevent serious, permanent, and devastating neurological and physical injuries to children born with cerebral palsy.