Information for Parents of Children with Cerebral Palsy

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Cerebral Palsy Questions / Message:

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Are you the parent of a child with a disability? Did you know that medical malpractice could be the cause?

Was your child's birth injury caused by nature or medical malpractice? We can investigate.

Our law firm concentrates on the litigation of birth injuries nationwide. With an OBGYN, labor/delivery nurse and other experienced medical and legal professionals representing your rights, the MEDLAW Legal Team offers families and children the resources and experience necessary to successfully litigate healthcare negligence claims.

Our medical malpractice attorneys focus on the representation of families whose children have developed a disability as a result of negligent medical care.


Cerebral Palsy Info: Questions & Answers

  • What is cerebral palsy?
  • Does cerebral palsy affect everyone the same way?
  • What are the side effects of cerebral palsy?
  • Is there a cure for cerebral palsy? What kinds of treatments are available?
  • I have cerebral palsy. Can I pass it on to my children?
  • How serious is cerebral palsy?
  • What causes cerebral palsy? Can it be prevented?
  • What economic relief is available to those with cerebral palsy?

    What is cerebral palsy?
    Cerebral palsy is a medical condition caused by a permanent brain injury that occurs before, during, or shortly after birth. The effect of cerebral palsy is characterized by lack of muscle control and body movement. The cerebral palsy diagnosis is usually made shortly after birth, but may show up later in childhood.

    More Info: What is Cerebral Palsy?

    Does cerebral palsy affect everyone the same way?
    No. There are four classifications of cerebral palsy:

    (1) Spastic - occurs when the muscles are too tight. Patients will have stiff and jerky movement and will often have difficulty letting go of something in their hand. Spastic cerebral palsy is divided into these subcategories:

    • Diplegia - affects both arms or both legs
    • Hemiplegia - affects limbs on one side of the body
    • Quadriplegia - affects all limbs
    • Monoplegia - affects only one limb
    • Triplegia - affects three limbs

    (2) Ataxic - occurs when the muscles are too weak. Patients will be shaky and unsteady. They will often have very poor balance and be extremely unsteady when they walk.

    (3) Athetoid - occurs when the muscles fluctuate between being too tight and too weak. Patients will have involuntary movement in the face and arms, and will have difficulty holding themselves in an upright position.

    (4) Mixed - occurs when the muscles are affected in a combination of any of the types listed above.

    What are the side effects of cerebral palsy?
    Side effects of cerebral palsy include seizures, spasms, visual problems, hearing problems, hyperactivity disorder, speech problems, and learning problems. Approximately half of all people with cerebral palsy suffer from seizures. Seizures occur when there is abnormal brain activity (the brain attempts to send abnormal messages very close together). Seizures affect people in different ways - some people may stop moving and stare, others may fall down. Some can cause a person to fall and shake violently. They are generally not dangerous and will only last a few minutes.

    Learn More: Cerebral Palsy Characteristics

    Is there a cure for cerebral palsy? What kinds of treatments are available?
    Cerebral palsy is incurable. However, many therapies can be used to help ease the symptoms of cerebral palsy. You should seek guidance from the following professionals.

    • Physician - trained in helping developmentally challenged youth.
    • Orthopedist - Having a specialist to deal with bone-muscle-tendon issues is critical to the successful treatment of cerebral palsy.
    • Psychologist - can help patients and their families deal with the unique stresses of cerebral palsy.
    • Physical therapist - can create a regimen of exercises designed to improve strength and movement.
    • Occupational therapist - can help the patient to function better in everyday life at school or work.
    • Speech-language therapist - to work out communication problems.
    • Social worker - to help the family gain access to community resources available to the disabled.

      Learn More: Treatment of Cerebral Palsy


    I have cerebral palsy. Can I pass it on to my children?
    The answer is No. Cerebral palsy is not a disease, but a condition that is not contagious in any form. A parent who has cerebral palsy cannot pass it to their children. In addition, having cerebral palsy will not affect a woman’s chances of becoming pregnant, maintaining a normal pregnancy, or increase any chances of complications during labor and delivery.

    How serious is cerebral palsy?
    Cerebral palsy is an abnormality in the brain that effects the muscular and nervous systems. There is no cure for cerebral palsy. However, it is not dangerous like cancer, heart attacks, or other serious diseases and it is not a life-threatening situation. Although there is no cure, therapy such as physical, speech, and/or occupational may be very helpful for your health.

    What causes cerebral palsy? Can it be prevented?
    Cerebral palsy is caused by an injury to the brain during pregnancy, around the time of birth, or shortly after birth. The following injuries may be contributing factors to developing cerebral palsy: infection during pregnancy, jaundice, RH incompatibility, oxygen shortage, stroke, toxicity, bleeding, kidney infections, and urinary tract infections. Some of these factors can be avoided by receiving proper prenatal, labor & delivery and post-natal medical care.

    Learn More: Causes of Cerebral Palsy

    What economic relief is available to those with cerebral palsy?
    Up until the age of three, children qualify for early intervention programs either with professionals who provide services in home or in program centers. Under both federal and state law, children between the ages of three and twenty-two are entitled to special education services. These laws guarantee that a child with special needs has access to an educational program, including speech, occupational and physical therapy services and placement in public and private school programs. In addition:

    • Respite care. Provides families with occasional relief from the daily care of the child. These services are offered by several state agencies and are often provided free.
    • Eligibility for handicap plates. Often times there is an exemption on the sales tax/excise tax for such a vehicle.
    • Supplemental Security Income (SSI). A federally funded program that sends monthly checks to children who the federal government determines to be disabled.
    • Medicaid. Federally funded programs that can extend medical benefits to disabled children who meet the eligibility criteria.
    • Special services. Neurology, orthopedic and cardiac clinics. Often times there is no charge to the family for this initial diagnostic evaluation and financial assistance may be available beyond that.

    Your Legal Concerns
    While most doctors, nurses, midwives, and hospital technicians provide a high standard of care for their patients, unfortunately, many families are harmed by medical mistakes. A physician may have misread fetal monitoring equipment, failed to diagnose fetal distress during labor, waited too long to perform a C Section, administered too much Pitocin, or failed to act in a timely manner. Parents of a child suffering with cerebral palsy should contact an experienced cerebral palsy lawyer to research the cause of their child’s condition.

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    Review: Representative Cerebral Palsy Cases

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