Cerebral palsy affects the brain and nervous system and results in the inability to fully control motor functions. Specifically, cerebral palsy may negatively impact movement, learning, hearing, seeing and thinking.
The four major types of cerebral palsy are:
- Spastic: This is the most common form of cerebral palsy. Those with spastic cerebral palsy suffer from muscles that are very stiff and permanently contracted and as a result they have difficulty moving.
- Athetoid: People with this type of cerebral palsy have trouble with involuntary and uncontrolled movement, most commonly in the hands, feet, arms, legs and face.
- Ataxic: A very rare form of cerebral palsy, ataxic CP affects balance and coordination. People suffering from this form of the disorder have difficulty walking, using fine motor skills and may also experience body tremors.
- Mixed:A person may suffer from a combination of spastic, athetoid and ataxic cerebral palsy.
Even though cerebral palsy is a static disorder, meaning it does not get worse over time, it does require lifelong treatment from a team of medical professionals including a primary care physician, nurses, occupational and speech therapists, neurologists, rehab physicians, and possibly many more. Patients often require surgery, braces and medication. All of this can lead to some substantial medical bills and these tend to get more expensive as a patient reaches adulthood.
Cerebral palsy is caused by abnormal brain development or injury. While many problems occur while the baby is growing in the womb, it is possible for them to happen any time in the first 2 years of life. Often, there is no clear reason why a child has cerebral palsy, though premature and low birth weight babies are at higher risk. Another leading cause is a lack of oxygen during birth.
Every year, thousands of cerebral palsy cases are caused by medical mistakes such as:
- Leaving a child in the birth canal for too long
- Failing to recognize an umbilical cord wrapped around a baby’s neck
- Improper or excessive use of vacuum extraction and/or forceps
- Failing to perform a C-section in appropriate cases
If you suspect any of these or other actions by your doctor contributed to your child’s cerebral palsy, it is imperative that you speak to a Pittsburgh malpractice attorney as soon as possible.