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Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy is a disability resulting from injury to the brain before, during or shortly after birth. Approximately 8,000 infants born in the United States are diagnosed with cerebral palsy each year. Any person diagnosed with cerebral palsy should expect lifelong medical costs.

Cerebral palsy is considered a group of disorders. In cerebral palsy the brain and the nervous system functions such as movement, hearing, and sight are affected. The term “cerebral” refers to the brain, and “palsy” refers to paralysis, or lack of control of one’s body

Doctors and hospital personnel should prioritize you and your baby’s safety first. If you believe negligence or mistakes on the part of doctors, nurses, or other hospital employees caused cerebral palsy in your child, we urge you to contact a practiced personal injury attorney.

Los Angeles Lawyer for Cerebral Palsy, CA

Medical malpractice should never be tolerated. Act now, you may be entitled to substantial compensation for medical costs and your pain and suffering. It is essential that you contact a birth injury attorney and get what you deserve.

Cerebral Palsy is a chronic degrading condition that has no cure. If you believe your child suffered from a birth injury that resulted in cerebral palsy, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced personal injury attorney. The Los Angeles attorneys at Yarian & Associates, APC have over two decades of experience successfully litigating childbirth malpractice cases. Our attorneys are committed to helping you and your family to recover. Yarian & Associates, APC accepts clients throughout the greater Los Angeles County and Tulare County area and surrounding communities including Glendale, Pasadena, Long Beach, Irvine, Los Angeles, Riverside, and Fresno.

Talk to an attorney about your case today. Call (844) 291-1911 or submit an online contact form today.

Overview for Cerebral Palsy in California


Cerebral Palsy Definition

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NIH) classifies the term “cerebral palsy” (CP) as a group of neurological disorders that appear in infancy or early childhood. Cerebral palsy is caused by damage done to the motor control centers of the brain.

Cerebral palsy affects the brain’s outer layer, otherwise known as the cerebral cortex. The cerebral cortex controls direct muscle movement. This is why muscle coordination problems are inherent in cerebral palsy. In every cerebral palsy case the damages and disabilities are permanent.

A child with cerebral palsy often requires a lifetime of medical care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and special assistance.  Cerebral palsy treatment is incredibly costly and usually life-long.


Facts About Cerebral Palsy

The following are some general facts about cerebral palsy (CP).

  • 80 percent of all CP cases are spastic in nature
  • It is estimated that 10 percent of all CP cases are due to malpractice shortly before or during labor
  • CP is not a progressive injury, and will remain the same or worse over time
  • 80 percent of all CP cases develop before a child is 1 month of age
  • Asphyxia and head trauma are major factors linked to CP
  • Estimates put the number of new CP cases in the United States at around 10,000 per year
  • Costs associated with CP can sometime reach into the millions of dollars over a lifetime

Early Warning Signs of Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy (CP) must be diagnosed by a trained neurological scientist. Many tests must be done for muscle tone issues, movement abnormalities, paralysis, hearing loss, seizures, vision issues, and other common signs.

Cerebral palsy symptoms normally do not develop until after the child is a year old. Diagnostic testing is often incredibly costly and stressful. The following are some early warning signs of CP.

In a Baby Younger Than 6 Months of Age:

  • Head lagging when the baby is picked up while lying on their back
  • The baby feels stiff
  • The baby feels floppy
  • When you pick up the baby, their legs are stiff and the cross or scissor

In a Baby Older Than 6 Months of Age:

  • The baby cannot bring their hands together
  • The baby doesn’t roll over in either direction
  • The baby reaches out with only one hand while the other is fisted
  • The baby has difficulty bringing their hands to their mouth

In a Baby Older Than 10 Months of Age:

  • The baby crawls in a lopsided manner, pushing off with one hand and leg while dragging the opposite hand and leg
  • He cannot stand holding onto support

Causes for Cerebral Palsy

In many cases, the cause of cerebral palsy is unknown. Some possible causes include congenital brain malformations, maternal infections, fetal injury, and others. However, if a child has acquired cerebral palsy the disorder begins from a birth injury.

Medical malpractice occurring during childbirth can be devastating. Simple administrative errors can affect your whole child’s life. A medical team can fail to detect fetal distress during delivery or be unaware of a preexisting medical condition. Either of these mistakes can result in CP.

Lack of Adequate Information

Women are required to undergo a series of prenatal tests to determine the health of their unborn child. A medical professional can perform medical malpractice by failing to offer these services, ignoring a medical condition, or misinterpreting the data.

Parents should receive prompt and full disclosure of any concerning test results. A parent who wasn’t fully informed of their child’s genetic or congenital defects can file a wrongful birth lawsuit. It is a parent’s right to determine whether to continue the pregnancy.

Maternal Infections

Maternal infections can be bacterial, fungal, parasitic, or viral. A maternal infection can often affect a developing fetus and requires quick treatment. Prompt medical care is important to preventing or minimizing damage to the baby’s brain tissue and other organs.

