Numerous children across the country, many right here in Louisiana, are born with or acquire cerebral palsy every year. For some, this is the result of a congenital defect; for others, it may be the result of a birth injury. What’s the difference, and what can parents do if medical negligence turns out to be the underlying cause?
What is cerebral palsy? This disorder occurs when a child experiences brain damage or abnormal brain development. Children with the disorder often lose their ability to control their muscles and experience some level of developmental delay. Congenital cerebral palsy is by far the most common form of the disorder, and it occurs either before or during the birth process. Those at risk for developing congenital CP are:
- Babies with low birthweight
- Premature babies
- Children conceived through assisted reproductive technology
- Mother’s health
- Birth complications
Acquired CP occurs 28 days or more after birth, and is usually the result of a head injury or serious infection. This type of CP only accounts for a small number of cases. At the end of the day, though, CP is CP, and either type will make life hard on the affected child and his or her parents.
Sometimes, there is nothing that medical providers can do to prevent CP. On the flip side of that, sometimes there is. Swift and correct actions by medical providers when a baby is in distress either during development in the womb, during the labor and delivery process, or due to an infection or other injury after birth can help prevent CP. Parents in Louisiana who believe that medical negligence contributed to their children’s condition may have legal recourse. By pursuing a birth injury claim, compensation for any resulting losses can be sought through litigation or out-of-court negotiations.
Source: cdc.gov, “Causes and Risk Factors of Cerebral Palsy“, Accessed on Feb. 15, 2018