Cerebral Palsy – Your Questions, Answered

The Mayo Clinic reports that approximately two to four babies out of a thousand in the United States will be born with cerebral palsy. If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, you might have some questions about the condition.

What is cerebral palsy?

Cerebral palsy, according to the Mayo Clinic, is a “disorder of movement, muscle tone or posture that is caused by injury or abnormal development in the immature brain, most often before birth.” People with cerebral palsy often also have intellectual disabilities, vision and hearing problems, or seizures.

What types of cerebral palsy are there?

Spastic cerebral palsy accounts for 80% of cerebral palsy cases and is characterized by stiffness and difficulty moving. Ataxic cerebral palsy accounts for 10 percent of cases, and symptoms include distorted sense of balance, tremors, poor coordinated muscle movements and problems with depth perception. Finally, athetoid cerebral palsy accounts for the remaining 10% of cases and is characterized by slurred speech, involuntary movement, difficulty swallowing and low muscle tone.

What causes cerebral palsy?

In general, cerebral palsy is caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain or body, premature delivery, or birth trauma. Sometimes, delivery mistakes or medical malpractice might occur, resulting in cerebral palsy, but just because a child is born with cerebral palsy does not mean medical malpractice was involved. However, when it is, common causes of negligence include:

  • Failure to detect or properly treat infections in the mother
  • Not monitoring fetal heart rate before and during birth
  • Delay in performing a medically necessary cesarean section
  • Failure to detect a prolapsed umbilical cord

If a loved one has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy and you feel that a doctor might be at fault, contact an experienced Tucson birth injury attorney. Medical malpractice cases relating to birth injuries and delivery mistakes are complex issues, and an attorney can help you understand the technical issues involved, know what to expect, and prepare for every step of the lawsuit process.

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