Cerebral Palsy And Newborns

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Cerebral palsy (CP) is a neurological disorder that can affect people of all ages, although it usually develops during gestation, delivery, or in the first few years of life. It is especially hard for a mother to carry a child for nine months, and then discover, after delivery, that the baby has cerebral palsy through some wrong action, mistake, or misdiagnosis made by her doctor before or during the delivery.

A physician may not immediately discover that a newborn has cerebral palsy. It often takes weeks or months for the symptoms of cerebral palsy to manifest themselves. Even though there may be no cerebral palsy symptoms when the child is a newborn, the condition may still exist. There are some signs a parent can be on the lookout for that may alert parents that the condition may exist.

Newborns that may have CP may have a difficult time learning how to feed correctly. They may display a high amount of irritability or fussiness and might, at times, emit an abnormal, high-pitched cry. They may favor one side of their body over the other and have low muscle tone. Some newborns with cerebral palsy are very lethargic and have a lack the alertness that other babies their age have. Seizures, staring spells, eye fluttering, and body twitching are all signs that point to a problem in the newborn's brain, which might be a moderate to severe case of cerebral palsy.

Sophisticated testing methods, such as a CT scan or an MRI, can help give medical staff a better idea of the problems the newborn may be facing. A common reaction from parents of a newborn with cerebral palsy is a severe sense of guilt. Birth defects and congenital malformations, however, can be caused by a number of factors that may have nothing to do with the prenatal care. Exposure of the fetus to various chemicals is one of the risk factors that can cause cerebral palsy in a newborn. Certain infections that the mother unwittingly contracts while pregnant can cause damage to brain tissue and result in brain damage leading to CP.

Birth injuries sustained during labor are also to blame for some newborns having cerebral palsy. If the labor has stalled and the physician leaves the child in the birth canal for too long, the brain gets insufficient oxygen, causing death of brain cells and subsequent brain damage. If a physician misuses forceps or a vacuum while trying to extract the baby during a stalled labor, cerebral palsy may result to to brain damage sustained during the procedure.

If the heart rate on an infant drops during the labor, it means that the baby is not tolerating the labor well. In situations such as this, doctors need to make a quick decision whether to perform a cesarean section or to let the labor progress naturally. If the doctor makes the wrong choice, the baby may be deprived of oxygen long enough for the brain to become damaged.

The doctors and nurses that care for the expectant mother and her unborn child are solely responsible for providing safe and effective care before, during, and after birth. When procedure is not followed and the standard of care is broken, permanent brain damage to the unborn child can occur. Misuse of the forceps or vacuum can cause cerebral palsy in newborns, and, in a situation like this, the medical personnel responsible need to be held accountable.

An experienced birth injury lawyer is knowledgeable in handling lawsuits that pertain to cerebral palsy in newborns caused by medical malpractice. These lawyers are best able to handle a cerebral palsy lawsuit and will be able to build a strong case against the physician in order to get a fair settlement for the injured newborn. While compensation is in no way equal to the damage cerebral palsy can cause to a newborn's body and their quality of life, it will help the parents better afford good health care and therapy, and other needs that may arise from their child's condition.


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