Cerebral palsy is a motor disorder often caused by brain damage from lack of oxygen or trauma during the birth process. Birth injury attorney Jesse Reiter describes the symptoms to look for if you think your child may have cerebral palsy. To determine liability in a cerebral palsy case, the attorneys at ABC Law Center (Reiter & Walsh, P.C.) go over hospital birth records, including fetal monitoring strips, lab studies and much more. We do not charge fees for any part of the legal process unless we win.
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Jesse M. Reiter: Cerebral palsy is a neuromuscular disorder basically, many times, caused by brain damage in the birthing process. Cerebral palsy can be caused by lack of oxygen to the brain, which is also known as HIE, or trauma to the brain, caused by forceps or vacuums, or a traumatic delivery.
There are a capable of ways to know if your child is suffering from cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy occasionally can be diagnosed in the first month of life. Many times it’s not diagnosed for a year or two, a couple of years. Things to look to in your child. Is your child developing normally? For instance, is your child walking at about a year, and talking? Does your child have fisting? A lot of times children with cerebral palsy will hold their hands like this. Are they toe walking? Do they have tightness of any of their muscles? There are several types of
cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy can be diaplegic, which would involve just the legs, hemiplegic, which would involve one side of the body. Your child could also have quadriplegic which involves the arms and legs. If there’s tightness in the muscles, or spasticity, this is a sign that there’s cerebral palsy, and you need to get in and see your pediatrician. The pediatrician will send you to a pediatric neurologist, who is a pediatrician who specializes in brain injuries.
There are a lot of things we look to to tell whether cerebral palsy is caused by the birthing process. One of the things we look to is something called fetal monitor strips. They evaluate how the baby is doing during the labor process. How the baby’s heart beat is doing. They tell us whether the baby got enough oxygen. We also look to see how the baby did at the time of delivery. Was the baby depressed or floppy? Was the baby breathing on its own? Did it need help breathing? Then we look to the records, the baby’s records, and we determine whether the baby suffered seizures. Did the baby get put on life support? Was there a prolonged hospitalization? We look to the head imaging, because the images done of the brain help us time when the brain injury occurred. You look to head ultrasound, MRI, cat scan. If there’s damage, when did the damage occur
and you tell when the damage occurred based on what you see on the head imaging. You also look to EEG’s which tell us whether there are seizures in the process after birth.
In addition, we look to the lab studies. Blood is taken from the baby’s umbilical cord. Many times that will tell us if the baby didn’t receive enough oxygen. These are all things we look to to tell whether cerebral palsy was caused by something that happened during the birthing process. Another thing you look at to see whether cerebral palsy was caused by something during the birthing process is whether vacuum extraction was used, whether forceps were used, was there a prolonged labor process.
If you suspect that your child’s cerebral palsy was due to something that happened in the labor or delivery process, or something after birth, you can call us or go to our website at www.abclawcenters.com. We answer questions like this from people every day and I’m sure we can help you out too.