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Cerebral palsy can result from medical negligence

When a baby or infant suffers brain damage early in life, that child can endure great difficulties in cognitive and physical development. Cerebral palsy is a condition that is caused by damage to a baby or infant's developing brain. Children with this condition have no control over their muscular movements.

For decades the medical community believed that cerebral palsy, more commonly known as CP, was caused by a lack of oxygen during the birth process. However, recent studies have shown that most damage to the developing brain occurs before and during birth as well as in the first few days after a baby is born. Most cerebral palsy is labeled congenital and is caused by conditions or events before birth. In fact, congenital CP accounts for 85 to 90 percent of all CP cases and has many causes, including infection and other complex medical problems that the mother develops, or by birth complications, including a lack of oxygen during delivery.

Acquired CP is the rarest form of CP and develops within 28 days of birth. It usually results from a brain injury or an infection, such as meningitis. Head injuries can be caused by vehicular crashes, child abuse and mishandling of an infant. Acquired CP can also develop from abnormal blood flow to the brain, blood clotting and improper formation of blood vessels.

Medical malpractice incidents in hospitals can lead to acquired CP, especially if medical professionals fail to provide adequate care to a mother or her child, or if they failed to detect and cure any infection or improperly handled the baby. If parents suspect that a child's cerebral palsy resulted from medical malpractice or negligence of any type, exploring legal options may be the most appropriate course of action.

Source: CDC.gov, "Causes and Risk Factors of Cerebral Palsy," Accessed on June 19, 2015

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