Cerebral palsy is an abnormal brain development or the result of damage caused to a developing brain, affecting the ability of children to control their muscles. Parents in North Carolina should know that the disorder can happen prior to, during or following birth, usually within the first month or years of life.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cerebral palsy is the most common childhood motor disability. The Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, which is a division of the CDC reports that about one in 323 children has the disorder. Based on 2008 figures from cases involving 8-year-old children with cerebral palsy in Missouri, Alabama, Wisconsin and Georgia, more boys than girls have the disorder and it is more common in the African-American community. While 6.9 percent of the children have co-occurring autism spectrum disorder, 41 percent have co-occurring epilepsy.
In metropolitan Atlanta in 2002, cerebral palsy occurred among 6.2 of 1,000 babies weighing 3.33 to 5.5 pounds and among 59.5 of 1,000 babies weighing less than 3.33 pounds. The same study found that only slightly more than one out of 1,000 babies weighing more than 5.5 pounds are diagnosed with cerebral palsy. While birth weight appears to be a risk factor for abnormal development in the brain, others are interrupted oxygen and blood supply to the brain and infections in the mothers, such as maternal genitourinary infection and blood infection.
If a baby suffers a lack of oxygen and blood supply to the brain because of the negligence of a nurse or medical facility, and the negligence is linked to the development of cerebral palsy in the child, the parents could have a case for medical malpractice. Parents who think that they have a case might consult a lawyer for advice on how to proceed.
Source: CDC, "Causes and Risk Factors of Cerebral Palsy", October 17, 2014