Wyoming Cerebral Palsy Lawyer

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What is cerebral palsy (CP)?

Cerebral palsy is a term that refers to a condition, or group of chronic neurological conditions, that affect body movement and muscle coordination. These conditions appear in infancy or early childhood and permanently affect an individual, but the conditions do not worsen over time. While cerebral palsy has effects muscle movement, it does not occur in the muscles. Rather, cerebral palsy is caused by abnormalities in the areas of the brain that control the movement of muscles.

Most children who have cerebral palsy are born with it, although it may not be detected immediately. Some children who have cerebral palsy have it as a result of brain infections or from traumatic brain injury from a fall, car accident, 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 or leg), stiff or tight muscles, walking on toes, dragging a foot or leg, walking with a crouched gait, or having irregular muscle tone. Additional issues associated with cerebral palsy may include difficulty with swallowing, speech problems, visual impairment, seizures, skin disorders, and learning disabilities.

What are the causes of cerebral palsy?

There is no one particular cause of cerebral palsy, but rather, a variety of causes. Congenital cerebral palsy occurs as a result of brain injury while a fetus is still in the uterus. This type of cerebral palsy is present when a baby is born, but it can go undetected for some time. Congenital cerebral palsy accounts for approximately 70 percent of cerebral palsy cases; the cause of most of these cases is unknown.

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 due to a car accident, fall, or child abuse.

Congenital cerebral palsy may account for an additional 20 percent of CP cases; this additional 20 percent is diagnosed as CP that is related to a brain injury that occurred during the birthing process.

What happens if cerebral palsy occurred because of a birth related brain injury?

Occasionally, cerebral palsy is the result of brain injury to an infant during the birthing process. Some situations in which this could occur include a medical professional's failure to determine that a baby needed additional oxygen, as is often the case during a caesarean section or delaying a caesarean section. In addition, if a mother was treated with a harmful medication, or not advised to stop taking a harmful medication, brain injury could occur. Prolonged bleeding in an infant's brain, typically from head trauma, can also attribute 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 particular 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 determine whether or not the doctor breached his or her duty to the patient. If a breach of duty did occur, the doctor may be liable for damages. However, if an injury occurred but was not the fault of the doctor, or the injury could not have been prevented, regardless of a breach of duty, the situation can be more complex. Hospitals may also be held accountable for a wrongful injury if the nursing staff or doctors they hired performed inadequately.

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 Wyoming 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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