According to data from the Mayo Clinic, approximately two to four out of every 1,000 babies born in the United States and Europe have cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is a medical term used to describe several neurological disorders affecting body movement and muscle coordination. Around 8,000 newborns and infants are diagnosed with cerebral palsy each year, according to the United Cerebral Palsy non-profit advocacy group. Cerebral Palsy disorders develop due to head trauma or a lack of oxygen to the brain or body and are often caused by medical errors.
Symptoms and Types of Cerebral Palsy
Symptoms of cerebral palsy often surface during the newborn period. In those cases, parents are typically aware of the disorder because the baby requires intensive medical care such as breathing and feeding assistance. Further indicators of cerebral palsy include difficulty eating, holding one’s head upright, and maintaining posture. Milder forms of cerebral palsy may present as simply a developmental delay.
Doctors will check babies’ reflexes and motor skills, birth records, and parents’ medical history to diagnose cerebral palsy. Symptoms of cerebral palsy include speech impediments, abnormal sensation and perception, vision, hearing, breathing and bladder control problems, and learning disabilities. Three of the most common types of cerebral palsy are:
Spastic Cerebral Palsy: This type accounts for about 80 percent of all cerebral palsy cases, making it the most common type of cerebral palsy. It causes permanently contracted and stiff muscles. Motor function is reduced and patients experience difficulties moving from one position to another and holding and releasing objects.
Athetoid Cerebral Palsy: Approximately 10 percent of cerebral palsy cases are athetoid cerebral palsy, which causes hypotonia–low muscle tone, involuntary movement, impaired posture, slurred speech, and difficulty swallowing.
Ataxic Cerebral Palsy: This type also accounts for about 10 percent of cerebral palsy cases. Those suffering from ataxic cerebral palsy may have trouble balancing and making coordinated muscle movements, tremors, and difficulty with depth perception.
Cerebral Palsy Caused by Medical Malpractice
Cerebral palsy often manifests due to a medical mistake during pregnancy or birth, such as the umbilical cord wrapping around the baby’s neck or the application of excessive pressure on the baby’s head or neck during delivery. Medical professionals may also fail to detect or treat the mother’s infections, correctly monitor fetal heart rate, detect a prolapsed umbilical cord, or perform a caesarean section in time. In cases wherein a medical professional fails to provide a standard of care, a medical malpractice lawsuit against the negligent doctor or hospital can provide compensation for victims and accountability for those responsible.
New Jersey Birth Injury Lawyers at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP Obtain Compensation for Victims of Cerebral Palsy Birth InjuriesIf you believe a medical error caused your baby’s cerebral palsy, contact an experienced New Jersey birth injury lawyer at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP. Our lawyers are recognized among the leading birth injury trial lawyers in the state and our firm has a record of successful settlements and verdicts. Our offices are in Edison, Toms River, and Red Bank, and we represent clients throughout New Jersey. Contact us online or call us at 732-777-0100 to arrange a free consultation.