Noah is a 6 year old boy with cerebral palsy who uses a wheelchair to get around. But this week, Noah received an amazing Christmas present from some local non-profit groups: his first bicycle. The bike was custom made for Noah so that he would be able to ride it all by himself. Seeing Noah’s huge smile as he rode around the local mall almost brought everyone to tears. The brand new adaptive bike will not only provide Noah with hours of fun, but it will help the little boy develop muscles and better posture, something that is so important for children with cerebral palsy.
Noah was diagnosed with cerebral palsy shortly after he was born. He needs help doing just about everything, so this gift that brings him so much independence is indeed life-changing. Hopefully the physical benefits of the bike – as well as the sense of confidence Noah feels while riding it – will help him be able to do more things on his own.
The bike was a gift from Variety, a children’s charity. Local movie theaters sold Gold Heart pins to help Variety raise money for the bike, and Penn Cycles provided extra customization to make sure the bike was a perfect fit for Noah. Adaptive bicycles that utilize the highest technology can provide children who cannot walk, such as Noah, a chance to ride bikes like other children.
With his brand new bike, Noah looks ready to take on the world.
Cerebral palsy is a term used to describe a group of chronic disorders impairing control of movement, and the symptoms appear in the first few years of life. Although the brain damage that causes cerebral palsy does not worsen over time, the symptoms of the condition (stiff muscles and joints, floppy muscles, poor muscle control) sometimes become worse if the child does not receive proper treatment and therapy. With proper treatment, many children with cerebral palsy are able to have better use of their muscles and relief of some of the symptoms.
The disorders in cerebral palsy are caused by damage to motor areas in the brain. The damage disrupts the brain’s ability to control movement and posture. The brain injury that causes cerebral palsy can occur when there is trauma to the infant’s head (brain swelling and/or bleeding) during the birth process or when there is oxygen deprivation during labor and delivery or shortly after birth. Untreated jaundice (high bilirubin levels and kernicterus) after birth also can cause cerebral palsy.
There are many situations during labor and delivery that can cause a baby to become oxygen deprived, which can cause permanent brain damage such as hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), periventricular leukomlacia (PVL) and cerebral palsy. Oftentimes, a non-reassuring heart tracing on the fetal monitor is the only indication that a baby is being deprived of sufficient oxygen. It therefore is imperative for a baby to be closely monitored during labor, and fetal heart tracings must be closely watched and properly interpreted. Once the heart monitor indicates that a baby is in distress, quick actions must be taken, and oftentimes, an emergency C-section must occur to remove the baby from the oxygen depriving conditions.
Conditions that can cause cerebral palsy include the following:
- Umbilical cord injuries such as a nuchal cord (the cord is wrapped around the baby’s neck) and a prolapsed cord (the umbilical cord exits in front of the baby and it becomes compressed and unable to deliver oxygen)
- Problems with the placenta or uterus such as a ruptured uterus (which can cut the baby off from the supply of oxygen-rich blood coming from the mother), placenta previa (placenta is partially or completely blocking the cervix, which blocks the baby’s exit from the birth canal and can cause injury to the baby if not properly managed), placental abruption (the placental lining tears away from the uterus, which can cut off the baby’s oxygen supply), and placental insufficiency (can deprive the baby of nutrients and oxygen)
- Tachysistole or hyperstimulation caused by Pitocin or Cytotec (excessively frequent uterine contractions that push on the placenta and do not allow enough oxygen-rich blood to reach the baby through the umbilical cord)
- Trauma to the baby’s brain during delivery, which causes brain bleeds and insufficient oxygen in the infant’s brain. When physicians use dangerous delivery devices during a vaginal birth, such as forceps and vacuum extractors, the baby is put at risk for brain bleeds since these devices attach to the baby’s delicate head.
- Complications related to the baby’s size or position such as breech presentation, macrosomia (baby is large) or cephalopelvic disproportion (baby’s is too large to fit through the mother’s pelvis). These problems during birth are associated with umbilical cord problems and shoulder dystocia, and they also increase the risk of prolonged labor.
- Undiagnosed or improperly treated conditions in the mother such as high blood pressure (preeclampsia) or infection
- Vaginal birth after C-section (VBAC) and its potential complications, such as uterine rupture
- Fetal monitoring errors / failure to properly monitor or to recognize heart tracings that require immediate delivery
THERAPY AND TREATMENT FOR CHILDREN WITH CEREBRAL PALSY
There are many different types of surgeries and treatments and therapies that can help the symptoms of cerebral palsy. Playing sports, camping, animal therapy and riding horses and bicycles, along with many other complementary therapies, have been shown to be extremely beneficial for children with cerebral palsy. Indeed, social interaction, a sense of community and independence are very important for kids with the condition, and when they can share laughter and fun moments, the benefits are immeasurable.
HELP FOR FAMILIES WHOSE CHILDREN HAVE CEREBRAL PALSY
Children with cerebral palsy often require lifelong therapy and treatment. If your child suffers from cerebral palsy, call the nationally recognized attorneys at Reiter & Walsh ABC Law Centers. Our award winning lawyers have decades of experience with cerebral palsy cases, and if your child’s cerebral palsy was caused by negligence, we will fight to obtain the compensation your child needs for lifelong therapy and treatment and a secure future. We have numerous multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements that attest to our success and we never collect any fees until we win your case. Email or call us at 888-419-2229.