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What is cerebral palsy and what causes it?

Cerebral palsy is the most common motor disability among children, and the lives of many children in Texas are affected by it. Parents whose children have been diagnosed with cerebral palsy very likely will want answers as to why their child has it and what the prognosis might be. Although this blog can provide no medical or legal advice for particular cases, it can provide some basic information about cerebral palsy and some possible causes.

Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders that can impact someone’s ability to move and to keep balance and posture. It is caused by abnormal development of the brain or damage to a developing brain. The impact of cerebral palsy varies by individual. Some people merely exhibit awkwardness while moving or walking but do not require special assistance. Others might require special equipment to get around, and some might not be able to walk at all and require lifelong care.

What causes cerebral palsy? A small percentage of cases are caused by brain injuries suffered more than 28 days after birth. The vast majority of cases, however, are believed to be due to brain injury suffered before birth or during birth. These are estimated to be as many as 90 percent of cerebral palsy cases. Cerebral palsy caused before birth or during birth is referred to as congenital cerebral palsy.

Congenital cerebral palsy is often caused by abnormal development of the brain before birth or brain damage suffered before birth. However, a small number of cases are thought to be the result of a lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain during birth. If this is a result of an error during delivery committed by a doctor or health professional, the child and their family may be entitled to damages for medical malpractice.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Facts About Cerebral Palsy,” accessed on May 15, 2016