Cerebral palsy is a disorder in which damage to the brain’s motor areas impairs a person’s ability to control movement and posture. It affects one in every 2,000 infants, and an estimated 500,000 Americans are living with some form of cerebral palsy.
Signs of cerebral palsy
Cerebral palsy symptoms appear early on, with signs surfacing within the first three years of life, and may be congenital or acquired during the birthing process. Because the infant’s motor areas of the brain failed to develop properly or became damaged, cerebral palsy symptoms include difficulty with walking, maintaining balance and fine motor skills.
The disorder is not progressive, which means that symptoms of cerebral palsy do not worsen over time. But people with cerebral palsy face difficult medical and social challenges in their lives, as well as treatment for their condition.
Children with cerebral palsy symptoms typically have a congenital malformation of the brain. Doctors currently do not know the cause of these birth defects. Other types of cerebral palsy may be caused by asphyxia—insufficient oxygen to the brain during birth. The parents of a child with CP may require the services of a cerebral palsy attorney.
Medical malpractice sometimes to blame
In most cases, cerebral palsy results from things that happen before birth, disrupting normal development of the brain. Evidence suggests that in some cases, however, medical malpractice is to blame; in such instances, a birth injury lawyer may be able to help.
A birth injury—ranging from mild to debilitating—can occur during the delivery, which can lead to cerebral palsy in an infant when medical providers (doctors, nurses, assistants or hospital staff) fail to follow proper procedures, leading to your child’s condition.
The following mistakes have been linked to birth injuries and permanent brain damage in infants:
• Failing to take the baby out of the birth canal in a
• Failing to identify and provide treatment for a seizure
• Failing to detect that the umbilical cord is wrapped around the
• Failing to recognize mechanical trauma—such as when
the baby is too large for normal delivery, thus requiring
a Caesarean section
• Failing to respond to a changing fetal heart rate
• Failing to recognize and treat meningitis
• Improper use of forceps
It is important for parents to understand what caused their infant’s cerebral palsy. Too often, cerebral palsy might have been prevented had a doctor not acted negligently before and during the birth. Investigating whether or not your child’s condition could have been prevented requires experienced legal assistance.
Learn the answers to frequently asked questions about cerebral palsy.
Birth injury attorneys at Hissey Kientz can help you determine the right course of action for your family. If your child shows signs or symptoms of cerebral palsy, call us toll-free at (866) 275-4454 or fill out a free online case evaluation form to the right of this page.