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Cerebral palsy (CP) is a movement disorder that affects coordination.
CP is the most common motor disability in children. CP may or may not result in intellectual impairments.
CP is caused by abnormal brain development or damage to the developing brain that affects a person’s ability to control his movements.   “Palsy” means weakness or problems controlling muscles.
Causes of CP that occur before birth include:
*Damage to the white matter of the brain known as myelin;
*Abnormal brain development;
*Bleeding in the brain, and;
*Lack of oxygen in the brain.
CP can be caused by damage to a developing fetus’ brain from oxygen deprivation during pregnancy or labor and delivery.  In a significant percentage of cases, CP is caused by medical malpractice.
CP is a lifelong condition.  It can result from only minutes of oxygen during birth. This condition can lead to substantial medical expenses and disabilities.  Not all children with CP have mental impairments, however, birth injuries in general, can have devastating consequences.  A diagnosis of CP is one of the worst outcomes.  Cerebral palsy remains the leading cause of childhood disability.
According to a recent study, there are six labor and delivery processors that can cause CP:
1.Placental abruption.
2.Uterine rupture.
3.Fetal distress.
4.Cord prolapse.
6.Birth Trauma.
Signs and symptoms are often present following birth and in early childhood.  Neonatal encephalopathy is present if the cause of the CP occurred during labor and delivery.
There is currently no cure for CP.
Signs that CP may be present include problems in respiration, low APGAR scores, and failure to achieve developmental milestones.
Spasticity, earlier signs and symptoms, may include lethargy, cortical dysfunction, stupor, or even seizures in severe cases.
In evaluating the standard of care for OB/GYNs, a malpractice lawyer must have a good understanding of obstetrics, gynecology, neonatology, and child development.
One of the hardest elements to prove in these cases is often not whether the standard of care was breached; it is whether damage to the fetus was avoidable by adherence to the standard of care.  Lawyers call this “proving causation.”
Causation experts such as obstetricians, pediatric neurologists and pediatric neuro- radiologists often testify in birth injury cases. The prenatal and labor and delivery electronic fetal heart monitors may be extremely important evidence of potential and actual fetal distress.
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