Cerebral Palsy Lawyer

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Cerebral palsy is a term to used to describe a brain disorder, or series of neurological disorders, that affect the muscles in the body. These disorders can cause a variety of problems including affecting muscle control, coordination, and body movement. A diagnosis of cerebral palsy can be overwhelming for any parent to hear. Trying to determine how a child developed cerebral palsy may be even more challenging and trying, especially in instances that may have been avoidable.

There are many different factors that may be attributed to the development of cerebral palsy. Congenital cerebral palsy is the most commonly occurring cerebral palsy, affecting approximately 70 percent of people with cerebral palsy. Congenital cerebral palsy occurs while a fetus is still in the uterus, before birth, or during birth or immediately following birth. Risk factors contributing to developing cerebral palsy at this point include a mother's contraction of the measles during pregnancy; a mother's development of an infection during pregnancy; a mother's development of a fever during pregnancy; incompatibility between a mother's blood and a fetus' blood; drugs or medication administered to a mother during pregnancy; or any other number of factors. In addition, complications during the birthing process, such as a deprivation of oxygen to the brain or brain bleeding may also lead to congenital cerebral palsy. While doctors and hospitals generally take all precautions to avoid such instances, mistakes and errors still do happen.

What kind of mistakes can lead to the development of cerebral palsy?
When a woman is pregnant, her doctor is responsible for both her health and the health of her unborn child. A failure to properly date the pregnancy may result in a premature birth. This is extremely dangerous to infants because their internal organs, including their lungs and brain, may not have matured fully enough to sustain life properly. If the brain has not developed enough, the child may have a permanent brain injury that results in cerebral palsy. Underdeveloped lungs can also cause the condition. If the baby's lungs are not fully capable of oxygenating the blood and brain, the absence of oxygen can cause cerebral palsy.

Undiagnosed infections that occur during pregnancy, such as German measles, also called rubella; this infection can spread into the baby's brain causing bleeding or damage to the delicate brain tissue and have an adverse effect on the growing fetus. Another common infection transmitted to an unborn child during pregnancy is cytomegalovirus (CMV), which can cause a weakened immune system and may cause serious disabilities, such as cerebral palsy. The mother's physician is responsible for diagnosing infections in the mother, especially if they may be a potential threat to the baby, as well as providing treatment to stop the problem.

There are many things that can go wrong during labor. The physician and medical team are responsible for safely delivering the infant into the world. Sometimes the unthinkable happens and the labor is stalled. This may happen because the baby is very large, or because the mother's birth canal is very small, or for a number of other reasons. If this happens the doctor needs to take immediate action to remove the child from the birth canal, as the cord may be wrapped around the baby's neck and might be denying the brain of oxygen. Other issues may also arise in these situations, causing further potential for a baby to suffer from asphyxia (lack of oxygen to the brain). Failure to act swiftly can cause brain damage in the central cortex and lead to cerebral palsy.

If the baby gets stuck in the womb because his or her shoulder can get jammed behind the mother's pelvic bone; this is called shoulder dystocia. When shoulder dystocia occurs during labor, it is an emergency, as the doctor will need to perform certain actions in order to see the baby delivered. Doctors are trained to try to turn the baby using various maneuvers and equipment. Sometimes they use excessive force and may break the clavicle of the infant. In the worst case, they may damage the nerves in the back of the neck of the child or cause bleeding to occur inside the brain if they find it necessary to use forceps or a vacuum to help extract the baby from the womb. Either of these situations can lead to cerebral palsy.

When should you consult a lawyer regarding cerebral palsy?
In the event that you believe your child developed cerebral palsy because of a medical mistake or birth injury that could have been avoided, or because of medical negligence, it is important to seek the assistance of an attorney. Cerebral palsy lawyers are knowledgeable about the condition and can better assist you in the legal process. They will examine medical records and assess the case to make sure it is a valid claim before advising parents of their numerous possibilities. A lawyer whose focus is birth injuries and cerebral palsy will walk the parents through the procedures necessary to obtain justice and compensation for their child's life-changing condition.


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