Cerebral palsy is a group of neurological disorders usually caused by brain abnormalities early in a child’s development or during delivery. The disorders affect muscle coordination, body movement and brain functioning. Most children who are born with cerebral palsy may not display symptoms until months or years later.
There are three types of cerebral palsy
- Spastic cerebral palsy – stiff muscles with jerky movement
- Athetoid cerebral palsy – uncontrolled movements, writhing
- Ataxic cerebral palsy – poor balance and coordination
- Also, a mixed type of cerebral palsy can occur, which is a mix of the different types of cerebral palsy.
Causes of Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is usually caused by non-progressive brain abnormalities in the part of the brain that control muscle function (“non-progressive” means that the brain abnormality does not cause ongoing brain degeneration). The brain damage associated with cerebral palsy can occur during pregnancy or during the birth delivery process, when the physician or a member of the birth delivery team delays the delivery or fails to monitor for signs of fetal distress.
The main causes of brain damage that lead to cerebral palsy can happen during pregnancy, during labor and delivery or from events after birth. The four most common are:
- Periventricular leukomalacia (PVL). This is damage to the white matter brain tissue. The majority of infants that are diagnosed with PVL will also have cerebral palsy.
- Cerebral dysgenesis. This is abnormal brain development and is the only one of the four main causes that is not from the result of an injury to the brain.
- Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). HIE is a brain injury that is the result of asphyxia to the brain. This lack of oxygen can happen during pregnancy, childbirth or from events after birth.
- Intracranial hemorrhage (IVH). IVH is hemorrhaging or bleeding in the brain. Bleeding can cause a hematoma that can damage brain tissue.
Medical-Legal Issues Involved In Cerebral Palsy Lawsuits
If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, there may be a connection between the improper pre-natal or birth delivery care and the development of this condition. In order to determine if there is a viable case to pursue, it must be established that the negligence of the physicians or medical staff are responsible for the development of the child’s cerebral palsy.
The evaluation process of a cerebral palsy case requires consultation with specialists such as obstetricians and neurologists to review the medical records. If the consulting physicians believe there is evidence to support a claim, a medical malpractice lawsuit may then be pursued. Some of the medical records that may be reviewed are:
- Physician / medical records. These can include prenatal care as well as labor and delivery facility records and physician care after birth.
- Fetal monitoring strips. These strips are used during delivery and can provide evidence of fetal distress during childbirth.
Cerebral Palsy Attorneys Protecting Disabled Children in Chicago, Illinois
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers understands the frustration and anger parents feel, knowing that their child’s cerebral palsy is due to a physician’s error. You can be assured that the cerebral palsy attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers has the experience, resources and commitment to pursue all responsible parties to see that your child receives full compensation for all elements of damages as set forth by the applicable laws.
Our sister site, Cerebral Palsy FAQ (www.cerebral-palsy-faq.org), remains one of the more comprehensive sources of information on: cerebral palsy diagnosis, cerebral palsy treatment options, and inspirational stories on people with CP
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