Birth Injuries: Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy (CP) is an umbrella term for a group of conditions which affects the balance, movement, and posture of a person. A child affected may have trouble moving his or her arms properly due to damage to regions in the brain that control movement. Symptoms range from mild to severe, but they don’t tend to worsen as they age. Although children with cerebral palsy suffer from other health problems that may also require medical care, CP symptoms can be reduced significantly through treatment.
This condition affects about 10,000 infants every year, with 35-50 percent of them also suffering from seizures and mental disorders. There are different types of cerebral palsy, and those affected can suffer from symptoms of more than one type of the condition.
- Ataxic cerebral palsy – this type affects the balance and coordination of the patient, causing them to walk with feet far apart and having an erratic gait. About 5 to 10 percent of cerebral palsy patients have ataxic CP.
- Spastic cerebral palsy – affecting about 70 to 80 of the CP patients, spastic CP has three subtypes: spastic diplegia where both legs are causing scissoring, spastic hemiplegia where one side of the body is affected (usually more severe on the arm than on the leg), and spastic quadriplegia, where all four limbs, the torso, and the face is affected. They can suffer from mental retardation, speech problems, and seizures.
- Dyskinetic cerebral palsy – 10 to 20 percent suffer from this type of CP, which manifests as fluctuations in muscle tones and can have uncontrollable movements. These results to troubles staying still, and because the tongue and face are also affected they can have issues with speech, sucking and swallowing.
The causes of cerebral palsy are not yet fully determined, although many doctors believe that it can be due to an infection or birth injury (before, during, and after) childbirth. Severe illnesses in the early years, such as meningitis, jaundice, or severe dehydration are also considered causes of cerebral palsy. For those who believe the cause of the cerebral palsy is due to negligence in the hospital, filing a personal injury case against those involved can help in compensating for the damages and injury. As The Driscoll Firm in Baltimore mentions on its website, a cerebral palsy can cause physical and mental pain and suffering to a child and the parent, and it could also cause financial troubles because of a lifetime of treatment and medical care. It is important to have the medical professionals involved liable for their mistakes or negligence to prevent other children from suffering the same fate.