Cerebral palsy is a term used to refer to a group of disorders that affect movement and posture, which is the result of brain damage that occurs before, during, or after birth. It affects the muscles, sometimes causing them to contract too much or too little, making limbs stiff with pain, and causing them to tremble. Walking, sitting, or grasping objects may also become difficult. Symptoms also include seizures, as well as trouble with vision, hearing, breathing, and even swallowing. Cerebral palsy, while not typically life threatening, is incurable and permanent, but its complications can be managed with treatment such as physical therapy, surgery, or medications. The condition will generally not worsen since it is not a progressive ailment.
While there are some risk factors such as premature birth, and low or high birth weight, which may increase a baby’s chances of getting cerebral palsy, they do not cause it. Sometimes errors made by doctors or hospital staff may cause it, often through the improper use of delivery assistance tools such as forceps or vacuum extraction, but also by using excessive force to extract the infant, or delaying a C-section. A failure to recognize signs of complications, such as a prolapsed cord wrapped around the neck of the baby, or leaving the baby in the birth canal for too long, may also cause cerebral palsy, as it may delay necessary actions to safely deliver the baby. It is a doctor’s responsibility to monitor the health of the mother and child, to assess risks, and prepare back-up delivery plans if there is a high risk for complications.
Fieger Law is a nationally recognized law firm with a record of success in representing cerebral palsy and birth injury cases. Cerebral palsy is not always a result of hospital error, but when it is, you are entitled to hold those who are responsible for your baby’s injury accountable. We can help you do that.