Brain Injury at Birth
Cerebral palsy is a general, somewhat nonspecific medical term which describes a brain injury to or disability of the brain, typically affecting one of the regions that controls the muscles and coordination of certain body movements.
Cerebral palsy can be caused by a brain injury at birth or brain damage sustained before, during or after childbirth. It can also occur to older children if they have suffered a head trauma or lack of oxygen.
Cerebral palsy is neither a disease nor an illness. It is a description of a physical impairment involving bodily motion. These motion problems can vary from subtle to severe. No two cases of cerebral palsy are alike; each patient presents with his or her own symptoms. Each case is as individual as the patient.
Developmental and learning disabilities may also occur in people who suffer from cerebral palsy. The severity of the disability may range from very slight to very severe. Patients with severe developmental disabilities often learn at a much slower rate, and may require special assistance. This includes extensive physical therapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy, as well as equipment, supplies and aids for daily living.
Individuals with these disabilities often require additional medical care, nursing care and attendant care in the home.
Oftentimes, the parents and siblings of children with cerebral palsy and developmental delay suffer financial and emotional stress because of the care demands which these children place on the family. Parents often need time for themselves and for their other children. Respite care is in short supply and can be very expensive. In addition, state and federal programs to assist children with cerebral palsy, developmental delay or other disabilities often have long waiting lists and are continually subject to budget cutbacks and shortfalls.
Cerebral palsy can be caused a number of different ways. It can be caused by an event that happens before delivery (such as infection, stroke or metabolic problem). It can also be caused during the birth process, such as not enough oxygen reaching the unborn child. Cerebral palsy and developmental delay can also occur after birth, as a result of infection, medical mistake, asphyxia or physical injury to the child.
Other causes of cerebral palsy and developmental delay can include:
- Oxygen depletion
- Rh incompatibility
- Brain infections
- Head injury or trauma
Many of the problems listed above could occur because of birth negligence, mistake, improper medical or nursing care, or a defective product. For instance, if a doctor or the hospital makes a mistake during the pregnancy or in childbirth, brain injuries to the child could be severe enough to cause cerebral palsy, developmental delay and/or seizures.
The only way to know for sure if your child’s injuries are due to carelessness, mistake or error is to have the facts and circumstances surrounding the injury confidentially evaluated by knowledgeable, experienced birth injury attorney and their team of experts.