Cerebral palsy is a term used to describe a group of chronic conditions affecting body movements and muscle coordination. It is caused by damage to one or more precise areas of the brain, typically happening during fetal development, or during infancy. It can also occur before, during or shortly following birth. Cerebral refers to the brain and Palsy to a disorder of movement or posture. If someone has cerebral palsy it means that because of an injury to their brain they are not able to use some of the muscles in their body in the normal way (palsy).
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Children with cerebral palsy may not be able to walk, talk, eat or play in the same ways as most other children. Cerebral palsy is neither progressive nor communicable. Children who have cerebral palsy will have it all their lives. Today in the United States, more people have cerebral palsy than any other developmental disability, including Down syndrome, epilepsy, and autism. Nearly two children out of every thousand born in this country have some type of cerebral palsy. Studies have shown that approximately 5,000 infants and toddlers and 1,200 to 1,500 preschoolers are diagnosed with cerebral palsy each year. Kids with mild cases of cerebral palsy occasionally recuperate by the time they are school-aged. In most cases, the movement and other problems associated with cerebral palsy affect what a child is able to learn and do to varying degrees throughout their life.
Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common type of cerebral palsy. It affects about 80 percent of all children with cerebral palsy. Children with this type of cerebral palsy have one or more tight muscle groups which limit movement. Children with spastic cerebral palsy have stiff and jerky movements because their muscles are too tight. They often have a hard time moving from one position to another. They may also have a hard time holding and letting go of objects. If your child has spastic cerebral palsy, it is because he or she has damage to the part of the brain that controls voluntary movements.
Children with ataxic cerebral palsy have low muscle tone and poor coordination of movements. This rare form of cerebral palsy affects the sense of balance and depth perception. Affected persons often have poor coordination and walk unsteadily with a wide based gait, placing their feet unusually far apart. About 10 percent of children with cerebral palsy have the athetoid cerebral palsy. Athetoid cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the cerebellum or basal ganglia.
These areas of the brain normally process the signals that enable smooth, coordinated movements as well as maintaining body posture. Individuals suffering from cerebral palsy can be bothered by muscle tightness or spasm; involuntary movement; disturbance in gait and mobility; abnormal sensation and perception; impairment of sight, hearing or speech; and seizures.
Medical mistakes during delivery cause thousands of cerebral palsy case each year. The following are just a few of the mistakes made during delivery that have caused children to be born with cerebral palsy: leaving the child in the birth canal too long causing a lack of oxygen to the brain; failure to recognize and treat seizures following delivery; failure to detect a prolapsed cord (the umbilical cord can wrap around the child’s neck, cutting off oxygen to the brain); excessive use of vacuum extraction; improper use of forceps; failure to perform a cesarean section in the presence of fetal distress; not responding to changes in the fetal heart rate; failure to plan a c-section; failure to respond to the mothers changing conditions, such as high blood pressure or toxemia; failure to timely diagnose and treat jaundice; and failure to timely diagnose and treat meningitis.
Legal Help For Victims Affected By Cerebral Palsy
If you or a loved had birth complications and your child suffers from Cerebral Palsy, please fill out the form at the right for a free case evaluation by a qualified malpractice attorney or call us at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).