Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of disorders resulting from brain damage that has a lifelong effect on a person. Damage to certain areas of the fetal brain during pregnancy and sometimes during childbirth cause CP. The disorder does not worsen over time.
CP affects muscle control, movement and coordination. It is one of the most common congenital (from birth) disorders of childhood. The three major types of CP are:
- Spastic cerebral palsy (stiffness and movement problems)
- Athetoid cerebral palsy (involuntary and uncontrolled movements)
- Ataxic cerebral palsy (a distorted sense of balance and depth perception)
Most of the time, the cause of CP is unknown. Usually it is the result of some insult to the fetal brain during its development. It can result from oxygen deprivation to the newborn during labor and delivery, harming the brain. It also may be caused by some damage to the brain after the baby is born, such as head trauma from a car crash if the infant or young child is not protected by a car seat or by being shaken vigorously by someone.
Long-Term Complications of Cerebral Palsy
CP can range from mild to severe. It can be a devastating condition. Complications associated with the disorder may include:
- Visual problems or blindness
- Aspiration of food (breathing food or liquids into the lungs)
- Gastroesophageal reflux (spitting up or food running backwards up the esophagus)
- Speech disorders
- Tooth decay
- Sleep disorders
- Behavior problems
Other fundamental abilities that require muscles and motor skills and may affect these patients include: breathing, bladder and bowel control, eating and swallowing, and learning.
Help for Affected Infants and Families
Many organizations are available to help families and their infants with cerebral palsy ranging from clinical trials to support groups and information. Our cerebral palsy lawyers are birth injury attorneys who help affected families seek compensation when negligence contributed to an infant's injury. To find out if you can seek compensation, contact us for a free evaluation of your case.