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Cerebral palsy and doctor error

When thinking ahead to the birth of their child, most soon-to-be parents in Connecticut are imagining all the cuteness and joy they are about to experience. While most births go smoothly, unfortunately not all of them do. Cerebral palsy is an injury that usually occurs at birth, and sometimes it is caused by medical error.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, cerebral palsy occurs when there is some type of injury to the brain, which leads to a variety of symptoms. There are numerous causes of these injuries, and often the specific cause is unknown. Around 70% of CP cases were due to events that occurred before the actual birth. These include:

  • A malfunctioning placenta which restricts the amount of oxygen to the fetus
  • Infections, such as rubella, toxoplasmosis, and cytomegalovirus, that occur during pregnancy
  • Blood-type incompatibility
  • Premature babies

A difficult labor and birth can also cause cerebral palsy. This can be caused due to the baby's positioning, a prolonged vaginal birth or an emergency c-section. If the medical team does not recognize the baby's need for excess oxygen or other emergency treatment in these cases, the doctor may be found to be at fault.

According to Dignity Health, the symptoms of CP usually do not show up until the child is two or three and are often diagnosed during developmental milestones such as crawling, speaking and walking. Symptoms vary but may include:

  • Learning disabilities
  • Poor vision
  • Trouble speaking
  • Abnormal sensations
  • Difficulty hearing
  • Trouble with the bladder or bowel 

With proper diagnosis, the correct treatment can be prescribed. Although cerebral palsy cannot be cured, it can be greatly managed and the abilities can be significantly improved.

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