What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral Palsy is a condition caused by damage to the brain, usually occurring immediately before, during or shortly after birth. The term cerebral palsy is not a diagnosis, but rather it provides a useful therapeutic classification for children with involuntary movements, in coordination and static spastic paresis. It is not curable, but with therapy, education and extensive medical assistance, some patients with Cerebral Palsy can adjust and lead productive lives. However, those with severe Cerebral Palsy, unfortunately, their lives may be totally dependent on the assistance of families, medical communities and others entities for their entire lives.
Cause of Cerebral Palsy - Lack of Oxygen During Birth
During the birth, many times the child’s ability to obtain needed oxygen is a chief cause of Cerebral Palsy. It may result from premature separation of the placenta, too large of baby for the birth canal or pelvis, too long or too abrupt of labor, awkward and/or breech deliveries, cord entanglement, excessive Pitocin, shoulder dystocia, failure to order timely cesarean (c-section), placenta abruptus, excessive force or use of vacuum or forceps, and ruptured uterus. Infant’s symptoms of oxygen deprivation may include but are not limited to:
- low apgar scores
- acidosis (low ph)
- blue skin tone
- cerebral edema
- difficulty breathing on its own
- severely bruised at birth
- evidence of forced delivery or
- excessive trauma during birth
Cerebral Palsy Diagnosis Overview
If your child was injured during the birthing process and the medical diagnosis includes any of the following, then there may be evidence of a birthing injury to your child that has resulted in cerebral palsy. Not until a thorough review of all necessary medical records and fetal heart monitor strips by a Cerebral Palsy doctor or other Cerebral Palsy expert, can a diagnosis of cerebral palsy be confirmed. Some important indications of cerebral palsy may include any of the following:
- Hypoxic – Ischemic Encephalopathy,
- Birth Asphyxia,
- Static Encephalopathy,
- Neonatal Depression,
- Traumatic Birth or
- Developmental Delays
Types of Categories of Cerebral Palsy
Spastic Cerebral Palsy- Spastic syndromes are the most common, representing about 70% of all Cerebral Palsy cases. The spasticity is due to upper motor neuron involvement and may mildly or severely affect motor function. The affected limbs appear stiff and difficult to move. These limbs are usually underdeveloped and show increased deep tendon reflexes and muscular hypertonicity, weakness and a tendency to contractures
Athetoid Cerebral Palsy- Athetoid or dyskinetic syndromes occur in about 20% of the Cerebral Palsy cases and usually result from basal ganglia involvement. The resultant slow writhing, involuntary or uncontrolled movements may affect the extremities (athetoid) or proximal parts of the limbs and trunk
Ataxic Cerebral Palsy - Ataxic Syndromes are very uncommon, usually affecting less than 10% of the Cerebral Palsy cases and result from involvement of the cerebellum or its pathways and produce weakness, incoordination, wide-based gait, imbalance and difficulty in depth perception.
Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit - Medical Malpractice Legal Actions
If your baby has been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and you believe that the medical providers (OB/GYN,Doctors, Nurses, and/or assistants and hospital staff) actions or omissions contributed to your child’s present condition or you have been told that the diagnosis or symptoms indicate that a birth trauma or birth injury may have injured your child, then you may have a legal action for medical malpractice.Medical Malpractice is a based on evidence of a negligent act and/or omission by a doctor, hospital, nurse or other health care provider which proximately caused or contributed to the injuries or damages to the child.
In order to make a claim for medical malpractice, there must be a departure from an accepted custom or practice which caused the injury. In these cases medical experts must be hired to help prove the negligent act or omission and testify as to what the standard of care is AND whether such acts caused the child’s injuries. Other experts ranging from nursing experts, economists, future life care planners (cost of past and future medical treatments, nursing care, education, evaluations, home care, modifications, ..etc), and other experts needed to prove the injuries and damages suffered by the child and their parents.