New York Personal Injury Attorney Discusses Coping with Birth Injuries: Cerebral Palsy
At present, about 500,000 American children and adults are coping with cerebral palsy. Children often remain undiagnosed until they turn two or three years old. Out of every 1,000 infants and young kids, two or three of them have cerebral palsy. While there is no cure once parents discover that their child has this condition, there are a number of therapies and drugs that can address some of the most troubling – and limiting – symptoms.
How is Cerebral Palsy Often Defined?
Cerebral Palsy actually refers to a number of medical conditions that can affect a person’s muscle tone, movement or posture. They can include learning disabilities, seizures, mental retardation, speech, hearing, digestive, and vision problems. Some sources indicate that most children develop cerebral palsy due to some type of injury or “insult” to the brain either before or during birth.
While some parents or other caregivers may notice certain physical deficits during a child’s infancy, others may not become convinced of its presence until a child has entered his/her preschool years.
Common Signs and Symptoms of this Disease/Condition
Children or adults suffering from this condition often find it very difficult to sit “up straight” or hold their heads in a steady position while talking or handling various tasks. All of the various muscle tone issues can make it very difficult to walk “normally” or carry out predictable eye-hand coordination tasks. Muscle rigidity or stiffness, reduced range of motion, and “floppy” body parts often prove quite frustrating to anyone afflicted with one or more cerebral palsy conditions.
In a number of cases, children or adults with a palsy condition may also find it hard to swallow food or liquids – or suffer some type of eye muscle imbalance.
How Can a Doctor or Other Healthcare Provider Cause Cerebral Palsy?
In some cases, the delivering doctor or midwife may have improperly handled the birthing baby so that the child was temporarily deprived of critically needed oxygen for the brain (asphyxia). Breach births and other unusual issues can contribute to this type of problem, although as your New York personal injury attorney will tell you, these types of cases can vary greatly.
Other Common Causes of Cerebral Palsy
- Genetic issues. Some children may have random gene mutations that have caused their condition;
- Fetal strokes. These unusual medical events can result in the brain receiving too little blood supply and oxygen;
- Infections in the mother or child prior to birth. Infections causing any type of inflammation around a child’s brain can prove especially damaging. Of course, a mother’s infections are frequently passed to the fetus through the umbilical cord;
- Traumatic brain injuries. These might be caused by such events as a head injury due to a car accident, “shaken baby syndrome” – or any bad fall involving the head.
Your New York personal injury attorney can help you review your prenatal care medical records, along with your child’s birth records to determine the most likely, immediate cause of your child’s cerebral palsy condition.
Many Medical Professionals Can Help Treat Your Child’s Cerebral Palsy Symptoms
The exact roles each of the following professionals may play in improving your child’s condition – or his/her coping skills – can be reviewed in greater detail on the MayoClinic.org (and other highly reputable medical) websites. (The types of therapies and drugs these individuals often prescribe or suggest are also outlined in greater detail online).
- A pediatric neurologist
- An orthopedic surgeon
- A pediatrician or physiatrist
- A physical therapist
- An occupational therapist
- A speech language pathologist
- Social worker
- Mental health therapist
- Developmental therapist
- Special education teacher
The medications chosen for treatment are usually selected either because they target one or more symptomatic behaviors or address the main, whole body set of symptoms. Efforts are made to address both isolated spasticity and generalized spasticity.
Recommended drugs may currently include trihexyphenidyl, scopolamine or glycopyrrolate (Robinul, Robinul Forte). In some situations, some patients may even benefit from Botox injections into their salivary glands.