Cerebral palsy is a mostly preventable condition that occurs in roughly one out of every 300 children. It can result from a brain injury or damage to the central nervous system either in utero, during labor/delivery or shortly after the birth of a child. Cerebral palsy is actually a series of disorders that affect the brain and nervous system, leading to movement problems for those affected. The condition is permanent, and its level of severity will vary depending on each individual case. Even in milder cases, however, this condition almost always has a dramatic effect on the life and functionality of the child.
Many cases of cerebral palsy are birth injuries caused by the negligence of medical providers during pre-natal/post-natal care or while the child is being delivered. However, it is often difficult to prove medical malpractice in these types of cases. To go up against the hospital or clinic’s high priced lawyers, parents with children affected by this condition need an experienced team of Chicago cerebral palsy attorneys that can pour through the records and evidence and get to the bottom of exactly what went wrong and if the medical provider is responsible.
Factors that Commonly Lead to Cerebral Palsy
The brain and central nervous system damage that causes cerebral palsy can result from one or more complications during the birth process. Some of the common birth complications include:
- Oxygen deprivation;
- Excessive labor induction medication (hyperstimulation with Pitocin)
- Contractions which are too frequent or too strong;
- Extended labor;
- Stroke during labor;
- Head trauma during labor;
- Improper use of forceps or vacuum extractor; and
- Infections, including Group B Strep.
It is important for the attending doctors and nurses to evaluate each patient for risks of their child developing a birth injury such as cerebral palsy. For example, premature babies are at a higher risk of these injuries because their lungs are not fully developed, thus increasing the chances of inadequate oxygen flow to their brain. When the health care provider has thoroughly examined the risk factors and developed a plan of action to address them, the likelihood of an adverse condition developing at birth is diminished.
The doctor or parent may not notice a condition such as cerebral palsy right away after birth. Rather, the symptoms may become evident over time as the child begins attempting to move and communicate. Here are some of the common symptoms to look out for:
- Lack of control over muscle movements, e.g., twitchy, jerky or erratic movement;
- Lack of balance/coordination;
- Unusually tense or loose muscles;
- Difficulty eating/swallowing;
- Difficulty with motor skills;
- Speech impairments;
- Cognitive impairments/limitations; and
- Developmental/learning disabilities.
If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms, it is possible that he/she suffered from a birth injury and you are just now seeing its affects. The first step is for the child to be diagnosed so he/she can be properly treated for the condition. Next, speak to the experienced Chicago cerebral palsy lawyers at Hurley McKenna & Mertz, P.C. For over two decades, we have been representing parents of children with birth injuries such as cerebral palsy in Chicago, Cook County, and throughout Illinois and nationally. We will examine your case and determine if the health care provider may be at fault. If so, we will work with a team of expert obstetric professionals to find out what happened and hold the responsible party accountable. Contact our office today for your free consultation.