Kelley Uustal Trial Attorney
February 7, 2020

Cerebral Palsy

Peter Spillis, Partner, Kelley | Uustal

Cerebral Palsy is one of the leading causes of disability in children. It is a disorder of coordination, muscle tone or posture, most often caused by damage that occurs to the developing brain, either in utero, during or shortly after birth.

The level of injury can vary greatly, from loss of coordination or posture problems, to severe, debilitating physical disabilities, often accompanied by cognitive disabilities, epilepsy, vision problems and more.

Sometimes CP develops as a result of some congenital problem that cannot be avoided but very often, it develops as a result of events that occur just before, during, or just after delivery, often in premature babies. In fact, the highest risk factors for Cerebral Palsy are:

  • Prematurity
  • Low birth weight
  • Birth complications

Because of this, it is vitally important for the people caring for pregnant mothers and delivering babies to have a full understanding of the nature of this injury, the causes of the injury, the appropriate precautions and treatment to be given. We now know that there are medications that can and must be given in certain presentations, that can greatly decrease the risk of inflicting the brain injury that results in Cerebral Palsy. 

Timely and appropriate administration of these medications and therapies can mean the difference between a child who is born healthy and injury-free, and a child with a permanent, debilitating brain injury.

Most often, parents come to us in one of two ways: first is the parent who had a difficult delivery and or pre-term delivery and already knows that there is some problem that occurred around the time of birth.

Second is the parent who might not have known about a problem at the time they had their baby but later, sometimes 2 or 3 years later, they begin to notice problems such as developmental delays, and they want to understand what has happened and what may have caused the problem.

Cerebral Palsy cannot be cured, per se. It is the result of irreversible damage to the brain. But once the diagnosis is made, there is a whole range of therapies and medical procedures that can greatly improve the child’s quality of life. So, that becomes our primary objective: to secure a recovery from those who are responsible that will allow the family to provide that child with the best medical and therapeutic care available, and to ensure that the child can receive that care for as long as he or she will benefit from it.

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