Many parents are unaware of a disorder known as cerebral palsy, until their babies are diagnosed with it. Cerebral palsy has become a huge problem in the United States and it has been estimated that about 10,000 babies born in the United States each year will develop this devastating disorder. To date, approximately 2 to 3 children per 1,000 have cerebral palsy.
Cerebral palsy is a permanent disorder that appears in infancy or early childhood and affects body movement and muscle coordination. Abnormalities in the brain are generally attributed to cerebral palsy. Children with cerebral palsy often have difficulty when performing voluntary movements and may have stiff or tight muscles and exaggerated reflexes.
There is no cure for cerebral palsy, but the symptoms can be treated to help improve the child’s capabilities. Many children are able to enjoy life’s activities when their disabilities are properly managed. The earlier the treatment begins, the higher the chances of overcoming some of the symptoms. Treatment often includes physical therapy, speech therapy and medications to control seizures, pain and spasms. Surgery is occasionally needed to correct anatomical abnormalities or release tight muscles.
Some children develop cerebral palsy as the result of brain damage. This brain damage can occur from brain infections, such as bacterial meningitis or viral encephalitis or from a head injury caused by a car accident, fall or child abuse. However, birth injury can also lead to cerebral palsy and this type of injury is usually preventable. Complications during labor and delivery or a delayed C-section can prohibit the baby’s brain from receiving the necessary oxygen. Lack of oxygen has been linked with brain damage among infants.
Medical Errors That Cause Cerebral Palsy
Doctors and hospitals are sometimes to blame for birth injuries that lead to cerebral palsy. Medical mistakes cause thousands of cerebral palsy cases each year. Some of the doctor and hospital errors associated with cerebral palsy include:
- Leaving the infant in the birth canal too long
- Failure to properly treat seizures
- Improperly using forceps or vacuum extraction
- Failure to detect a prolapsed cord
Hospitals and physicians can be held liable for birth injuries that resulted from medical errors. If your child has developed cerebral palsy and you are unsure who was to blame, contact the Virginia medical malpractice attorneys at Tavss Fletcher at 757-625-1214. We are experienced lawyers who can review your case to determine the cause of your child’s cerebral palsy. You may be able to recover compensation to help pay for your child’s medical expenses and future care.