What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral Palsy is a term used to describe a group of chronic conditions affecting body movements and muscle coordination. It is caused by damage to one or more specific areas of the brain. “Cerebral” refers to the brain and “Palsy” to a disorder of movement or posture. If someone has Cerebral Palsy it means that because of an injury to their brain (cerebral) they are not able to use some of the muscles in their body in the normal way (palsy).
Can Cerebral Palsy be prevented?
In some cases, Cerebral Palsy is unpreventable and can occur even with good and proper medical care. However, in other cases, Cerebral Palsy is caused by events which occur shortly before, during and after birth, and is medically preventable. Preventable brain injury causing Cerebral Palsy can happen in many ways including:
- Failure to treat or prevent infection in mother or baby during pregnancy, labor or delivery
- Failure to consider, recommend or offer Cesarean Section in a timely manner
- Failure to timely respond to fetal distress
- Failure to timely respond to signs of a lack of oxygen to a baby
- Failure to timely respond to abnormalities on fetal heart monitor strips
- Improper use of forceps
- Improper use of vacuum extraction
- Failure to timely respond to severe jaundice
- Failure to properly treat kidney and urinary tract infections in the mother
- Failure to respond to Rh incompatibility
- Toxicity from inappropriate medications during pregnancy
Can Cerebral Palsy be cured?
Unfortunately, there is no cure for Cerebral Palsy, but proper medical treatment and therapy can lessen the effects and help some children to lead fairly normal lives. Others will require life-long care, and sometimes institutionalization.
What kinds of problems are caused by Cerebral Palsy?
Some of the common results of Cerebral Palsy include:
- Impaired speech
- Learning disabilities
- Visual impairment
- Hearing impairment
- Difficulty walking
- Difficulty eating
- Limited motor skills
Are there different types of Cerebral Palsy?
Yes, there are three primary types of Cerebral Palsy:
- Spastic — makes the muscles to tight
- Ataxic — makes the muscles too weak
- Athetoid — muscles alternate between being too tight and too weak
What kind of special care do children with Cerebral Palsy need?
Depending on the types and severity of impairment a child experiences he or she may require:
- Physical therapy
- Speech therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Psychological treatment
- Medications to prevent seizures
- Full time in-home care or institutionalization
If I think my child has Cerebral Palsy which may have been caused by medical malpractice, what should I do?
If you suspect that your child may have suffered Cerebral Palsy, proper and timely treatment will maximize the chances that your child will survive with as little damage as possible under the circumstances. Unfortunately, many children will nevertheless require a lifetime of expensive medical care. It is in your child’s interest to be in a position to benefit from the very best and most advanced treatment available. If your child has suffered a preventable birth injury, getting the compensation that you deserve may be the only way to provide the care and services needed to maximize your child’s recovery and potential.
Collectively, New Jersey medical malpractice lawyers Michael L. Weiss, Esq. and Robert E. Paarz, Esq. have presented over 40 medical malpractice cases involving a Cerebral Palsy injury to juries, and have helped many families obtain the financial assistance needed to lessen or eliminate the financial burden caused by Cerebral Palsy. They are committed to using their knowledge and experience to help the victims of preventable birth injuries obtain fair compensation. If you believe your child may have experienced such an injury, please contact Weiss & Paarz, P.C., today.