Cerebral palsy (CP) includes a group of disorders that affect a person’s muscle tone and posture as well as their movements. It’s caused by damage during the brain’s development, and most often happens before birth.

Symptoms usually emerge while a child is still an infant during preschool years. As many as 10,000 cases are reported each year in children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and preventable medical errors cause thousands of cases.

What are the symptoms?

Cerebral palsy causes a variety of physical and intellectual disabilities. The Mayo Clinic lists these common symptoms associated with the disorder:

  • Muscle tone variations, including being too stiff or too floppy
  • Stiff or exaggerated muscle movements, such as spasms
  • Balance problems
  • Tremors and other involuntary movements
  • Slow, writhing movements
  • Delays in motor skill development
  • Difficulty walking
  • Problems with swallowing or excessive drooling
  • Learning difficulties
  • Seizures

Cerebral palsy and medical malpractice

CP can result during the fetus’s development, during delivery or shortly after birth. It can be caused by an administrative error, such as a doctor not knowing about a preexisting medical condition for the mother. Other common medical mistakes leading to CP include:

  • Failure to recognize fetal distress, or perform a cesarean section when distress occurs
  • Failing to diagnose high blood pressure or toxemia
  • Improperly using forceps during delivery
  • Excessive use of a vacuum during extraction
  • Failure to detect a prolapsed cord
  • Delaying delivery
  • Failure to identify and treat an infant’s seizures
  • Failure to diagnose and treat meningitis and jaundice

Hold medical providers accountable for errors

The special needs of a child diagnosed with cerebral palsy affect the entire family and bring emotional, financial and physical hardships. CP typically requires a lifetime of costly medical treatments. If your child receives this diagnosis, consult an experienced cerebral palsy attorney with the legal and medical knowledge to fight for the best possible outcome.