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Cerebral Palsy Attorneys in West Virginia

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Cerebral palsy (CP) is a condition that involves a series of disorders which affect both the nervous system and the brain, affecting a wide range of physical and developmental abilities. Cerebral palsy most often occurs as a result of a birth injury, but the symptoms of this condition can also develop later. In many cases of cerebral palsy, a doctor or the nursing staff may have noticed signs in the mother during pregnancy and/or during the delivery, and failed to take the proper measures. This could be considered an incident of medical malpractice, allowing the mother to pursue compensation for the harm caused to her baby due to negligent care.

At Berthold Law Firm, our West Virginia cerebral palsy lawyers help families pursue full and fair compensation for their CP-afflicted children. Call (304) 605-2040 today to discuss your legal options.

Causes of Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is one of the most common results of birth injury, with the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke estimating that delivery complications account for severe CP in between 5 to 10 percent of newborns. While some cases of CP are genetic in nature, many others are completely preventable and are the result of improper medical care.

Some of the many causes of CP include:

  • Premature birth: Children born before the 37 weeks have a higher risk of having CP than babies that are delivered full-term. Similarly, children who weigh less than 5 ½ pounds have an increased chance of having CP.
  • Infection: If the mother suffers from a serious infection during pregnancy, inflammation-causing proteins called cytokines can begin to circulate in the brain and blood of the baby, leading to brain damage. Fever in the mother during pregnancy and delivery can also cause this problem. Infections can also be acquired after birth from the external environment and cause brain damage. Meningitis and encephalitis are just some of the many infections of the brain which can lead to CP.
  • Preeclampsia: High blood pressure during pregnancy, or preeclampsia, can constrict and damage the blood vessels in the placenta and restrict the supply of oxygen-rich blood to the baby. Preeclampsia can cause CP if doctors fail to intervene.
  • Jaundice and kernicterus: Jaundice is a condition that occurs when chemical known as bilirubin builds up in a baby’s blood, causing yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes. If left untreated, severe jaundice can lead to a condition known as kernicterus which can cause severe brain damage.
  • Head trauma: CP can occur if the baby suffers head trauma during the birthing process, such as through the improper use of forceps or vacuum extractors.
  • Post-term pregnancy: If a baby remains in the womb for too long, the placenta will begin to deteriorate and potentially restrict the baby’s supply of oxygen. Additionally, the baby may become too large, making delivery more difficult and increasing the baby’s risk of injury. For this reason, it is often recommended for labor to be induced between 40 and 41 weeks if the baby has not yet been delivered.

Types of Cerebral Palsy

The three main types of cerebral palsy are as follows:

Athetoid cerebral palsy (sometimes referred to as dyskinetic cerebral palsy or ADCP): This kind of condition involves involuntary and uncontrolled movements. The muscle groups of the individual could be too tense in some places and too loose in others. Out of all types of cerebral palsy, about 30% of people with the condition have athetoid cerebral palsy. Individuals with this condition might find it hard to walk or use their hands.

Ataxic cerebral palsy: This type of cerebral palsy causes balance problems, poor coordination, vision problems, and problems with walking. It is also known as hypotonic cerebral palsy. Children affected by this condition walk with their feet far apart and could find it hard to be quick or precise. They might also have problems writing or buttoning clothes. Children who suffer from ataxic cerebral palsy might also be affected by an intention tremor. Intention tremor involves an increase of quivering in the arm or hand when the child reaches for an object; the closer the hand is to the object, the more the hand or arm trembles.

Spastic cerebral palsy: This condition is the most common type of cerebral palsy. It affects around 70% to 80% of patients. It is further grouped by the muscles involved and how they are affected. Spastic quadriplegia, spastic diplegia, and spastic hemiplegia are the three types of spastic cerebral palsy that could have an impact on an individual.

  • Spastic quadriplegia: involves high muscle tone and impairs movements. Symptoms can include tremors or jerking of the limbs. Many people with this condition will be unable to walk.
  • Spastic diplegia: impairs the legs but has minimal or no impairment to the arms. Symptoms can include difficulty walking and hip problems.
  • Spastic hemiplegia: impairs only one side of the body. Symptoms will include the side of the body opposite the injured side of the brain being affected by cerebral palsy.

Call Our Firm if You Need a West Virginia Cerebral Palsy Lawyer

The short term and long term physical pain, suffering, and financial costs involved in caring for a child with cerebral palsy are astronomical. Although we realize that financial compensation cannot entirely make up for the situation, it can certainly help to cover costs. If you have any questions about cerebral palsy and whether your case makes you a good candidate to file a medical malpractice suit, we would be happy to offer you a free case consultation.

Our West Virginia cerebral palsy attorneys have nearly 70 years of experience handling medical malpractice cases. We know exactly how stressful and upsetting finding out that your child has this type of condition can be, and we are here to help.

Please do not hesitate to call our office now at (304) 605-2040 to make an appointment!

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