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Understanding the causes of cerebral palsy

One of the leading causes of disabilities in young children is cerebral palsy (CP). This developmental disorder often occurs as a result of a brain injury during birth or even fetal development. Due to how the symptoms affect the patient’s movement and coordination, CP may not be diagnosed or recognized immediately, especially if the symptoms are mild. It is important to note that there are various causes of cerebral palsy and it depends on the type of CP the child is suffering from. Below is a quick look at the main types of CP:
What are the Main Types of Cerebral Palsy?

  • Acquired cerebral palsy

An infant may develop acquired CP at least 28 days or more after birth. Some of the common reasons for this type of CP include brain damage, sickle cell disease, neonatal infections, blood flow issues to the brain, stroke, or blood clots.

  • Congenital cerebral palsy

Congenital CP is the most common type of cerebral palsy where the patient develops the medical condition before or during birth. Some of the common reasons for this type of CP include medical malpractice, premature birth, chorioamnionitis (amniotic fluid and membranes become infected), Rh factor diseases (incompatible blood types), uterine rupture, placenta-related issues, or maternal infections (e.g., chickenpox, toxoplasmosis, or measles).
Factors that may Cause Cerebral Palsy
As mentioned, there are several causes of cerebral palsy, which include:

  • Hemorrhaging: Some premature babies may experience bleeding in the brain, which leads to reduced oxygen levels and blood flow. Oftentimes, this is a hidden birth injury and risk. It is not until symptoms are visible that a proper diagnostic test can be performed.
  • Prolonged labor: Some labors may last longer than 18 hours. This may lead to birth complications such as deprivation of oxygen. In some cases, babies get stuck in the birth canal, which is known as breech births.
  • Jaundice: Bilirubin may build up in the patient’s bloodstream during the first few days or weeks after birth. While some jaundice cases clear up on their own, some bilirubin levels are simply too high, and because they are left untreated, kernicterus (a type of brain damage) may occur and lead to CP.
  • Medical negligence: It is truly a tragedy when one’s child’s CP was caused by (preventable) medical malpractice. Some responsibilities that doctors have include avoiding birth injuries and diagnosing medical problems during their patients’ pregnancies. When these issues are misdiagnosed or ignored, infants may suffer brain damage before, during, or after childbirth.

A Further Look into Cerebral Palsy by Medical Malpractice
Research has shown that the most common medical mistakes that caused cerebral palsy tend to include:

  • Errors while administering anesthesia
  • Errors in surgery
  • Improper use of forceps during childbirth
  • Failure to identify or treat placenta or umbilical cord problems
  • Failure to provide sufficient oxygen supply for infant
  • Failure to treat or detect maternal infections early on
  • Failure to properly monitor infant’s heartbeat
  • Failure to perform a C-section during an emergency

If you have strong feelings that your child’s CP was caused by medical negligence, you may wish to seek legal advice from a trusted attorney in New Jersey. Our team understands that you may have a lot of questions about bringing a claim for compensation, and that’s why we are always ready to answer your inquiries. At the end of the day, we strive to ensure that our clients and their children can have a full, happy, and comfortable life.

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