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How do you know if cerebral palsy was caused by a birth injury?

Cerebral palsy is one of the most common types of birth injury. However, it is not always caused by a complication during delivery. Sometimes it is caused by a brain injury before the baby is born or even by a head injury in infancy.

People with CP have a wide range and severity of symptoms. It is not one specific disorder, but a generic term for a variety of disorders that impact brain function.

Cerebral palsy can result if a mother uses a prescription drug during her pregnancy that can harm the baby or if she gives birth very prematurely. If a baby doesn't get enough oxygen during delivery, he or she can develop CP. A baby can be born free of any brain damage, but if he or she sustains a head injury that causes internal bleeding, that can cause CP.

Parents may not recognize that their baby has CP for months or even longer. Symptoms may not be present until the baby starts to crawl, walk and talk, or should be doing those things. That's when many parents notice problems with movement and speech.

As we note on our website, CP impacts the areas of the brain that control coordination and muscle movement. Many people with CP live full lives. Depending on the severity of their condition, however, some people with CP will need extra assistance and care throughout their lives. This could include special education, ambulatory assistance like wheelchairs and physical and/or speech therapy.

How do you know if your child's condition was caused by a birth injury or some other form of medical malpractice? Florida attorneys experienced in birth injury cases can work to determine what caused the CP. If it occurred because a health care professional made a preventable mistake, that person and possibly their medical facility may be held financially responsible.

The earlier parents are able to detect brain damage, the sooner they can get their child the care they need. A CT scan or MRI can help determine if there is indeed damage to the brain and how much.

By holding medical professionals and hospitals accountable for their errors, parents can get the money necessary to help ensure that their child will have the care they need throughout their lives. By holding health care personnel accountable, families can also help reduce the chances that the same mistake will occur with another child.

Source: FindLaw, "Birth Injuries: Cerebral Palsy and Erbs Palsy," accessed Aug. 2, 2014

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