Birth injuries could cause cerebral palsy for children in Pennsylvania

Doctor errors or birth injuries may contribute to causing cerebral palsy, a common disorder that affects motor function and body movement.

All parents in Pennsylvania hope their babies will be healthy. Yet, there are numerous conditions that may develop prior to children's births, or early in their lives. A common motor disorder, cerebral palsy, is one such condition. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in every 323 children suffers from this disorder.

There is still much to be learned about cerebral palsy and how it is caused. However, it is believed that birth injuries and doctor errors may contribute to causing this permanent condition in some cases.

What is cerebral palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a term for a group of neurological disorders. These conditions affect muscle coordination and body movement, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Cerebral palsy usually presents in infancy or during early childhood.

There are four primary forms of cerebral palsy - ataxia, dyskinesia, spastic and mixed. These classification types are based on the primary movement disorder that a child experiences. Ataxia is characterized by poor coordination and balance, according to the CDC. Those with dyskinesia experience uncontrollable movements. Spastic cerebral palsy involves stiff muscles, while those with mixed cerebral palsy exhibit symptoms of two or more other types of the condition.

What causes cerebral palsy?

According to the NINDS, cerebral palsy is caused by damages or abnormalities during the brain's development. This can be the result of any number of factors, some of which may be due to doctor errors or birth injuries. Fetal stroke, or other disruptions to child's blood supply to the brain during development, has been shown to contribute to the development of cerebral palsy. A lack of oxygen to an infant's brain may also lead to this condition. In some cases, these factors may occur due to issues during the labor and delivery process.

Furthermore, both infant and maternal infections, including meningitis, may contribute to causing cerebral palsy. In cases when these infections are left untreated, the risk factor may be increased. Medical professionals are responsible for taking the necessary steps to ensure that both the baby and the mother are safe throughout labor and delivery.

Common symptoms of cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy does not affect every child in the same way. The types of symptoms that a child may experience can vary drastically based on a number of factors, including the type of the condition. Some of the most common signs of cerebral palsy include the following:

  • Feeling floppy or stiff
  • Experiencing tremors or involuntary movements
  • Having difficulties sucking or eating
  • Favoring one side of the body over the other

Each individual child tends to develop at his or her own speed. However, there are certain milestones that are typically met at around the same ages. In some cases, delays in reaching these milestones may be a sign that there is a more serious issue, such as cerebral palsy.

Working with an attorney

While cerebral palsy may develop during childhood, people in Pennsylvania, and elsewhere, suffer from the effects for their entire lives. As such, they may require lifelong medical treatment and care. When the negligence or actions of health care professionals contribute to causing this condition, the medical providers may be held liable. People whose children have cerebral palsy may benefit from consulting with a legal representative. An attorney may help them understand whether their child's condition may have been prevented, as well as explain their options for pursuing compensation.

Keywords: birth injury, cerebral palsy, negligence, doctor, hospital