Cerebral palsy is a neurological handicap that is based upon brain damage. There are multiple, different types of cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy could be caused by lack of oxygen during the labor and delivery of the mother, it could be genetic, or the cause of it may be unknown, but it is a neurological handicap that starts with brain damage.

If your child has cerebral palsy due to a problem during birth, you may be able to recover compensation in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Reach out to a knowledgeable birth injury attorney to talk about your case. A Poughkeepsie cerebral palsy lawyer could help right the wrong that was done to your family.

How Could Cerebral Palsy be Caused by Medical Malpractice in Poughkeepsie?

One of the causes of cerebral palsy or CP is lack of oxygen at birth, called fetal hypoxia. When the mother is in labor or delivery and there are signs that the baby is not getting adequate oxygen, it would be reflected by the external fetal monitor on the mother’s abdomen. If there is a delay in delivering the baby, it could cause brain damage, called spastic quadriplegia.

Another cause would be genetic. Some children, for whatever reason, have cerebral palsy and it has no known cause. Another type of cerebral palsy is called athetoid cerebral palsy, and that could be caused by excessive levels of bilirubin, which could cause a form of brain damage called kernicterus. Speak with a Poughkeepsie cerebral palsy attorney for more information about the causes of cerebral palsy.

Which Factors Increase the Likelihood of Cerebral Palsy?

A major risk factor for cerebral palsy is premature delivery. If the mother delivers a child at less than 35 weeks of gestation–meaning from the time that she got pregnant to the time of the delivery was less than 35 weeks–the chances that the child would have cerebral palsy go up significantly. This is mostly due to the fact that the child’s organs, like their liver, heart, or lungs are not fully developed, and the baby is not completely ready to be born at that point.

How Birth Injuries Lead to Cerebral Palsy

Birth injuries could result in the manifestation of cerebral palsy by a lack of oxygen to the baby during the labor and delivery. In that case, the manifestation of cerebral palsy would be called spastic quadriplegia, which is a form of cerebral palsy in which the child has profound neurological handicaps, low muscle tone, and, in some cases, the child has severe cognitive and memory deficits as well.

Symptoms Leading to a Cerebral Palsy Diagnosis

Damage to the brain is one of the symptoms that would lead a doctor to diagnose a child with cerebral palsy. The doctor would look at the imaging studies of the baby’s brain such as an MRI or a CT scan. If there is evidence of brain damage on the CT scan or MRI, the doctor would look back at the delivery of the child. They would look at the baby’s Apgar scores at birth. They would look at the cord pH value, which is a blood test checking the acid level in the baby’s blood.

They would also look at post-birth seizures and whether the baby had multi-organ dysfunction. If the child has evidence of damage to their brain on an imaging study and also has these other signs of an abnormal cord pH, abnormal Apgar scores, post-birth seizures, or multi-organ dysfunction, all of those factors would be assessed in determining whether cerebral palsy was caused by lack of oxygen.

Treatments for CP

Cerebral palsy cannot be cured. It is also called encephalopathy, and encephalopathy means a static condition. It typically does not get better or worse. It is a form of brain damage that the child would have for the rest of their life.

Cerebral palsy could be treated, however, through a combination of multidisciplinary methods, which would include treatment for the physical injury as well as the cognitive or mental handicap. Physical treatment would include different devices and equipment that the child would need both outside and in the home. It could also include a modified bathroom or wheelchair.

A physician who is a specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation would determine the best treatment, equipment, and facilities and whether the child needs institutional care if their handicap is too severe to remain at home. The cognitive or mental deficits could be treated with a psychologist and a psychotherapist, who helps the child develop compensatory strategies for dealing with their memory and cognitive deficits. Contact a knowledgeable malpractice attorney to learn how a legal professional could help a family get compensated for treatment.

Get in Touch With a Poughkeepsie Cerebral Palsy Attorney

A diagnosis of cerebral palsy can be devastating, and many parents are worried about how they will pay for their child’s medical care. However, you could be eligible for compensation to help your family. Reach out to a Poughkeepsie cerebral palsy lawyer to discuss your situation.