Over 10,000 children are diagnosed with cerebral palsy every year, which makes it the most common childhood physical disability in the United States. Unfortunately, there is no cure for cerebral palsy, however there are treatments available that can improve the patient’s quality of life.
What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that affects body movement, motor skills, and muscle control. A child with cerebral palsy may struggle to control his bladder or bowels, or may have trouble performing simple tasks such as eating or standing still. There are three different types of cerebral palsy, including:
- Spastic: This type of cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the motor cortex area of the brain. Children with spastic cerebral damage will experience muscle stiffness and may have difficulty controlling their movements.
- Athetoid: Children with athetoid cerebral palsy have suffered damage to the basal ganglia. This type of cerebral palsy is characterized by involuntary movements and loss of coordination skills.
- Ataxic: If the cerebellum has been damaged, your child may be diagnosed with ataxic cerebral palsy, which leads to coordination issues and poor depth perception.
It’s important to note that every case of cerebral palsy is unique, so your child may exhibit symptoms that vary from those listed above. It’s possible that your child could have damaged multiple parts of his brain, and therefore may have a combination of two or more of these types of cerebral palsy.
Causes of Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is caused by brain damage that takes place when the child’s brain is not fully developed. A child can develop cerebral palsy before birth or within the first few years of his life. However, cerebral palsy is often caused by a doctor’s mistake in the delivery room.
Medical professionals should be closely monitoring a baby’s vital signs while the mother is in labor. But, sometimes these healthcare providers fail to spot warning signs that the baby is losing oxygen. If the baby is deprived of oxygen for too long, his brain cells will begin to die, and he may be diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Babies that are dropped, pulled out of the birth canal forcefully, or injured by forceps may also develop cerebral palsy. Also, if a mother is in labor for a long period of time—typically more than 18 hours—her baby may develop cerebral palsy.
Cerebral palsy does not get worse over time, but your child will still have to live with this condition for the rest of his life. Treatment is imperative to ensure your child can be as self-sufficient as possible, but it is costly. If your child’s cerebral palsy was caused by a medical professional’s careless mistake, you and your family may be entitled to compensation to help you cover these costs.
Legal Representation for Birth Injury Victims
Proving that a healthcare professional’s mistake led to your child’s cerebral palsy can be complicated, which is why you will need a team of experienced attorneys on your side. If your child has cerebral palsy caused by a healthcare professional’s negligence, contact Carpenter, Zuckerman, and Rowley today to discuss your case.