The Major Causes of Cerebral Palsy

There are more than 760,000 children and adults in the US suffering from cerebral palsy (CP) and, every year, an estimated 12,000 more new patients are added to their number. Cerebral palsy is an incurable, chronic disorder that impairs communication between the brain and the muscles. It is caused by damage to, or malformation of, the motor areas in the brain which are responsible for controlling a person’s movement and posture.

CP is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders in children and it will affect a child for the rest of his/her life. A person, especially a child who is suffering from CP, will experience difficulty with fine motor tasks (like writing), walking and balance; often, emotional, social, sensory and cognitive disabilities are also associated with the disorder.

Some children are born with CP, while others acquire it during the first years of their lives. Congenital CP, which is present at birth, is usually the result of lack of proper and adequate care for the pregnant woman, lack of oxygen in the brain of the unborn, a severe case of jaundice, trauma to the head of the child during labor or delivery, Rh incompatibility, infections suffered by the mother during pregnancy, infant stroke, premature birth and very low birth weight.

Cerebral palsy, which develops during the child’s early years, is called Acquired CP. This may be caused by brain infection, including viral encephalitis and meningitis, or injury to the head of the child, which can be due to a fall, vehicular accident or child abuse.

While the specific type of cerebral palsy, the degree of functional limitation and the specific limbs which get affected are the determining factors of the severity of the disorder, the two major causes of its presence are very low birth weight and premature birth (these two conditions do not automatically cause
CP, but rather increases the risk of it). Aside from the possible causes listed above, medical authorities name another factor which they acknowledge has caused majority of CP cases in the US: medical negligence.

So many medical negligent acts are committed either during pregnancy or during delivery. Some specific examples of these acts include failure to recognize and/or treat fetal distress, failure to plan or perform an emergency C-section, incorrect medication during delivery, wrong or excessive use of vacuum extraction devices, and so forth.

Cerebral palsy has restricting effects, both in children and in adults. Though patients suffering from this disorder may avail of therapeutic treatments, the activities they will be able to engage in remain limited when compared to a normal person; besides, the cost of treatment will surely be not inexpensive. This can ruin a person’s life right at its beginning.

If the disorder acquired by a child as a result of a medical professional’s negligence, then such child’s family has the right to take legal action for possible compensation the law may allow the child to receive. This compensation should, first and foremost, cover cost of medical treatment that the child will need for as long as he/she needs it. A seasoned cerebral palsy or birth injury lawyer will definitely be able to help the child and his/her family get the maximum amount of compensation from the liable person and, possibly, from the institution which that person represents.

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