Cerebral Palsy is a developmental abnormality of the brain resulting in weakness and loss of coordination in the limbs. Cerebral Palsy results from damage to the brain during fetus development in the late stages of pregnancy, during the birth process, or in the first three years of childhood. Cerebral Palsy encompasses a broad range of disorders that affect movement and posture; speech and intelligence may also be severely impacted.
These disorders generally fall into three categories:
- Spastic Paralysis is the most common type of Cerebral Palsy and is associated with severe stiffness in muscles and limited range of motion.
- Athetosis is associated with involuntary writhing movements.
- Ataxia is a type of Cerebral Palsy. Ataxia includes a loss of balance, coordination and difficulty with depth perception.
There are also cases of Cerebral Palsy that demonstrate other nervous system disorders such as hearing loss, epilepsy and mental retardation. The severity of the disabilities associated with Cerebral Palsy vary greatly from child to child. Learn more about cerebral palsy by looking through our cerebral palsy glossary or calling a Louisville cerebral palsy attorney to discuss your legal options.
Causes of Cerebral Palsy Difficult to Pinpoint
Many cases of cerebral palsy are traced to the time shortly before or during birth, and are often linked to problems associated with low APGAR test scores. Some cerebral palsy babies have been linked to mothers who suffer from urinary tract infections or seizures during pregnancy. Many cases have been attributed to cerebral hypoxia, which is a lack of oxygen to the brain. Often hypoxia results when a fetus is in distress (fetal distress) in the womb. In these cases, the doctor or medical professional must closely monitor the mother and the baby to determine if a Caesarian section (C-Section) is necessary.
A delay in delivering the baby can cause brain damage. Serious physical trauma to the mother and problems with delivery room equipment (such as forceps or vacuum extractors) during the delivery process can put a baby at risk for brain damage, as well. Other cases have been traced to the RH factor, which is an incompatibility between the mother's blood and the blood of the baby. Finally, instances of cerebral palsy have been linked to infants suffering severe head trauma.
Timely Diagnosis of CP is Critical
Life altering disability can be minimized if early diagnosis is made. Babies from difficult pregnancies, premature births or traumatic births should be seen by doctors more frequently for checkups so as to monitor any irregularity in the child's movement, muscle development, reflexes and general development. Parents or doctors sometimes notice that the baby exhibits hypotonic (loose or floppy) muscles. This may alert them to a potential case of Cerebral Palsy.
Cerebral Palsy cannot be cured, but treatment options are available. The costs of treatment and the effects of the disease on the child's life can be overwhelming. Some of the causes of Cerebral Palsy are preventable and fast attention to warning signs can greatly improve a child's welfare. Management of Cerebral Palsy is aimed at improving movement, combined with prevention or surgical amelioration of fixed deformities. Cerebral Palsy is the result of negligence on the part of doctors and medical professionals.
If you believe that you or a loved one has developed cerebral palsy, you may have legal rights. Brett H. Oppenheimer, PLLC can help you in this process. Brett is a Kentucky cerebral palsy lawyer who will offer you a free consultation to discuss your situation and help you determine if you have a medical malpractice claim.
Contact a Kentucky cerebral palsy attorney that can assist you in investigating your concerns.
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