What is Cerebral Palsy

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Cerebral palsy is a term which applies to a wide range of conditions. Overall, cerebral palsy occurs where one's body is unable to be in command of its movement and posture due to either impaired development or damage to the brain. This causes neurological disorder. Cerebral palsy can arise due to medical malpractice or negligence and frequently is seen in lawsuits involving labor and delivery obstetrical malpractice.

Cerebral palsy can be quite different as it presents in one person to another. For instance, one individual may have a certain type which is disabling and requires the individual to fully rely upon another person for all daily life activities, while another person may have a more mild form of cerebral palsy and have a seizure disorder or a tremor.

Different Types of Cerebral Palsy

There are various types of cerebral palsy. Each type is characterized by unique features. These types include the following:

  • Spastic cerebral palsy- this includes spastic dipelgia, where leg and hip muscles are tight and the legs are crossed at the knee which makes walking difficult; spastic hemiplegia, where one side of the body is stiff; and spastic quadriplegia, where the upper and lower body is severely impacted, locomotion is difficult, talking is challenging and there may a seizure disorder.
  • Athetoid dyskinetic cerebral palsy- involves muscle weakness or muscle tightness, can cause problems with walking, speaking, sitting, and lack of facial muscle control leading to drooling
  • Ataxic cerebral palsy- involves fine motor skill problems, balance and coordination issues. Tremors may be present with this type of cerebral palsy.
  • Hypotonic cerebral palsy- motor skills are developmentally delayed; as an infant, the child has a difficult time holding his or her head up and does not reach development milestones

Treatment for Cerebral Palsy

Generally, the treatment for cerebral palsy varies based upon the specific diagnosis an individual has received. However, usually the treatment involves a multi-disciplinary approach. Thus, there is a team of health care providers, care givers, family and friends who all come together in order to provide a treatment plan.

The team usually reviews the patient's background and thereafter develops a plan. Members of the team may include a physician, neurologist, orthopedist, physical therapist, occupational therapist and a speech therapist. Moreover, ancillary providers, such as social workers and psychologists may comprise members of the team in order to provide community outreach and support services for the care givers.

Filing a Claim for Cerebral Palsy

In an instance where a child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, the parents or guardian of the child may seek to file a law suit. Generally, the law suit is sought in order to obtain damages for the current and projected medical costs for the child, in addition to pain and suffering and diminished quality of life. Where there is negligence and medical malpractice involved, punitive damages may also be sought. Punitive damages seek to punish the wrongdoer and to deter the wrongdoer from repeating the same mistake or negligent act in the future.

Getting Legal Help

When contemplating filing a lawsuit based upon acts causing cerebral palsy, it can be challenging to be successful without the assistance of an experienced cerebral palsy lawyer. A cerebral palsy lawyer will not only have experience in examining your claim, but also the attorney will have expertise in preparing and presenting complicated medical experts, information and evidence. Moreover, the attorney will be aware of current trends and new medical information which can be beneficial to your case. Ultimately, a cerebral palsy lawyer will work to ensure that your rights are well protected while taking appropriate measures to achieve the most advantageous compensation for the injury incurred.

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