Today is World Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day. Cerebral Palsy is a condition which affects babies and young children and arises as a result of damage to the immature brain.
Often the damage can be as a result of a traumatic event such as lack of oxygen during delivery, stroke in a newborn, resulting in haemorrhage or as a result of acquired infection such as meningitis. Prematurity often predisposes a baby to brain haemorrhage and some babies who are born very early go on to develop cerebral palsy.
Unfortunately, injury to the brain cannot be reversed once the developing brain has sustained insult, although therapies to treat the consequences of the damage are available.
Some cases arise as a result of an event ‘in utero’ ie before birth which might be infection or other trauma. Birth trauma can result in injury. Sometimes the injury can be clearly identified and it can be shown that it was preventable. Where there is a clear link between substandard care and injury an award of compensation can be sought.
In other cases the cause of the injury may remain unknown or it might be that the injury sustained would not have been prevented even with a different course of treatment or earlier intervention by clinicians.
Cerebral Palsy is used to describe a wide range of disability. Some children will have learning disability as well as physical limitations with postural and movement disorders ranging from minor to serious involving all limbs.
The condition cannot be ‘cured’ but modern medicine enables affected children and adults to undergo advanced therapies combining physical treatments with knowledge of Neurological benefits. Children often benefit from intense Hydrotherapy. Where brain injury is profound, care is centred around enhancing quality of life and technological developments enable work around sensory responses, using light, sound and touch.
Where motor control is severely impacted, smart technology allowing control of equipment by eye movement is commonly used.
At Clarke Willmott we have specialist Birth Injury lawyers who have each been working in this field for more than 10 years. They are accredited for Clinical Negligence work and have all dealt with a range of different, complex cases. If you or a family member or friend have been affected by the issues in this article contact our specialist solicitors, Kerry Fifield, Marguarita Tyne (Bristol) or Chris Thorne (Taunton) on 0800 316 8892 who will be pleased to advise you.