The What, When, Why, and How of Cerebral Palsy
What Is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy is a disorder that affects the brain and nervous systems. The Mayo Clinic offers the following definition, “Cerebral palsy is a disorder of movement, muscle tone or posture that is caused by an insult to the immature, developing brain, most often before birth.” Though symptoms vary with each patient, typically, movement and coordination are significantly impacted, in addition to other neurological problems.
When does the damage occur? When do symptoms start showing?
Damage suffered while the brain is developing, causes the disorder. Most frequently, the injury is sustained prior to, or during birth. However, instances have occurred as late as 5 years into a child’s life. Though the causes of cerebral palsy are varied, some of the most common are:
- Maternal health problems
- Infections (which are contracted by the mother during pregnancy or by the infant after birth)
- Shaken baby syndrome
- Forceps injury during delivery
- Head injury
- Fetal Stroke
- Developmental abnormality
Children begin showing symptoms of cerebral palsy during the early developmental stages of childhood. If you or your pediatrician suspect that your child may be exhibiting signs/symptoms of cerebral palsy or a related disorder, it is crucial to receive a diagnosis as soon as possible. To arrive at a diagnosis, your child will need to undergo extensive testing including brain scans to determine if there is any impairment involving vision, hearing, speech, etc. An early diagnosis will ensure that your child is able to receive proper treatment as soon as possible which will help throughout the fundamental developmental years of infancy.
Why did the damage occur?
You should also ask “why did the damage occur?.” This is probably a difficult question to answer and without proper investigation, the origin of the injury may never be discovered. If you suspect that malpractice or negligence may have been a factor, it may be time to enlist an expert opinion. Though medical facilities pride themselves on offering superior care to their patients, sometimes things go wrong. An injury caused by forceps during delivery, an infection that arose from negligence, and inadequate prenatal care are among a few of the many instances of negligence or malpractice that can cause permanent damage to your child. The “why” may be the most troubling aspect of this disorder, particularly if you are unable to arrive at a clear answer. However, the “how” may help to get you the answers you are looking for.
How do you proceed?
If you are unsure as to how your child developed cerebral palsy or a similar disorder, and suspect that it could have been prevented, the issue is worth exploring. Some of the people that may be able to help include doctors, medical experts and attorneys. Law firms that have experience with birth injury and medical malpractice matters will have trusted experts and doctors that can evaluate your child’s circumstances and conduct a proper investigation to determine if your child’s developmental issues are a product of negligence. Many firms offer consultations in which you can speak with an attorney, at length, about your situation and obtain legal advice free of charge. In addition, law firms often offer legal representation with no out-of-pocket legal fees, in which you only pay for the services upon receiving compensation for your damages.
A disorder like cerebral palsy requires extensive treatment and personal care throughout the length of a patient’s life. This treatment can become extremely costly and quickly turn into a serious financial burden on a family. However, every parent wants the best for their children and will make significant sacrifices for their benefit. Your child’s health is worth taking the time to speak with someone that specializes in cases like yours. The worst outcome may be that you lose an hour of time to discuss the potential of your case with an expert. However, the best scenario is that you achieve not only justice for the damage that was done to your child, but you also receive compensation to ensure your child’s access to the best treatment and support services throughout the length of their life.