Cerebral Palsy can be the result of a medical mistake
While there is a current trend to re-diagnose adults with Cerebral Palsy (CP) as being Bi-polar, Cerebral Palsy is something most of us have seen. It is the most common motor disability seen in childhood according to the CDC. A person with this medical condition has reduced control over body movements and posture. 80% of children with Cerebral Palsy have the type known as Spastic CP.
Causes of Cerebral Palsy
While Cerebral Palsy isn’t always caused by an injury during birth, a shortage of oxygen supply during delivery is often a cause of this disabling condition. This type of birth injury is frequently the result of a medical mistake that allowed the child to be deprived of adequate oxygen during pregnancy, labor or delivery. Lack of oxygen causes brain damage, which has been clearly implicated in the development of Cerebral Palsy. For example, injury during birth could rupture blood vessels reducing blood flow to the brain and starving it of essential oxygen. It has been proven that during a trauma, infection and asphyxia may cause Cerebral Palsy at any age.
About 20% of cerebral palsy cases each year are the result of brain injury during birth. Many of these cases could be prevented.
Other causes can be related to care during pregnancy. Medications taken by the mother may cause random mutations within the genes controlling brain development. A maternal infection could disrupt blood flow to the developing brain, or an infant infection could cause inflammation which damages the brain.
Complications of Cerebral Palsy
Unfortunately, Cerebral Palsy is accompanied by other developmental problems. One study conducted in Georgia, found that 60% of the eight year olds they studied had an additional developmental disability. Reduced mental function was seen in 40% of these children. Epilepsy was seen in 35% of the children. 25% of the children displayed both intellectual disability and epilepsy. 15% showed impaired speech, vision and hearing as additional problems.
A child with cerebral palsy may experience significant problems with sitting up and walking, or be affected by involuntary actions such as drooling. This is true for 33% of those with this condition.
One study, conducted across four states, found that only 56% of the children studied could walk independently at the age of eight. Hand-held mobility devices enabled another 11% to gain some walking ability. Another study found that 41% were limited in the ability to crawl, walk, run or play.
Fine motor skills are seriously impacted. The child may find writing or cutting with scissors extremely challenging.
Economic Costs of Cerebral Palsy
Because Cerebral Palsy has no known cure, helping a child who has cerebral palsy experience a full and meaningful life is a challenge. Those 50% who don’t suffer from reduced mental function still face many obstacles in life.
Medical costs tend to be 10 times higher for a CP child. If intellectual disability is present as well, costs can be up to 26 times higher. The CDC estimates that over a lifetime it can cost nearly $1 million to care for someone with Cerebral Palsy, based on the value of the US dollar in 2003.
Proving Medical Malpractice
Parents of children with cerebral palsy are often left with the incorrect impression that their child simply has a condition that could not have been prevented. Yet there may have been some hidden cause or negligence of which the parents are unaware. If the mother was bleeding or had severe proteinuria in late pregnancy, thyroid problems or seizures during pregnancy, it is important to review how these conditions were treated. Cerebral Palsy has been linked to poor management of these conditions.
If you suspect your prenatal care was inadequate, or that delivery was not managed in the best way possible, you need to speak with a Cerebral Palsy lawyer who knows how to identify medical malpracticeOne of our Arizona Cerebral Palsy lawyers can help evaluate whether you have a claim against a doctor, midwife or hospital.
Medical malpractice can contribute to Cerebral Palsy. Parents who have a child suffering with Cerebral Palsy should call our AZ Cerebral Palsy lawyers now at 1-800-THE-EAGLE (1-800-843-3245) or SUBMIT A SHORT AND SIMPLE CASE FORM HERE.
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