Pennsylvania Cerebral Palsy Lawyer

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Learning that your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy (CP) can be a stressful time for you and your family. Cerebral palsy is a medical issue for which there is currently no known cure. It typically requires medical treatment and various therapies throughout an individual's lifetime to manage it. CP presents people with a lifelong challenge that affects children and families. By educating yourself and finding means of support and assistance, you can learn how to manage cerebral palsy and take more control over how it affects your life, as well as your child's.

What is cerebral palsy and what causes it?

Cerebral palsy is a group of neurological disorders that affect movement, muscle control, and posture. The neurological disorders are caused by damage to the areas of the brain that control muscle movement and motor functions. While cerebral palsy is a condition that affects movement, it does not actually occur in muscles or nerves.

Early signs of cerebral palsy 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; or walking on toes. In addition, some children with cerebral palsy may have visual, speech, or hearing impairments, or learning disabilities. Cerebral palsy may go undiagnosed for months after birth or even until a child enters early childhood.

The majority of infants diagnosed with cerebral palsy are born with it; typically the causes of CP in these cases are unknown. Risk factors that may contribute to the development of cerebral palsy 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's blood; drugs or medication administered to a mother during pregnancy; or any other number of factors.

Approximately 10 percent of cerebral palsy cases are caused after a child is born. Cerebral palsy cases like these are often attributed to a brain infection an infant may have, such as meningitis or encephalitis, or from brain trauma associated with car accidents, falls, or child abuse.

The other cases of cerebral palsy occur as a result of a birthing injury. Asphyxia (lack of oxygen to the brain) or bleeding of the brain are two types of birthing injury that can lead to 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.

Why might you need legal assistance?

Doctors and medical professionals typically 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, there are still chances of mistakes or errors occurring during labor that can lead to cerebral palsy. For instance, a complication during labor can necessitate a quick delivery (within 10 minutes or less) to avoid brain injury. Typically, babies in these situations are delivered using a caesarean section. However, there may be times when a doctor may not perform a caesarean section quickly enough, resulting in brain injury and, potentially, cerebral palsy. In addition, there are chances, however small, that an infant may suffer from trauma to the head during injury that can lead to brain injury and cerebral palsy.

In the event that you suspect your child developed brain injury as the result of medical negligence, it is highly recommended that you seek the advice of a Pennsylvania attorney specializing in medical negligence and birth injury cases.

Birth injury medical negligence cases are challenging and difficult to prove. To make a claim that will hold up legally, an attorney must prove that there was a breach in the standard of care, causation, injury, and damages. A lawyer who is well-versed in Pennsylvania medical malpractice law will be able to guide you through the legal process, assess your case to determine whether or not you can make a claim, and pursue justice.


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