Discovering that you are pregnant is often a joyous time, but it can also lead to feelings of anxiety as you wish for a healthy baby, which includes a healthy delivery. Although the risk is relatively small, birth injuries can and do occur. In the U.S. alone, approximately 28,000 birth injuries occur each year, some of which can lead to cerebral palsy. Fortunately, knowing how to handle cerebral palsy caused by a birth injury can help you better provide for your child.
Types of Cerebral Palsy
Knowing the various types of cerebral palsy will ensure you are better equipped to handle the situation. Although all forms of cerebral palsy are serious in nature, there are those considered less severe than others. Classifications for cerebral palsy are as follows:
- Monoplegia: Perhaps the mildest form of cerebral palsy in which just one limb is affected.
- Diplegia: Yet another milder form of cerebral palsy, though still crippling in nature. This form of cerebral palsy typically affects the lower portion of the body, such as the legs.
- Hemiplegia: A more severe form of cerebral palsy that affects an arm and a leg on the same side of the body.
- Paraplegia: The lower half of the body is affected, which includes both legs.
- Triplegia: This form of cerebral palsy affects three limbs, which could be both legs and an arm.
- Double hemiplegia: Both arms and both legs are affected, yet the effect may be more noticeable on one side of the body compared to the other.
- Tetraplegia: Both arms and both legs are affected, but the effect is more noticeable in three of the limbs compared to the fourth limb.
- Quadriplegia: All four limbs are equally affected.
- Pentaplegia: The most serious form of cerebral palsy in which all four limbs are infected with the inclusion of the neck and head, which can cause complications related to eating and even breathing.
Children with cerebral palsy typically require round the clock care as they are unable to perform certain activities by themselves. The level of care the afflicted child needs depends on the type of cerebral palsy that affects the child. For example, in milder forms of cerebral palsy, your child may still be able to eat on his or her own, but in more serious situations, someone will need to feed, bathe, and dress the child.
Causes of Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy can occur before or after birth. It is a condition that is caused when the brain does not receive enough oxygen. Although cerebral palsy can occur because of certain health complications, there are instances in which it is related to a medical malpractice issue. Medical malpractice issues that can cause cerebral palsy include:
- Medical staff's inability to properly diagnose and treat conditions such as meningitis during pregnancy
- Medical staff's inability to determine proper fetal heart rate during labor
- Medical staff's inability to diagnose an umbilical cord prolapse, which occurs when the umbilical cord falls through the cervix prior to the baby's delivery
- Medical staff's failure to schedule a cesarean delivery in the event the baby is too large for safe passing through the birth canal or in the event that it is medically necessary for the safety of both mother and baby
- The use of birthing instruments to help guide a delivery along such as the use of forceps or even a vacuuming system
Each of these incidents can result in injury to your baby, specifically injuries that deprive your baby of necessary oxygen. If your child is a victim of birth injuries caused by medical malpractice, do not be afraid to speak up. Contact a lawyer that specializes in medical malpractice is the best thin you can do for you and your baby.
The lawyer can review your medical documentation in order to pursue a lawsuit or settlement on your behalf. Keep in mind that due to HIPPA regulations, you will need to request your medical documentation and bring it to your lawyer as the lawyer will be unable to request the information. With the help of your medical malpractice lawyer, you can secure the money you need to provide your child with necessary medical and supervised care.