Cerebral palsy is caused by an abnormality or disruption in brain development, usually before a child is born. People used to think that CP was mainly caused by lack of oxygen during the birth process. Scientists now think that this causes only a small number of CP cases. About 10,000 infants are diagnosed with CP and up to 1,500 preschoolers in the U.S. are recognized as having it each year. The United Cerebral Palsy Association estimates that more than 764,000 Americans have CP.
Between 35% and 50% of all children with CP will have accompanying seizure disorder and some level of mental retardation. They also may have learning disabilities and vision, speech, hearing, or language problems. These problems can range from mild to severe. Everyone with cerebral palsy has problems with body movement and posture but the physical problems are worse for some people than for others.
The brain damage that leads to CP can happen before birth, during birth, within a month after birth or during the first years of a child’s life when the brain is developing. Factors that may lead to problems with brain development include:
- Premature birth
- Genetic conditions passed from parent to child
- Maternal infection
- Lack of oxygen to the brain related to difficult labor or delivery
- Fetal stroke causing a disruption of blood to the developing brain
- Traumatic head injury to an infant
Ten to fifteen percent of Cerebral Palsy is caused from a recognized brain injury, bleeding into the brain and damage caused by lack of oxygen. It is very important to understand that a brain injury caused during delivery in many cases could have been prevented. Medical mistakes are responsible for thousands and thousands of brain injury cases. If you question whether your child’s brain injury was a result of medical negligence, you need to consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney and get the answers you deserve.