The birth of your child is an exhilarating event. The months and years that follow are filled with joy and exitement. However, if your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, you will have questions. How could this happen? What can I do? At Kline & Specter, PC, we can help. Our birth injury lawyers and our doctor/lawyer team have years of experience and can help you determine the cause and whether you and your child have legal recource. Please call us today for a free consultation.
Causes: There are many causes for cerebral palsy, including infections (such as German measles) during pregnancy or jaundice in the infant after birth, a condition that can damage brain cells if left untreated. Other problems that can occur are head trauma during labor and delivery and a prolonged shortage of oxygen in the brain (asphyxia), which can cause damage called hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. This can be caused by a number of factors, including a baby getting stuck in the birth canal or being choked by the umbilical cord. In some cases a doctor may fail to perform a C-section when one is necessary to ensure a healthy birth. Improper use of forceps or excessive use of vacuum extraction during childbirth can also lead to cerebral palsy as can failure to treat seizures or jaundice (with light therapy) after birth.
One group, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), which conducts research at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., estimates that birth complications including asphyxia account for 6 percent of congenital cerebral palsy cases. Other groups estimate birth complications in a greater percentage of cases.
Since a statute of limitations applies to lawsuits involving cerebral palsy, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible if you suspect medical malpractice. Call 800-243-1100 to speak with a cerebral palsy lawyer at the Philadelphia law firm of Kline & Specter. Our attorneys represent birth injury victims in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and nationwide.
Risk factors: Among the risk factors for cerebral palsy are low birth weight, breech presentation at birth, complicated labor and delivery including vascular and respiratory problems of the baby, multiple births, and vaginal bleeding late in pregnancy. Cerebral palsy is generally not diagnosed until a child is older, usually two or three years old.
Types of cerebral palsy: There are three basic categories of cerebral palsy, including spastic diplegia, which affects roughly 80 percent of patients. They suffer stiff and permanently contracted muscles and also in some cases hemiparetic tremors, an uncontrollable shaking of the limbs on one side of the body. Patients with athetoid, or dyskinetic, cerebral palsy have slow, writhing, uncontrolled movements of the hands, feet, arms, legs and sometimes of the facial muscles and tongue, a condition that causes grimacing and drooling. Ataxic cerebral palsy, a rare form of the ailment, affects balance and depth perception, causing sufferers to walk unsteadily and to have trouble with tasks such as writing or buttoning a shirt. Some patients have a combination of more than one form of cerebral palsy.
Other medical disorders associated with cerebral palsy: Disorders such as cerebral palsy that involve brain impairment can also cause seizures and affect intellectual development. Two-thirds of children with cerebral palsy suffer mild or moderate intellectual impairment, while the other one-third are not affected. As many as half suffer seizures, according to NINDS. Other related problems for cerebral palsy sufferers include growth problems, impaired vision or hearing, and abnormal sensation and perception accompanied with a diminished ability to experience basic sensations such as touch and pain, and poor nutrition caused by difficult with eating and swallowing.
For more about cerebral palsy, including information on the discovery of the disorder, its different forms, associated medical disorders, causes of cerebral palsy, risk factors, prevention, the early signs and diagnosis of cerebral palsy, prevention, management and treatment, check with these INFORMATION RESOURCES:
If your child has cerebral palsy or another birth injury as the result of possible medical malpractice, call 800-243-1100 to speak with one of the cerebral palsy attorneys at Kline & Specter.
Kline & Specter handles cerebral palsy lawsuits in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Nationwide, working with local attorneys in states outside PA, NJ and DE.