Willens Law Offices Articles Cerebral Palsy - A Devastating Birth Injury

Cerebral Palsy - A Devastating Birth Injury

By Matthew Willens  Jul. 2, 2015 2:16p

Cerebral palsy is a birth injury, which may be the result of a doctor's negligence.

Cerebral palsy is a devastating birth injury, and every year, about 8,000 infants and children are diagnosed with this condition. Because of advancements in the medical field, a higher number of premature infants survive, but they are more prone to birth injuries such as cerebral palsy, especially if a medical professional fails to provide proper and adequate care.

What Is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy can be a result of prenatal, perinatal, or postnatal injury. It is important to note that cerebral palsy is not a genetic condition and is not caused by defective or parental genes. People who suffer from cerebral palsy have problems with muscle coordination and control. Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the motor centers of the brain and leads to symptoms such as speaking and hearing problems, muscle tightness, loss of motor skills, tremors, and problems with posture. They may also have bladder and bowel problems.

Types of Cerebral Palsy

  • Spastic cerebral palsy - Spastic cerebral palsy accounts for 60-80 percent of cerebral palsy cases, causing muscle stiffness. The muscles eventually become permanently contracted.
  • Athetoid cerebral palsy - Athetoid cerebral palsy accounts for 10-20 percent of cerebral palsy cases and is characterized by slow, uncontrolled movements of the muscles, unnatural gestures of the arms or legs, and grimacing.
  • Mixed cerebral palsy - Some patients show a combination of symptoms and may show symptoms of both athetoid and spastic cerebral palsy.
  • Ataxic cerebral palsy - Ataxic cerebral palsy is a rare form of cerebral palsy. It causes poor depth perception and balance problems.

Causes of Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is a birth injury, and in most cases, the causes are unknown. In 10-20 percent of cases, it has been found to be caused by a postnatal birth injury. Premature babies or low birth weight babies are more prone to developing the condition. Causes include brain hemorrhage, head injury, and lack of oxygen supply to the brain. Exposure to toxins, post natal jaundice, prenatal measles virus, or even diabetes in the mother can also lead to cerebral palsy in the baby.

Cerebral palsy can be a result of a condition known as HIE in which the blood supply to the brain is restricted, causing oxygen deprivation and asphyxiation. HIE can result from a uterine rupture, a tear in the placenta wall, or a pinched umbilical cord. Kernicterus is another common cause of cerebral palsy in babies. It is a blood-related injury caused by a high degree of jaundice and may lead to cerebral palsy or other life-threatening conditions.

Protect Your Child's Legal Rights

The inability of the attending medical staff to diagnose and respond to birth complications can cause birth injuries and lead to cerebral palsy. If your child has been a victim of medical negligence, contact a Willens cerebral palsy attorney from Willens Law Offices to learn about protecting your child's legal rights. Call us today at (312) 957-4166.

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