Study Brings New Hope for Those With Cerebral Palsy
Approximately 500,000 children in the United States suffer from cerebral palsy (CP), a range of motor function and development impairments that afflicts between 8,000 and 10,000 babies who develop the disorder every year. CP is caused by injury to or malformation of the brain while it is in development, so CP can happen before, during, or after the birth of a child. Children are generally diagnosed with the condition by the age of three.
Although most cases of CP develop in utero due to an infection or defect in brain development, some are caused by the negligence by medical staff during the child’s birth or trauma in the first months or years of the child’s life. Among the cases caused by medical negligence, approximately nine percent are due to asphyxia (oxygen deprivation during birth or during the newborn period), and most others are due to prematurity or complications during the birthing process. Other risk factors for CP include head injuries in infancy and shaken baby syndrome.
In many cases, the cause of the child’s CP cannot be determined.
Effects of CP on a child’s development
Cerebral palsy consists of a combination of medical impairments that affect a child’s development. Conditions associated with CP include:
- Learning difficulties and impaired intellect
- Speech and language disorders
- Hearing and vision impairment
- Delayed growth and development
- Movement impairment
Secondary conditions associated with cerebral palsy include epilepsy and behavioral disorders. These conditions affect both the child and the family emotionally, developmentally and financially.
Research focuses on repair
Much of the current research on CP deals with the ways in which it affects the patient and whether any treatments can repair the damaged parts of the brain to provide an improved quality of life. One study in White Plains, New York is looking at whether a patient’s brain affected by CP can repair itself. The doctor in charge of the study also suffers from CP and hopes to demonstrate that brain injuries are not wholly irreversible.
Caring for a child with a disability is emotionally and financially devastating. The highly experienced medical malpractice lawyers at the Barkett Law Firm can help you determine whether or not medical negligence is the cause of your child’s disability, and will work diligently to obtain compensation for you if it is. The first consultation with us is free.