Cerebral Palsy

The news that your child has been born with cerebral palsy can devastate your entire family. While the cause of cerebral palsy is not always known, in many cases it is a preventable injury that doctors failed to prevent.

At the law firm of Maples, Nix & Diesselhorst in Oklahoma City, we have a dedicated legal team to represent families affected by birth injuries such as cerebral palsy. To discuss your case with a lawyer at our firm, call 800-539-0652. Our lawyers have devoted many years to helping families recover the monetary compensation they will need to help their child have the best possible future.

What Is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a serious neurological disorder that comes in a variety of forms. It affects motor functions and muscle coordination, and can significantly impact a child's ability to maintain both stability and posture. It is one of the most serious and disabling types of birth injuries.

Cerebral palsy results in impaired motor and sensory function and other chronic physical and cognitive impairments. Most of these problems occur as the baby is delivered and parts of the brain are injured due to low levels of oxygen ( hypoxia).

When a baby's brain does not receive the proper amount of oxygen it needs, brain cells become depleted and die, placing a baby at risk of suffering from various types of brain dysfunctions. Shoulder dystocia and umbilical cord entrapment are each critical situations that require a medical professional to act quickly and efficiently to ensure the well-being of the baby and mother.

Most cases are preventable with proper medical care and judgment. Other causes of cerebral palsy include brain bleeding, infections, and severe jaundice during or after birth.

Types And Symptoms Of Cerebral Palsy

There are several different types of cerebral palsy, including spastic, dyskinetic, ataxic, hypotonic and mixed. Symptoms of cerebral palsy include:

  • Quadriparesis
  • Abnormal walk or inability to walk
  • Joint contractures
  • Muscle weakness or loss of muscle movement (paralysis)
  • Decreased intelligence or learning disabilities
  • Hearing, vision and speech problems
  • Seizures
  • Severe pain, especially in adults
  • Difficulty feeding in infants, or chewing and swallowing in children and adults
  • Constipation, vomiting and other gastrointestinal problems
  • Increased drooling
  • Slower than normal growth
  • Irregular breathing
  • Incontinence of bowel and bladder

Cerebral Palsy Treatment

There is no cure for cerebral palsy. The goal of treatment is to help the person be as independent as possible. Treatment requires a lifelong team approach, including a primary care doctor, rehabilitation therapists, nurses, and other specialists such as neurologists, rehabilitation physicians, pulmonologists and gastroenterologists. It can cost tens of millions of dollars to provide appropriate care to a profoundly injured cerebral palsy patient.

Detecting Cerebral Palsy In Infants

If cerebral palsy goes undetected in early infancy, signs may begin to appear when a toddler or child does not display age-appropriate characteristics of motor control, such as sitting, reaching or walking. Sadly, there is no cure for cerebral palsy, and its onset may be especially difficult for a family to accept when the condition was caused by a birth injury. That is, though a considerable number of babies develop cerebral palsy while still in the womb, many others become afflicted with the disorder because they sustained some kind of birth injury, such as umbilical cord entrapment/entanglement, shoulder dystocia or head injury during labor.

Treating Cerebral Palsy

There are a wide range of treatments currently available for those with cerebral palsy, including:

  • Speech therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Assistive devices such as computers with voice synthesizers
  • Surgery to loosen muscle tension
  • Medications to help relieve pain, regulate seizures or reduce muscle spasms
  • Orthotic devices such as braces or wheelchairs

For More Information About Cerebral Palsy

Our attorneys offer a free initial consultation to answer your questions about cerebral palsy and your options under our civil justice system.