Experienced Chicago Cerebral Palsy Lawyers
Cerebral palsy is a permanent and crippling condition to the central nervous system (due to an injury to the brain), which causes uncontrollable reflex movements and muscle tightness that can affect the entire body. These problems can range from mild to severe, and may involve mental retardation, seizures, and vision and hearing problems. Cerebral Palsy is one of the most common causes of lasting disability in children. Cerebral palsy occurs in about 2.5 out of every 1,000 people. If you are concerned that your child’s cerebral palsy was caused by medical negligence during birth, call our experienced cerebral palsy attorneys for a free consultation at (312) 527-4500.
There are four types of Cerebral Palsy:
- Spastic cerebral palsy — the most common form affecting 70-80% of patients. This type of cerebral palsy keeps the muscles in a constant state of increased involuntary reflex.
- Athetoid cerebral palsy — characterized by a slow and uncontrolled movement affecting 10-20% of cerebral palsy patients.
- Ataxic cerebral palsy — rare form of cerebral palsy affecting 5-10% of patients.
- Mixed cerebral palsy — a combination of spasticity and athetoid movements.
The following graphic shows some of the physical consequences of cerebral palsy, including paralysis:
Cerebral Palsy Caused by Medical Malpractice or Birth Injury
Cerebral palsy is caused by a brain injury or problem that occurs during pregnancy, birth, or within the first few years of a child’s life. Although cerebral palsy can occur without medical error, many cases are caused by medical malpractice or professional negligence during birth or before leaving the hospital following delivery.
The most common cause of cerebral palsy is prematurity, where the baby is delivered too early before the brain is fully developed. In addition to prematurity, low birth weight has been shown to correlate with cerebral palsy. Babies can also develop cerebral palsy if there is significant hypoxia or asphyxia (lack of oxygen) associated with the delivery. In other words, Cerebral Palsy may be caused by not getting enough blood, oxygen or other nutrients to the baby’s brain prior to, or during, birth.
During birth, oxygen loss can be caused by problems with the umbilical cord, damage to the placenta which compromises the blood supply to the fetus, or fetal distress arising from the fetus being stuck in the birth canal. Post-birth, cerebral palsy can arise from untreated complications with the cardiovascular, respiratory or digestive system, and from untreated seizures. In all these cases, cerebral palsy may have been avoided with appropriate medical treatment.
All diagnoses of cerebral palsy as a result of hypoxia or asphyxia require a thorough investigation to determine if the hypoxia or asphyxia should have been prevented. Often, evidence in the medical records, including information generated by the fetal monitor strip, will disclose problems during labor that should have been detected earlier, and which made the cerebral palsy preventable. In other words, if your child develops cerebral palsy as a result of asphyxia or hypoxia during birth, it is critical to contact a top Chicago cerebral palsy attorney as soon as possible.
Cerebral palsy is not always caused by medical malpractice or negligence, and may result from genetic conditions passed from the parent to the child or an infection (such as meningitis) that can affect the brain. Cerebral palsy may also be caused by a serious head injury to a newborn child, such as the impact from a car accident. An experienced cerebral palsy lawyer can help you determine whether your child’s cerebral palsy was caused by professional malpractice or not.
Contact a Chicago Birth Injury and Cerebral Palsy Lawyer
Babies and children who develop cerebral palsy at birth or as an infant require specialized care and therapy, which is often permanent. When the cerebral palsy (or other birth injury) occurs as a result of medical negligence or malpractice, the child’s family members should speak to an experienced birth injury attorney regarding their legal rights.
Our attorneys are highly knowledgeable in this area. Indeed, attorney Matthew A. Passen is a member of the Board of Directors of the United Cerebral Palsy Association of Greater Chicago.