What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a brain disorder that affects a person’s motor skills, muscle tone and movement. CP is usually caused by brain damage before or during a child’s birth. The disorder can also occur within the first three to five years of a child’s life. Because cerebral palsy is the result of brain damage, people with CP may also have vision and hearing problems, speech problems, as well as learning disabilities. Approximately 500,000 children and adults in the United States have CP, which is one of the most common disorders to occur before or immediately after birth.
There are three types of cerebral palsy. Spastic cerebral palsy results in stiffness and difficulties with movement. Athetoid cerebral palsy is associated with involuntary or uncontrollable movements. Finally, ataxic cerebral palsy causes problems with a person’s balance and depth perception.
While there is no cure for CP, it does not get worse over time. However, because the condition affects muscle control and movement, people with CP have difficulty standing still. In addition, they may also experience issues with bladder and bowel control, breathing and eating. People with CP may also have learning difficulties.
What Causes Cerebral Palsy?
The exact cause of CP is unknown. However, most cases of CP result from problems during pregnancy in which the baby’s brain is damaged or doesn’t develop properly. Infections, maternal health problems and genetic disorders are contributing factors that can cause CP. In some rare cases, CP can result due to problems during labor and delivery. Babies weighing less than 3.3 pounds, as well as twins and triplets, are at a greater risk of being diagnosed with the condition.
CP can also develop during early childhood as a result of brain damage. Such brain damage can be caused by bacterial meningitis, lead poisoning, shaken baby syndrome, and malnutrition. Infants not properly restrained during an automobile accident may also suffer from brain damage that can lead to CP.
How Can Cerebral Palsy Be Prevented?
Because the exact cause of CP is unknown, there is no single way to prevent the disorder. There are, however, certain actions parents can take to reduce their child’s risk of being diagnosed with CP. For example, mothers can eat a healthy diet during pregnancy and avoid drinking alcohol and taking illegal drugs. Mothers with diabetes, anemia, seizure disorders and high blood pressure should control these medical conditions by seeking medical care during pregnancy. Finally, mothers should take prenatal vitamins and discuss any medications they are taking with their doctors to prevent possible birth defects.
As the child gets older, parents should never shake their child, which can cause brain damage. Moreover, parents should use an infant car seat to protect their child from possible injuries during a car accident. In addition, parents should protect their child from lead exposure, and they should make sure their children are immunized to protect them against serious infections that can lead to brain damage that can cause CP.
How Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan, PLLC Can Help If Your Child was Diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy
If your child was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, our firm may be able to help. In some cases, medical professionals may not have acted to prevent certain risks that can lead to cerebral palsy. As a result, we will thoroughly investigate your child’s medical history, including all medical records that may indicate that malpractice caused your child’s condition. We will also consult with pediatric specialists about your child’s CP to attempt to identify when and how the condition was caused. Finally, we will recover compensation from those responsible for your child’s cerebral palsy. Contact us for more information.