What should parents know about cerebral palsy and birth injuries?

Injuries at birth or doctor mistakes can lead to serious conditions such as cerebral palsy, which may affect people throughout their lives.

For expectant mothers and their babies, the labor and delivery process is a delicate time. Throughout their pregnancies and while giving birth, many women in West Virginia and across the U.S. entrust their physicians and medical staff with their care. However, doctor mistakes during this time put mothers at risk, as well as their unborn children. Due to such errors, babies may suffer birth injuries that result in long-term medical conditions such as cerebral palsy.

Affecting muscle coordination and body movement, cerebral palsy typically presents during infancy or early childhood and is the most common motor disability for children. This group of motor conditions may be classified as one of four types - spastic, dyskinetic, ataxic and mixed. These classifications are based on the primary type of movement disorder experienced.

Symptoms of cerebral palsy

The signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy can vary significantly. Some of the most common indicators associated with this condition include the following:

· Exaggerated reflexes

· Stiff muscles

· Poor muscle coordination

· Difficulty sucking or eating

· Involuntary movements

· Feeling floppy or stiff

The effects people experience as a result of cerebral palsy vary based on factors, including the type and severity of the condition. Each child is unique, and thus, develops according to his or her own schedule. Though, delays in reaching certain developmental milestones may be indicate a problem such as cerebral palsy.

Causes of cerebral palsy

Researchers and medical professionals still have much to learn about cerebral palsy and its causes. It is believed to result from developmental abnormalities or damage to the brain while in the womb, at birth, or during infancy or early childhood. There is a range of factors that may contribute to the development of cerebral palsy, including certain maternal medical conditions, multiple births and infections during pregnancy.

Medical professionals are charged with ensuring the safety of mothers and their babies throughout the labor and delivery process. Unfortunately, however, birth injuries or doctor errors may also play a role in the development of cerebral palsy. This includes failing to order a timely cesarean section and delaying or neglecting to treat an infection or other condition. Infants may also develop cerebral palsy as a result of oxygen deprivation due to delivery complications, as well as due to the improper use of a vacuum extractor of forceps.

Treating cerebral palsy

While there is currently no cure for cerebral palsy, those with this condition often require extensive treatment and care. For example, physical and occupational therapy are commonly used to teach people with cerebral palsy adaptive techniques for various tasks, as well as to help them maintain and improve their muscle function. In some circumstances, surgical intervention may be required to increase mobility or reduce pain; and those with cerebral palsy may also be prescribed medications to help treat the effects of the condition.

Working with an attorney

Although considered a childhood disorder, cerebral palsy and its associated effects are lifelong. As such, those with this condition may require treatment and care throughout their lives. Parents with children who have been diagnosed with cerebral palsy may find it helpful to consult with a legal representative. The attorneys at Warner Law Offices can help them understand their options, which includes questioning if negligence on the part of their health care providers may have contributed to their child's condition.