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What is cerebral palsy?

Families that are expecting a child are often excited to welcome the newborn into their family. Lots of preparations occur prior to birth, including readying the house and receiving prenatal medical care. Yet, even with all of this preparation, the ultimate outcome of the birth is still dependent upon what happens in the delivery room. A medical professional's seemingly minor mistake can cause significant harm to the newborn and/or the mother.

One of the more devastating injuries is cerebral palsy. This medical condition results when a child's brain is injured, resulting in disturbances to movement and muscle tone. Though there are a variety of ways this disorder can develop, one way is when a child is deprived of oxygen during birth. This can occur when a doctor delays or makes another unnecessary mistake.

The effects of cerebral palsy can be severe and long-lasting. In some instances, victims are unable to walk, suffer intellectual disability and experience blindness and/or deafness. Symptoms of the condition include rigid muscles, tremors, delays in reaching developmental milestones as they result to motor skills, difficulty eating and swallowing, speech delays, and favoring one side of the body over the other.

Caring for cerebral palsy can be taxing, both emotionally and financially. Long-term care may be necessary, meaning that medical expenses may be excessive. Additionally, knowing that a child may never be able to do everything a healthy child does might leave a parent and child depressed and angry. Fortunately, some of these losses may be recouped by filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against the negligent doctor who caused the harm. By doing so, compensation may be obtained and awareness may be raised with regards to the devastation caused by birth injuries.

Source: Mayo Clinic, "Cerebral Palsy," accessed on May 11, 2015

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