Cerebral Palsy

What is cerebral palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a medical category referring to a series of neurological conditions that affect a person’s ability to move and muscle coordination.   It is a lifelong condition that stems from an injury or damage to the child’s brain either during pregnancy or shortly after birth.  Cerebral palsy affects an individual’s ability to control their body, potentially impeding muscle control, speech, coordination, muscle tone, and posture.  Cerebral palsy can also make it difficult to speak, affect vision, and cause seizures.  There is no known cure for cerebral palsy.

In the United States, it is estimated that cerebral palsy occurs between 2 to 4 times out of every 1,000 births.

Diagnosis of cerebral palsy

There are no tests or scans for cerebral palsy, it is diagnosed through observation of the baby or child’s movements.  It is not uncommon for babies afflicted with it to have difficulty rolling over, sitting, crawling or walking or to have poor control of their head, demonstrate poor motor skills, or develop more slowly.

Causes of cerebral palsy

While every single cause of cerebral palsy is still unknown, it is known that deprivation of oxygen (birth asphyxia) to the baby’s brain during child birth can cause cerebral palsy.   Asphyxia is attributed to approximately 6-8% of all cerebral palsy cases.  Events that can lead to asphyxia include:

  • problems with the umbilical cord or prolapsed umbilical cord,
  • excessive hemorrhaging (bleeding) during the pregnancy,
  • serious infection in the baby or the mother,
  • blockage in the baby’s airway, and
  • prolonged or a traumatic birth.

Medical malpractice causing cerebral palsy

While not all cases of cerebral palsy are caused by medical malpractice, a doctor’s negligence in failing to detect a prolapsed umbilical cord, failing to treat an infection in the mother, and delay in performing a medically necessary cesarean section can unnecessarily cause a baby to develop cerebral palsy.  If you question whether your doctor’s prenatal care or delivery of your child may have caused your child’s cerebral palsy, call us today for a free consultation at (612) 349-2747.  If we decide to proceed with your case, we will help you to find the answers that you are looking for.