Washington Cerebral Palsy Lawyer

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What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a term that refers to a condition, or group of conditions, that are chronic neurological disorders. The neurological disorders appear in infancy or early childhood and can effect a child's movement, posture, and muscle coordination. While cerebral palsy affects an individual's muscle coordination, it does not actually occur in the muscles, but rather is a condition that effects the parts of the brain that control motor function and muscle coordination.

Most children diagnosed with cerebral palsy are born with the disability, the causes of which are unknown; however, it may not be detected in an infant until a few months after birth or in early childhood. Some children may develop cerebral palsy as a result of brain injury or lack of oxygen to the brain during birth, while others may develop cerebral palsy as a result of a brain injury attributed to a car accident, a fall, or child abuse.

Early signs of cerebral palsy include a lack of muscle coordination when trying to perform voluntary movements, such as moving a hand, arm, leg, or foot. In addition, young children with cerebral palsy may display stiff or tight muscles, as well as exaggerated reflexes. They may also drag their feet or legs or walk on their toes. Cerebral palsy can also effect children's speech, hearing, and sight, as well as cause learning disabilities.

What causes cerebral palsy?

The cause for the majority of cerebral palsy cases, which are cases of congenital cerebral palsy that typically occur while a fetus is still in the uterus, is unknown. Congenital cerebral palsy is present when a baby is born, although it may remain undetected for some time after birth.

About 10 percent of cerebral palsy cases occur after an infant is born. In these instances, cerebral palsy may be the result of brain infections, such as meningitis. Such cases may also be attributed to brain injury from car accidents, falls, or child abuse.

Approximately 20 percent of congenital cerebral palsy cases may be attributed to incidents that occurred during the birthing process, such as from lack of oxygen to the brain or bleeding of the brain as a result of a brain injury.

Risk factors that may increase the chances of cerebral palsy, but do not by any means guarantee a child will be born with cerebral palsy, include, but are not limited to: low birth weight, premature birth, problems with the placenta, incompatibility of blood types between mother and infant, a mother's infection during pregnancy with measles, or a mother's bacterial infection during pregnancy.

What happens if your child is diagnosed with cerebral palsy and you believe it may be related to a birthing incident?

While the cause for most cerebral palsy cases is unknown, there are circumstances that occur during the birthing process that may result in a child having cerebral palsy. Instances in which the baby has a lack of oxygen, or that cause bleeding on the brain, can result in cerebral palsy.

A lack of oxygen, or asphyxia, during the birthing process can be attributed to a few factors. These factors may include, but are not limited to, a premature separation of the placenta, strangulation by the umbilical cord, a slowed fetal heart rate over a prolonged period, or trouble getting an infant's shoulders through the birth canal. If one of these complications occurs, it is necessary to deliver a baby within 10 minutes to avoid brain damage. Delivery of a baby in which serious complications occur is done by Caesarean section.

Bleeding on the brain during birth can be caused by pressure on the skull during a vaginal delivery, or may be connected to some sort of trauma during the birthing process.

Medical professionals utilize a number of devices to monitor the conditions of labor, significantly reducing the potential for birth injury. However, mistakes and errors can still be made by doctors or other hospital staff.

If you believe that your child developed cerebral palsy as a result of a birth related-injury or complication that could have been avoided, it is highly recommended that you seek the legal advice of an attorney in the State of Washington. Making a claim that a birthing injury is related to medical negligence is challenging; an attorney must provide evidence to support a breach in the standard of care, causation, injury, and damages.

An attorney who is well-versed in medical negligence law in the State of Washington will be able to navigate you through the legal process and assist you in making your claim. When your child is involved, you want the best for him or her. A Washington-based attorney will do what he or she can to help.


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