Babies bring a whole new level of adventure into the lives of their loved ones. Yet, they also bring countless concerns, particularly when they fail to reach conventional milestones, like rolling over, crawling or walking. Combine these with more significant issues as a child ages, like continued difficulty lifting one‘s head, physical stiffness or an inability to sit without support and the possibility of a motor disability may exist.
Cerebral palsy (CP) is the most common motor disability among children. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cerebral Palsy occurs in 1 out of every 303 eight-year-old U.S. children, and approximately 10,000 babies will develop CP each year. It is 1.2 times more frequent in males than females, and the incident rate is significantly lower in Hispanics versus Caucasian or African American children.
Cerebral Palsy is a condition that affects the coordination between the brain and the body‘s muscles, thus impacting a child‘s ability to move and maintain posture. It is typically caused when the brain develops abnormally or is damaged during development.
Depending on the area and extent of damage, a child can have a very mild condition which results in awkwardness or clumsiness. More moderate cases may involve involuntary movement, speech problems or muscle tightness. And, more severe occurrences could include sight, hearing or speech impairment, difficulty swallowing, incontinence or mental retardation.
If the damage occurs before birth, it is considered “congenital” cerebral palsy, affecting nearly 70% of the children diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Some potential causes before birth involve infections contracted by the mother, a lack of blood supply and genetic conditions.
If the damage occurs during birth, it is still defined as “congenital”; however, this type only affects about 20% of those with a formal cerebral palsy diagnosis. During birth, a child can have problems from premature birth, delivery complications, having low birth weight or experiencing severe jaundice.
When symptoms appear after birth, typically after 28 days, it is considered “acquired” cerebral palsy. This type affects the remaining 10% diagnosed. Situations that can develop during this time include, a lack of oxygen, bleeding of the brain, or even a brain injury from a fall, car accident or physical abuse.
Of the many ways that a child may suffer cerebral palsy, medical malpractice is only one cause of the condition. The estimates of medical negligence related cerebral palsy vary wildly from 4% to 25%. However, even one case of medical malpractice leading to sever and permanent damage to a child is too many.
If you believe your child has suffered cerebral palsy as a result of medical negligence, you should seek the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible to insure that your rights and the rights of your child are fully protected.