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|What is Cerebral Palsy?||Types of CP|
|Symptoms & Causes||Prevention|
|Resources for Families||Compensation For Injuries|
Children with cerebral palsy (CP) have an abnormality in the area of the brain that affects muscle control. Cerebral palsy can have significant effects on the lives of infants and their families. Some babies are born with cerebral palsy despite the best medical care. But other babies develop cerebral palsy as a result of lack of oxygen to the brain during a difficult delivery due to mistakes by healthcare professionals. The condition may not be evident until months or years after birth, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, it is strongly advised that you consult with an experienced birth injury lawyer as soon as possible. If a doctor failed to anticipate foreseeable problems with a difficult childbirth, a legal claim or lawsuit can help you seek monetary compensation to pay for the ongoing medical bills and treatment that your child will need.
At The Colleran Firm, our Philadelphia medical malpractice attorneys have helped many injured clients and recovered multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts for the families of infants who have been injured through the negligence of medical professionals. Our founding attorney has more than 40 years of experience handling medical malpractice cases. Our trial lawyers have been awarded Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent® Rating and consistently listed among Pennsylvania Super Lawyers.
The symptoms of cerebral palsy vary based on the degree of disability and the age of the child. As infants grow, they typically achieve various milestones of physical development and motor control in their first 12 months, such as rolling over, sitting up and walking. If a parent notices significant delays in a child achieving milestones involving movement and motor control, it may be a warning sign that the child should be screened for cerebral palsy.
The symptoms of cerebral palsy can change over time. While monitoring your child’s development, if you have concerns about the progress of development, you should discuss them with your child’s pediatrician. The rates of development vary a great deal in from baby to baby, so it can make it difficult to confirm a diagnosis of mild cerebral palsy in the first year. The doctor may make a referral to a specialist for a developmental screening. Diagnosing CP as early as possible is important.
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Some children with cerebral palsy have lack of motor control of one arm and leg on one side of the body. Some children with CP have too much muscle tone, causing stiff muscles and spasticity. Others have abnormally limp muscles. Doctors categorize cerebral palsy by the type of movement disorder that is involved.
A number of factors can cause cerebral palsy, including mutations in genes that control a fetus’s brain development, changes in a mother’s health, premature delivery, infections during infancy, a fetal stroke and injury to the brain caused by a lack of oxygen during a difficult delivery.
No parents want to find themselves in the uncomfortable position of questioning whether the doctor they entrusted to deliver their newborn made a mistake that caused their baby to develop cerebral palsy. With that in mind, it’s important to recognize that most cases of cerebral palsy are NOT caused by physician error or medical malpractice. But it’s natural for parents to ask what might have been done differently to prevent cerebral palsy. For example, any experienced obstetrician should anticipate certain birth complications, such as the difficulty of vaginally delivering an oversized baby and the difficulties of a breech presentation. Babies in a breech position are more likely to develop cerebral palsy. If birth complications arise, the doctor and delivery team should react promptly to protect the health of the mother and the baby. From our years of experience handling cerebral palsy birth injury cases, we have the experience to review your medical records and determine whether your doctor followed the recognized standard of care in delivering your baby. We work with medical experts to determine whether a health care professional’s actions potentially caused your baby’s condition. According to the CDC, brain damage leading to cerebral palsy can occur before or during birth, or in infancy while the brain is developing.
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Cerebral palsy related to genetic defects is not preventable, according to the CDC. However, there are proactive steps that expectant mothers can take before and during pregnancy that may reduce the likelihood of developmental problems. Receiving prenatal care starting early in pregnancy and taking proper steps to help ensure a healthy pregnancy, getting proper nutrition and avoiding the consumption of alcohol and tobacco can prevent developmental problems, including cerebral palsy. If you are planning to get pregnant, talk to your doctor to make sure that your vaccinations are up to date for diseases, such as chicken pox, that may harm a developing fetus. You should take this step before becoming pregnant. Learn to recognize the warning signs of premature birth and how to prevent it. Babies born prematurely have a higher risk of developing CP. Some factors increase the risk that a child will have cerebral palsy, and you should be aware of them.
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United Cerebral Palsy of Philadelphia and Vicinity – Contact the United Cerebral Palsy of Philadelphia for resources and programs available in the Philadelphia area.
United Cerebral Palsy Resource Guide – A comprehensive overview of resources.
Possibilities – A financial resource for parents of children with disabilities.
Philadelphia HUNE Inc. – A non-profit that provides individual assistance to parents of infants and children with disabilities and to professionals who work with the children.
Healthy Children – American Academy of Pediatrics discussion of cerebral palsy
If your newborn has developed cerebral palsy as a result of a physician’s error or delivery team mistake, no amount of money will make up for the harm your family has suffered. But your baby will have ongoing medical and therapy expenses and you will need all the resources available. The at-fault health care provider and their malpractice insurance company should pay those ongoing medical bills and other damages. You need an aggressive and compassionate medical malpractice attorney whose legal guidance and experience in this area of law you can trust to assist you.
Although not all cases of cerebral palsy are caused by a preventable medical error, it is in your best interest to speak with a knowledgeable and compassionate Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyer and understand your legal options if your child has been diagnosed with this condition. The costs of medical care for an infant with cerebral palsy can been significant, and you will want to avail yourself of all the resources available to help your child. When you work with The Colleran Firm, you will have skilled and compassionate representation you can rely on, and you will pay us no fees until we recover compensation for you. Contact our Philadelphia office for a free case consultation.
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