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CEREBRAL PALSY: EXPLANATION and CAUSES

Victor Lewin - Wednesday, October 19, 2016

This Blog is the first in a series of posts on Cerebral Palsy and its relation to medical malpractice.

Wagners has extensive experience in medical malpractice and complex litigation, and has represented clients throughout Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI. Wagners has been successful in many birth trauma cases, and has obtained for its clients the much needed and lifelong financial support for families with children of CP.

What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral Palsy (CP) is an umbrella term that refers to a group of permanent movement disorders that surface early in childhood. CP is the most common movement disorder in children. The prevalence of CP is estimated to occur in about 1.5 to per 1,000 live births of children of a defined age range.[1]

Cerebral Palsy can affect body movement, muscle control, muscle coordination, muscle tone, reflex, posture and balance. The extent of motor disability depends on the individual. It can range from minimal, such as weakness in one hand, to profound, which may result in an almost complete lack of voluntary movement. People with CP may also have visual, learning, hearing, speech, epilepsy and intellectual impairments.

Causes

There is no single cause of CP: it is the result of abnormal development or damage occurring to parts of the developing brain that control movement, balance, and posture, either before, during or after birth.

Some causes of CP are preventable, others are not. Medical malpractice claims arise in cases where the condition could and should have been predicted and prevented.

Risk factors that increase the likelihood of CP include preterm birth, multiple-birth pregnancies, certain infections during pregnancy such as toxoplasmosis or rubella, exposure to methylmercury during pregnancy, a difficult delivery, and head trauma during the first few years of life, among others.


[1] Oskoui, M; Coutinho, F; Dykeman, J; Jetté, N; Pringsheim, T (Jun 2013). "An update on the prevalence of cerebral palsy: a systematic review and meta-analysis.". Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology. 55 (6): 509–19

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