Celebral Palsy Explained
The law offices of Villari, Brandes and Giannone are dedicated not only to providing sound legal advice, but to providing resources for those impacted by their childrenâ€™s birth injuries. If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, or is exhibiting symptoms indicative of cerebral palsy, this post will help you understand the condition and what it means to care for a handicapped child.
Cerebral palsy is caused by factors that impact normal brain development any time between pregnancy and age two. Medical malpractice causes thousands of cerebral palsy cases across the country each year.
If your doctor left the baby in the birth canal for too long, it may have caused a lack of oxygen to your babyâ€™s brain. If the doctor failed to identify that the umbilical cord was wrapped around your childâ€™s neck, the lack of oxygen to the brain could cause cerebral palsy.
Other types of medical negligence that can cause cerebral palsy include:
- Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â - Incorrect use of forceps
- Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â - Failure to perform a c-section when the fetus is in distress
- Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â - Failure to respond to a motherâ€™s high blood pressure
It can take up to three years to diagnose your child with cerebral palsy. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that parents watch for the following signs:
- Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â - Child more than two-months-old: difficulty controlling head when picked up; stiff legs that cross when picked up
- Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â - Child more than six-months-old: reaches with one hand while keeping the other in a fist
- Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â - Child more than 12-months-old: cannot crawl and cannot stand without support
Your babyâ€™s pediatrician can evaluate your babyâ€™s movements and muscle tone. The pediatrician will check to see if your baby has developed a preference for one hand over the other. If your child is between six and 12 months of age, the pediatrician will look for the presence of primitive reflexes, like rooting or grasping, which should disappear by your childâ€™s first birthday.
The pediatrician may order an MRI or CT to check for abnormalities in the brain.
If your child is diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a team of healthcare professionals will be involved in treatment, including pediatricians, orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists, speech pathologists and psychologists.
The physical therapist will work on motor skills and muscle strength, in addition to exercises that prevent contractures, which are the shortening of muscles that limit joint mobility. Some children with CP benefit from mechanical aids, such as walkers, scooters and positioning devices.
The doctor may recommend medications to ease spasticity, although oral drug therapies are not very effective. Injections into spastic muscles may be helpful.
Caring for a Child with CP
Special needs children require assistance with movement, interaction and communication, but they can still grow into caring, emotionally-developed adults. Although cerebral palsy can make your childâ€™s upbringing challenging, with your support, your child can develop their full potential.
What You Can Do
If you feel your childâ€™s condition was caused by a doctor or other medical professional, you owe it to yourself and your child to seek guidance from a birth injury attorney. ContactÂ Philadelphia Cerebral Palsy AttorneyÂ to get answers.