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Cerebral palsy is a permanent and irreversibly crippling condition that affects the central nervous system. Most victims develop the disability before birth or shortly after. While cerebral palsy can occur under the best medical care, many cases are caused by negligence at the time of birth or during the newborn period before the child leaves the hospital. If this is the case, there may be grounds for a suit for damages.
Anything that interferes with the development of the nervous system, or causes oxygen or nutrition to the brain to fail, can contribute to cerebral palsy. At the time of birth, oxygen loss can occur from uncorrected problems with the umbilical cord, damage to the placenta which causes the blood supply to the fetus to be compromised or fetal distress arising from the fetus being stuck in the birth canal. After birth, especially in premature births, cerebral palsy can arise from untreated complications with the cardiovascular, respiratory or digestive system, and from untreated seizures. In all these cases, it is possible that damage could have been avoided or that improper medical procedures contributed to the problem.
Symptoms of cerebral palsy include spasticity, seizures, delayed or abnormal development, paralysis, and mental retardation.
Cerebral palsy victims require specialized care and therapy and will need assistance throughout their lives, depending on the severity of the disorder. Added to the cost of such intensive long-term care is the loss of enjoyment of life that the victim experiences.
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