March is Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month, and it is a time to bring attention to a condition that affects thousands of children and adults around the world. It’s a great time to educate yourself about cerebral palsy.
What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy is a developmental disorder and a leading cause of disability in children. It is the name given to a group of neurological disorders that can affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance. Cerebral palsy is caused by abnormal brain development or injury caused to a developing brain. Symptoms of cerebral palsy can vary depending on the person. There are four types of cerebral palsy:
- Spastic CP—the most common type, it affects 80% of people with cerebral palsy. People with spastic CP have increased muscle tone, which results in stiffness of the muscles and awkward movements.
- Dyskinetic CP—involved problems controlling the feet, legs, hand, and arms. The movements are uncontrollable and can be rapid and jerky.
- Ataxic CP—problems with balance and coordination. People with ataxic CP may have a hard time walking and making movements that require control.
- Mixed CP—involves symptoms of more than one CP.
What Causes Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy is caused by an abnormality in brain development, sometimes before a child is born. In some cases, the cause is not known. Factors can include:
- Premature birth—babies that are born very early are more likely to survive now but are also more likely to develop CP.
- Lack of oxygen during birth—a lack of oxygen to the brain during long and difficult labor and delivery can lead to CP.
- Infections during pregnancy—infections can lead to an increase in proteins called cytokines. Cytokines cause inflammation, which can lead to swelling in the baby’s brain that can cause CP.
- Injuries to the brain—an injury to the brain, such as in a car accident or a serious fall can lead to acquired CP.
Cerebral Palsy and Medical Negligence
Sometimes cerebral palsy is the result of negligence on the part of a medical provider. Doctors should be aware of things such as the risk factors for premature birth and other factors that can lead to CP. They should take the appropriate steps to minimize these risk factors. In addition, during the delivery process, doctors should carefully monitor the health of the baby and take steps to prevent oxygen deprivation. Failure to adhere to the standard of care may be medical malpractice.
Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you believe your child’s cerebral palsy may be the result of someone’s negligence, you should have an experienced attorney evaluate your case. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we’ve been helping injured children for over 50 years. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español.