Connecticut Cerebral Palsy Lawyer

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The birth of an infant is typically a very exciting time for people. Parents generally spend a great deal of time planning for the event, thinking about what the new life will bring, and how the child will fit into the world. Unfortunately, this exciting time can quickly become stressful, worrisome, and challenging, especially if an infant is diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth.

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a series of neurological disorders that affects the part of the brain that controls movement and motor functions. This can cause difficulties in muscle control, motor skills, and speaking ability. Although there are many varying degrees of severity, for some it can be a very severe disability. In more mild cases, cerebral palsy can have a rather small effect on the body, such as affecting the motor control of only one limb. In more severe states, CP can cause patients to lose all control of their limbs, rendering them immobile. It can also take away the ability to speak or eat without assistance. Many people with milder forms of CP live relatively normal lives. However, those who have a more severe form of cerebral palsy will likely necessitate regular or constant care throughout their lives.

Most cases of cerebral palsy are caused by a trauma to the brain. This can occur at any time, from the time when a fetus is still in the uterus to early childhood. During the early years of life, the brain is at its peak development stage, and any slight trauma can potentially have lifelong repercussions.

Congenital cerebral palsy accounts for approximately 70 percent of cerebral palsy cases; the cause of most of these cases is unknown. Risk factors that may contribute to this type of cerebral palsy include, but are not limited to:

a mother's development of an infection during pregnancy
a mother's contraction of an illness, such as measles, during pregnancy
an incompatibility between a mother and fetus' blood types
medication or drugs administered to a mother during pregnancy
lack of prenatal care

Approximately 10 percent of cerebral diagnoses are cases in which cerebral palsy was acquired after birth. This can occur as a result of brain damage in the first few months of life, from brain infection or from a brain injury in a car accident, fall, or child abuse.

An additional 20 percent of cerebral palsy cases may be related to brain injury that occurred during the birthing process. Asphyxia (a lack of oxygen to the brain) or brain injury that results in bleeding may lead to the development of cerebral palsy. Asphyxia may occur from a premature separation of the placenta, strangulation by the umbilical cord, or other complications. Bleeding of the brain may come from pressure related to a vaginal delivery or some sort of trauma during the birth process.

Signs of cerebral palsy may include:

difficulty trying to perform voluntary motor functions, such as moving a hand or arm or reaching for a toy
tight muscles
walking with splayed legs
walking on toes
hearing impairments
speech impairments
visual impairments
learning disabilities

Typically, doctors, hospitals, and medical professionals take every measure they can to avoid complications during labor. They will set up monitoring devices to monitor the fetus and the mother, and check in on their patients regularly. These precautions significantly reduce the risk of cerebral palsy from birthing complications.

Regardless of the precautions that medical professionals take, however, there are still the chance that a mistake or error can occur during labor and can lead to cerebral palsy. If an injury occurs to a child during the course of labor, it may not be the fault of the doctor or the hospital. Doctors are held liable for birth injuries under a set of standards. Doctors and hospitals have a duty to their patients, or infants in the case of birth, meaning that the doctor must be a part of the delivery. To determine whether a doctor or hospital was at fault, an attorney versed in birth injury law must examine your claim and determine if a breach was made in the standard of care provided, if there were injuries, causation, and damages. If these elements are present, a claim may possibly be made.

If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy and you believe it may be the result of a birth related injury caused in part by medical negligence, it is important that you seek legal advice. An attorney well-versed in Connecticut medical malpractice law, specifically birth injuries, can help you navigate the legal process and determine what steps you will need to take next.


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