Cerebral palsy is a birth injury that affects the nerves that control the body's muscles. If the areas of the brain that control motor functions are damaged, the brain's ability to manage physical activities like movement and speech are reduced. Cerebral palsy is a condition caused by oxygen deprivation or physical trauma by the physician or medical team.
Children with Cerebral palsy may not be able to walk, talk, eat or play in the same way that normal children do. Cerebral palsy is a lifelong condition. Studies have shown that approximately 5,000 infants and 1,500 preschoolers are diagnosed with cerebral palsy every year. In many cases, cerebral palsy affects how these children are able to learn and develop.
Cerebral palsy cannot be cured, although treatment options do exist. Treatments for children afflicted with cerebral palsy can include drug and chemical therapies, physical therapy and surgery. The consequences of this birth injury can range from difficulty with fine motor operations, to muscle spasms, and in the most severe cases, mental retardation and total lack of muscle control.
Any medications utilized during the birthing process must also be correctly administered to prevent injuries to the fetus. The treating physician must ensure that the fetus receives enough oxygen and maintains proper blood pH levels during birth. If the baby is improperly positioned during the actual delivery, the treating physician must be ready to take immediate action, possibly ordering that a Cesarean section (C-section) be performed. Delays in action when these dangerous conditions are present can lead to complications like cerebral palsy.
Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common type of the condition, making up nearly 80% of the total cerebral palsy cases known. Children with spastic cerebral palsy are characterized by stiff and jerky muscle movements due to the tightness they experience. In most cases, spastic cerebral palsy is caused by the damage done to the parts of their brain that control the body’s movements.
Deliveries may be assisted by instrumentations such as vacuum extraction or forceps. These tools may cause significant trauma to the soft tissue of the skull to the point where bleeding and damage occurs to the brain. If the treating physician or obstetrician fails to prevent the conditions described above, or fails to react in a timely manner when these conditions are present, they may be considered to have acted in a manner not consistent with established medical practices and might be held responsible for medical malpractice.
Stephen Bilkis & Associates are experienced New York birth injury attorneys. If your baby has been injured during birth or other medical procedure, call us immediately at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW or contact us online for a free consultation.