All maternal infections must be attended to immediately. Health care providers are required to test for a variety of common illnesses, especially if a fever is present during pregnancy. If a medical personnel suspected an infection butdid not sufficiently test or treat you or your baby after birth, you can file a claim for medical malpractice.

Medication Errors

Often during pregnancy, a doctor will prescribe medications. Any kind of pharmaceutical or medical error can have terrible consequences. If your doctor or pharmacist did any of the following it can be considered medical malpractice.

  • Improper dosage of medication
  • Incorrect dosage filled by a pharmacy
  • Medication is proven to be inappropriate or dangerous for mother and child
  • Inadequate monitoring of the condition both mother and child when anesthesia is used during a surgical procedure

Any of the above errors can result in health complications for your child, including cerebral palsy.

Medical Care Not Meeting “Standard of Care”

A health care professional is required to meet a certain standard when performing their duties. When medical personnel fail to meet these standards, medical malpractice may occur. A doctor or nurse not meeting the right “standard of care” is putting your child at risk for CP.

A few examples of medical professionals not meeting a “standard of care” include:

  • Lack of assistance when the mother is experiencing challenging or prolonged labor that could compromise the wellbeing of the child.
  • Not providing the necessary medical treatment or equipment in a timely manner. This can include antibiotic treatment or cesarean sections.
  • Not assessing a variety of conditions in either mother or child during and after birth. This includes fetal distress, newborn trauma, and maternal infection.
  • Not treating umbilical cord problems promptly or correctly.
  • Diagnosing Cephalopelvic Disproportion (CPD) before a cesarean section or early delivery of the child.
  • Placenta previa or abruption to a uterine complication that can prevent normal labor

Medical Malpractice in the Delivery Room

Almost 20 percent of all cerebral palsy cases result from brain damage during the birth process. Because of this, a baby’s delivery is a particularly delicate period. Any slight error can result in lifelong medical conditions for your baby.
The placenta delivers oxygen to the baby until he or she is able to breathe outside the womb. Any amount of time where oxygen is restricted during birth can create neurological damage. An early brain injury can easily result in a cerebral palsy disorder.

Some examples of situations that can cause neurological damage in babies include:

  • Medical team failure to notice signs of fetal distress that warranted a cesarean section
  • Prolonged labor due to CPD or another condition that prevented the baby from being born vaginally
  • If eclampsia or preeclampsia is not properly diagnosed and treated, the mother may experience seizures and possibly harming the unborn child.
  • Improper use of forceps

Cerebral Palsy Types

Cerebral palsy is when the motor control facility in the brain is damaged. Faulty development or damage to motor areas can disrupt the brain’s ability to control movement and posture sufficiently.

People with cerebral palsy must endure extremely difficult medical, social, and educational development. There are four main categories of cerebral palsy:

  • Spastic cerebral palsy, which is the most common type and is characterized by muscle stiffness that makes movements appear stiff and jerky;
  • Athetoid cerebral palsy, the most common symptoms of which include slow, uncontrolled movements of the extremities and trunk, often accompanied by speech language disorders;
  • Ataxic cerebral palsy, which is the least common type and features tremors and speech and oral problems; and
  • Mixed cerebral palsy, which combines spasticity and athenoid movements.

If your child has cerebral palsy, and you believe the condition was caused by a birth injury, you may have grounds to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor who delivered your baby, the hospital where your child was born, or other involved medical professionals.


Additional Resources

Data and Statistics for Cerebral Palsy – Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website and see research done about cerebral palsy around the world. See when cerebral paly is commonly treated, how many babies are diagnosed with cerebral palsy, and resources for parents and cerebral palsy patients.

United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) of the Golden Gate – Visit the United Cerebral Palsy of San Francisco, an organization that provides and facilitates services and resources to empower people with disabilities to be independent. See the United Cerebral Palsy jobs, the United Cerebral Palsy locations, and the United Cerebral Palsy associations.

Cerebral Palsy Hope Through Research – Visit the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, an organization dedicated to research and providing information about medical conditions. See how cerebral palsy in children is treated, the different kind of cerebral palsy, and symptoms that indicate cerebral palsy.


Talk to an Experienced Birth Injury Attorney

The attorneys at Yarian & Associates, APC can review the facts of your case to determine whether you have a viable claim. Your child’s pain and suffering and decreased quality of life should not go without consequences. Call Yarian & Associates, APC for legal counsel from a qualified personal injury attorney.

Our firm has helped many medical malpractice victims obtain financial compensation for their injuries.  Yarian & Associates, APC attorneys have decades of experience in personal injury. Put you and your child’s future in the right hands. Call Yarian & Associates, APC for a free consultation, we represent clients throughout the greater Los Angeles-Long Beach metropolitan area and surrounding cities including Visalia, Glendale, Irvine, Riverside, Fresno, Pasadena, Los Angeles, and Santa Monica

If you or someone you love has suffered a serious injury as the result of the negligence of a doctor, hospital, nurse or other medical professional or facility, call (844) 291-1911 today for a free consultation.



This article was last updated on June 19th, 2018.

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