In the United States, approximately 10,000 children are diagnosed with cerebral palsy every year. 70% of these children develop the condition in utero, 20% of cases are due to oxygen deprivation during the birthing process, and 10% develop cerebral palsy in the first few years of life. In many cases, cerebral palsy is caused by an injury or event that could have been prevented with proper care and monitoring during pregnancy and childbirth. Our attorneys have evaluated many childbirth cases in which such an injury has occurred.
When an injury is caused by carelessness or error on the part of a doctor or other medical professional and results in a tragic lifelong condition such as cerebral palsy, the victim may be entitled to financial compensation.
There are three types of cerebral palsy:
- Spastic Cerebral Palsy – the most common type of cerebral palsy, affecting more than 80% of cases. Often characterized by stiff, jerky movements, and difficulty in holding onto or letting go of objects.
- Athetoid or Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy – Accounting for more than 10% of cerebral palsy cases, athetoid cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the cerebellum, an area of the brain that plays a part in sensory perception and motor control.
- Ataxic Cerebral Palsy – A rare form of cerebral palsy characterized by poor coordination and balance, unsteady, shaky movements, and low muscle tone. 5-10% of children with cerebral palsy are afflicted with this form.
Causes and risk factors for developing cerebral palsy:
- prolonged loss of oxygen during the birthing process
- premature birth
- low birth weight
- inability of the placenta to provide the developing fetus with oxygen and nutrients
- bacterial infection of the mother, fetus or infant that directly or indirectly attack the infant’s central nervous system
- lack of growth factors during intra-uterine life
- RH blood type incompatibility between mother and infant
- severe jaundice shortly after birth
- infection of the mother with German Measles or other viral diseases in early pregnancy
Effects of cerebral palsy may include:
- muscle tightness or spasticity
- disturbance in gait or mobility
- involuntary movement
- difficulty in swallowing and problems with speech
- difficulty in feeding
- impairment of sight, hearing or speech
- abnormal sensation and perception seizures
- difficulty with bladder and bowel control
- mental retardation
- learning disabilities
- problems with breathing because of postural difficulties
- skin disorders because of pressure sores
At Meyers Evans Lupetin & Unatin our lawyers offer a free case evaluation for anyone who needs to determine if they have a legitimate birth injury claim. If you have questions about cerebral palsy caused by medical negligence or malpractice, we urge you to call or visit our downtown Pittsburgh office. If you are physically unable to reach us, we will gladly arrange to come to you. The law offices of Meyers Evans Lupetin & Unatin are located in downtown Pittsburgh and are licensed to help victims of medical malpractice throughout the state of Pennsylvania.