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Cerebral Palsy Linked to Birth Asphyxia

Birth related injuries can rob children and families of the joy and happiness that childbirth is supposed to bring. Panic and fear can quickly set in, especially when the birth injury is serious and appears to be permanent. Cerebral palsy is a condition that results in impaired muscle coordination and other disabilities and affects about one to four out of every 1,000 children born, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Birth asphyxia – a deprivation of blood and/or oxygen to a child’s brain and other organs – can lead to serious birth injuries such as cerebral palsy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also estimate that the lifetime cost to care for a child born with cerebral palsy can reach nearly one million dollars.

Common Causes of Birth Asphyxia

Birth asphyxia is estimated to occur in about four out of every 1,000 births. Although some cases of birth asphyxia cannot be prevented, others result from medical errors committed by medical personnel involved in caring for the mother before and/or during birth. These causes can include:

  • Failing to ensure the mother’s blood is sufficiently oxygenated before and during birth;
  •    A prolonged or difficult delivery;
  • High or low blood pressure in the mother;
  • The baby’s airway being blocked; and/or
  • Difficulties with the umbilical cord during delivery.

For parents of children born with cerebral palsy, it is essential that an experienced and knowledgeable Philadelphia birth injury lawyer review the facts and circumstances of your case to determine the precise cause of your newborn’s injuries. Where medical negligence is to blame, you may be entitled to compensation for your and/or your newborn’s economic expenses and noneconomic losses.

How is Cerebral Palsy Linked to Birth Asphyxia?

Birth asphyxia deprives the newborn’s body and organs of vital oxygen. Cell damage and death begins after just a few minutes of oxygen deprivation. If sufficient oxygen is restored quickly enough, the child may suffer effects that can last for several days or weeks but can make a full recovery. When the child’s brain is deprived of blood and/or oxygen for more than a few minutes, however, the brain and other organs can be permanently damaged. This permanent damage can lead to conditions such as cerebral palsy.

What are the Signs of Birth Asphyxia and Cerebral Palsy?

According to Seattle Children’s, birth asphyxia may be present where the newborn’s:

  • Breathing is weak;
  • Skin is blue or pale;
  • Heart rate is low.

Cerebral palsy signs and symptoms may not appear for several years after birth. The most common sign is developmental delay, such as missing key milestones. Poor or unusual posture and abnormal muscle tone can also be signs of cerebral palsy.

The birth injury legal team at Cohen, Placitella & Roth, PC. is available to assist families in Pennsylvania and New Jersey whose newborn child suffered a birth-related injury. We will quickly but carefully analyze your case and help you pursue any compensation to which you may be entitled. Contact our office by telephone at (215) 567-3500 or contact us online today.

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