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Cerebral Palsy Birth Injuries

If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, you are likely confused, worried and frustrated. And if it appears that your child's cerebral palsy was caused by a birth injury, you are probably also angry.

How did this happen to you? How can you move forward? Can you hold the doctor and/or hospital accountable for your child's injury?

What is cerebral palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a disorder marked by impaired movement, limb rigidity, involuntary movements, walking problems and other movement issues. It can also lead to developmental issues, including hearing problems, intellectual disabilities and seizures.

Generally, the symptoms of cerebral palsy appear during a child's early years, oftentimes in infancy.

What causes cerebral palsy?

There are many causes of cerebral palsy, including:

  • Abnormal brain development
  • Maternal infections
  • Damage to the tissue in the brain
  • Lack of oxygen during birth
  • Mutations in genes involved in brain development
  • Disruption of the blood supply to the brain, which causes fetal stroke
  • Inflammation around the brain caused by infant infections
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Premature birth

Seventy percent of all cerebral palsy injuries are caused by brain damage that occurs before birth, according to the United Cerebral Palsy Research and Educational Foundation. Twenty percent occurs during birth and the rest occurs early on in life, after birth.

What if a medical mistake causes the cerebral palsy?

Physician actions that can cause cerebral palsy include delayed c-sections, improper use of forceps, failure to recognize fetal distress, failure to treat seizures, and other actions and inactions.

If a medical professional makes a mistake during birth that causes a child's cerebral palsy, he or she should be held liable for medical malpractice. A parent can bring a birth injury lawsuit against the medical professional and/or the hospital for any actions or inactions that made your child's condition worse than it would have been had the action/inaction not occurred.

Source: Mayo Clinic, "Cerebral Palsy: Causes," Mayo Clinic staff.

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