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The Ins and Outs of Cerebral Palsy

Every expectant parent hopes for the best–a healthy child and a painless childbirth (at least as painless as possible). In most instances, parents get their wish: mother and child are healthy, happy, and soon ready to go home. In a few cases, however, your child may experience complications during the birthing process. One of the most serious problems related to birth injuries is cerebral palsy.

Cerebral Palsy Defined

According to the Mayo Clinic, two to four children out of every thousand born in the U.S. and Europe have cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy may include a number of different neurological disorders. All of these disorders hinder body movement and muscle coordination. Children who acquire cerebral palsy usually do so at birth and have lasting effects throughout their lives. It is considered a “non-progressive” condition, which means that the symptoms of cerebral palsy will manifest at the outset but will not get progressively worse over time.

Some of the most common types of cerebral palsy include the following:

  • Spastic cerebral palsy – This type of cerebral palsy causes tightness in one or more muscle groups that results in stiffness and difficulty moving. Children with this type of cerebral palsy have a hard time holding on to objects or shifting positions. Spastic cerebral palsy accounts for about eighty percent of all instances of cerebral palsy.

  • Ataxic cerebral palsy – This type of cerebral palsy is characterized by tremors, problems with depth perception, poor balance, and challenges coordinating muscle movements. Ataxic cerebral palsy accounts for about ten percent of all instances of cerebral palsy.

  • Athetoid cerebral palsy – This type of cerebral palsy causes involuntary movements, low muscle tone, slurred speech, and difficulty maintaining posture. Athetoid cerebral palsy accounts for about ten percent of all instances of cerebral palsy.

What Causes Cerebral Palsy?

Medical research has determined that the most prevalent causes of cerebral palsy include insufficient oxygen to the brain or body, trauma during birth, or premature delivery. In many cases, doctors and other medical professionals exercise the proper standard of care due to expecting mothers. In some cases, however, cerebral palsy may be due to the error or oversight of a medical practitioner. For example, cerebral palsy may result when a doctor fails to:

  • detect a prolapsed umbilical cord;

  • perform a timely or necessary cesarean section;

  • properly use medical instruments such as forceps or vacuum;

  • detect and treat infections; or

  • monitor fetal heart rate during birth.

Getting Help When Your Child Has Been Harmed by a Doctor’s Error

If your child has contracted cerebral palsy due to a birth trauma or other medical error, it is essential that you contact a skilled medical malpractice lawyer right away. Any delay may cause you to lose your right to get the help you need. The Atlanta medical malpractice attorneys at Goldstein and Hayes, P.C., have extensive experience helping those whose children have been harmed by the negligence of medical caretakers. We can answer your questions, assess your case, and help you hold those responsible for your child’s injuries accountable.