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How can a birth injury lead to cerebral palsy?

One of the most serious potential consequences of a baby suffering an injury during birth is cerebral palsy. This condition, commonly known as CP, actually refers to a range of disorders that are caused by abnormal brain development or brain damage, such as if the infant is deprived of oxygen during labor.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists four types of cerebral palsy, with spastic cerebral palsy being by far the most common. People with this type of CP have stiff muscles that make their movements awkward. It can affect the patient’s legs, the limbs on one side of the body, or virtually the entire body.

Cerebral palsy typically starts showing symptoms in early childhood, perhaps within a few months of birth. Possible warning signs differ depending on the child’s age, but can include:

  • Feeling stiff or floppy
  • Unusual head or leg movements when picked up
  • Inability to roll after age 6 months
  • Difficulty bringing hands to his or her mouth
  • After 10 months of age, lopsided crawling, or scooting or hopping on his or her knees instead of crawling

There is no cure for cerebral palsy, but early diagnosis can make a big difference in the child’s future well-being. Treatment and intervention services, including for school-age children.

These therapies and school services can be expensive. For children who developed CP as the result of a doctor’s mistake, one option for ensuring they need not do without the care they deserve is medical malpractice litigation against the doctor or medical facility responsible.