The term “cerebral palsy” refers to a category of motor disorders that affect a person’s ability to move, balance and maintain their posture. The disorders are the result of abnormal brain development, particularly after a lack of sufficient oxygen causes damage to the brain. This lack of oxygen may be caused by a problem during pregnancy or in the early years of the child’s life. In some cases, the cause lies in a problem during the birth process.
The symptoms of cerebral palsy can range greatly. They may involve stiff muscles, uncontrollable movements or difficulty with balance and coordination.
People with mild cerebral palsy may have a little difficulty walking, while people with severe conditions may need special equipment to help them get around. Some people with cerebral palsy have related conditions that affect cognitive functions. Some may have difficulty with hearing or vision.
In all cases, cerebral palsy is permanent. Through therapy, some people may learn to cope with their conditions.
Congenital cerebral palsy
Most cases of cerebral palsy are considered congenital. This means that they were caused during pregnancy or the birth process.
In many cases, the exact cause is never known. In other cases, the cause appears linked to problems during the birth process. For instance, if the baby’s oxygen was cut off for a period of time during a long, difficult birth, the result can be the type of brain damage that causes cerebral palsy.
Brain damage during the birth process may be no one’s fault, but in some cases proper medical care could have prevented the damage.
Medical providers can’t prevent every problem during pregnancy and birth, but they do have a duty to provide their patients with care that is up to professional standards. When they fail in this duty, and the patient is injured as a result, the injured may be able to recover compensation for the resulting damages through a medical malpractice claim.
Damages in these cases can include the medical expenses related to the injuries. Since cerebral palsy is permanent, and may involve life-long care, these expenses can be quite high.
An attorney who has experience with birth injury claims can help parents and their children understand their options for legal action and for recovering all the compensation they need and deserve.