Willens Law Offices Articles Chicago Birth Injury Lawyers: Is Cerebral Palsy Genetic?

Chicago Birth Injury Lawyers: Is Cerebral Palsy Genetic?

By Matthew Willens  Feb. 19, 2016 11:53a

Cerebral palsy is a condition caused when brain damage occurs due to lack of oxygen reaching the brain for a long period of time, during or before the birthing process. There are a lot of factors like injury to the fetus, neglect, exposure to toxins, disease, fevers, conditions like preeclampsia, placenta previa, etc. that can result in "asphyxia" of the brain and hence, lead to cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy can be congenital or acquired.

Congenital Cerebral Palsy refers to the child being born with Cerebral Palsy, that is, the condition was caused either before or during the birthing process. About seventy percent of all cerebral palsy cases are congenital, making detection of the cause more difficult.

In acquired cerebral palsy, the child is born without cerebral palsy and the brain damage happens during brain development that happens after the child is born. Acquired cerebral palsy can occur due to accidents, brain infections like meningitis, injuries, accidents, shaken baby syndrome, etc.

However, there is very little proof that suggests cerebral palsy is genetic.

Genetics and Cerebral Palsy

Parents of children affected with Cerebral Palsy often pose the question to doctors, "is cerebral palsy genetic? Will future pregnancies result in the same condition?"

Cerebral palsy is not a hereditary condition. There is no specific gene or gene disorder that can get passed on from parent to child. However, research has shown that certain hereditary factors can predispose a baby to cerebral palsy. Certain conditions that can be hereditary like chorioamnionitis, preeclampsia, preterm birth, placental abruption and breech presentations, etc. can cause specific gene mutations that can reoccur in the family.

Though the percentage of children who have familial cerebral palsy is very low, a parent who has a child diagnosed with cerebral palsy also has an increased risk of their following pregnancies developing the condition too.

Cerebral Palsy and the Law

In a bid to reduce the amount of a claim or to disprove claims to cerebral palsy caused due to birth injury, some medical and insurance groups try to limit their responsibilities. Therefore, proper investigations, scientific processes conducted by peers and extensive studies must be conducted by experts on the subject, to validate a claim. Second opinions, peer reviews and evaluative studies should be conducted as well in cases of cerebral palsy occurring as a result of brain injury. Sometimes, proving a claim can require of cerebral palsy related genome testing. These tests are expensive as well and it is difficult to get any insurance company to pay for genetic evaluation for a cerebral palsy case.

All these tests are not only time consuming, but also very expensive. Covering the costs of research and claims is often difficult for parents already struggling with the financial and emotional trauma of supporting a cerebral palsy afflicted child.

If you are a parent struggling with placing a claim for brain injury due to genome related cerebral palsy, need more information, correct guidance and a proper understanding of your legal rights, you can get in touch with a Chicago birth injury lawyer who can help you with your claim. Call (312) 957-4166 to schedule a free consultaton.

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