Cerebral palsy is a medical condition that involves brain function and nervous system responses and can affect an afflicted person’s thinking, hearing, sight and movement. One known cause is fetal hypoxia, which can result when a baby does not receive sufficient oxygen during the delivery process.
One of the challenges of understanding the cause of cerebral palsy in infants is that symptoms may not be noticed until a child is well into the toddler stage. One indicator is a delay in expected developmental stages such as ability to sit, crawl and walk.
The National Institutes of Health identifies other physical symptoms of the various types of cerebral palsy, including:
- Tight muscles and joints, which may lead to an abnormal gait (walking on toes or with knees touching are common examples)
- Muscle weakness, limited movement and paralysis
- Twisting, writhing or jerking of extremities
- Loss of physical coordination
A comprehensive neurological examination is the cornerstone of a cerebral palsy diagnosis. While there is no cure for cerebral palsy, various treatments can help to make the person more independent throughout life. That means having the resources to work with speech, physical and occupational therapists, and medical specialists to ensure that a child with cerebral palsy has lifetime access to the proper tools and adaptive equipment.
Medical Malpractice Attorneys Help Families Assess Liability For A Child’s Condition
Cerebral palsy in infants can result from mistakes made by obstetricians, maternity nurses and other health care professionals. The health care team that attends a birth possesses many tools to provide warnings about specific problems that may develop throughout labor and during delivery.
Assessing whether an avoidable birth injury caused irreparable harm to a newborn involves complex legal and medical issues. But medical records may include potential indicators that a brain injury occurred during labor or delivery (the medical term is “neonatal encephalopathy”), including low blood sugar, seizures, poor oxygenation of the blood, poor reflexes, poor color or subnormal consciousness.
A consultation with an Ohio medical malpractice attorney can help a family understand their legal options and help determine whether something went wrong that should not have happened. In most cases, personal injury lawyers handle cases on a contingency basis, meaning that most of the costs of litigation are paid for by the law firm based on a percentage of any damages or settlements recovered.