Cerebral palsy (CP) broadly describes a group of brain disorders that are caused by injury to the brain or abnormal brain development occurring during fetal growth, labor and delivery, or during the first years of the child’s life. Some cases of CP have unknown causes, others, however, have been traced to premature birth, very low birth weight, blood clotting abnormalities in the placenta during pregnancy, pelvic inflammatory infections, fetal stroke, inflammation of the umbilical cord, vaginal bleeding, lack of oxygen supply to the brain, trauma to the head at the time of labor and delivery, brain damage due to congenital causes, head injury (due to vehicular accident, fall or child abuse), lack of proper care for the pregnant woman, severe cases of jaundice, use of illegal drugs by the pregnant woman, and so forth. What is saddening, however, is the fact that behind all these causes is the high possibility of negligence or carelessness on the part of the doctor, medical staff of the hospital itself.
Cerebral palsy affects areas of the brain responsible in controlling muscle tone, motor skills, balance and coordination, and mental abilities, resulting to abnormal muscle tone and reflexes, problems with balance and movement, inadequate muscle growth, bone deformities, misaligned joints, excessive fatigue with movement and walking, difficulties in breathing, speech and language, feeding and swallowing disorders, cognitive impairment or learning disabilities, and many others.
The severity of the effects of CP depends on the location and extent of the damage to the child’s brain. Thus, while others may only experience difficulty in movement, others are totally unable to control both legs, both arms, or all four limbs. Likewise, while some children may still possess normal intelligence, others suffer from learning impairment.
Cerebral palsy has been classified into four categories, each with specific effects on the child. These categories are Spastic, Athetoid (or dyskinetic), Ataxic, and Mixed.
For a Chicago cerebral palsy lawyer, the compensation that the law allows CP victims to receive from the liable party (assuming that CP is a result of someone’s carelessness or act of negligence) is very important as this can help assure the provision of medical treatment needed by the CP victim. To be able to receive the maximum amount of compensation, however, it will require the best arguments and defense from a highly knowledgeable and skilled cerebral palsy lawyer.