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Cerebral Palsy

It's a federal law: every state must provide an advocate for disabled people to fight for their legal rights and represent their interests before government agencies. The advocate can provide legal help for individuals or groups of disabled people.

Cerebral palsy--also known as CP--is a condition caused by injury to the parts of the brain that control our ability to use our muscles and bodies. Cerebral means having to do with the brain. Palsy means weakness or problems with using the muscles. Often the injury happens before birth, sometimes during delivery, or soon after being born. CP can be mild, moderate, or severe. Mild CP may mean a child is clumsy. Moderate CP may mean the child walks with a limp. He or she may need a special leg brace or a cane. More severe CP can affect all parts of a child's physical abilities. A child with moderate or severe CP may have to use a wheelchair and other special equipment. Sometimes children with CP can also have learning problems, problems with hearing or seeing (called sensory problems), or mental retardation. Usually, the greater the injury to the brain, the more severe the CP.

There are three main types of CP:

* Spastic CP is where there is too much muscle tone or tightness. Movements are stiff, especially in the legs, arms, and/or back. Children with this form of CP move their legs awkwardly, turning in or scissoring their legs as they try to walk. This is the most common form of CP.

* Athetoid CP (also called dyskinetic CP) can affect movements of the entire body. Typically, this form of CP involves slow, uncontrolled body movements and low muscle tone that makes it hard for the person to sit straight and walk.

* Mixed CP is a combination of the symptoms listed above. A child with mixed CP has both high and low tone muscle. Some muscles are too tight, and others are too loose, creating a mix of stiffness and involuntary movements.

More words used to describe the different types of CP include:

* Diplegia--This means only the legs are affected.

* Hemiplegia--This means one half of the body (such as the right arm and leg) is affected.

* Quadriplegia--This means both arms and legs are affected, sometimes including the facial muscles and torso.

People suffering from cerebral palsy can have a variety of problems related to brain damage and poor muscle control.


Just as patients have problems with muscle control in their arms and legs, they also have difficulties controlling their tongue, mouth, lips, jaw, and breath flow. As a result, they might have problems with speech. The most common speech problem is called dysarthria. This condition causes speech to be slow and slurred and, in some cases, hypernasal (too much air flow through the nose) or hyponasal (not enough air flow through the nose).


Cerebral palsy sufferers are also prone to drooling. There are several treatments available to combat this problem:

* Anticholinergics(drugs that reduce the flow of saliva)
* Surgery
* Biofeedback - lets the patient know when they are drooling


Because many of the same muscles used for talking are also used for eating, people with cerebral palsy also have difficulty when they eat. This can lead to malnutrition, as well as poor growth and development.

Another common problem is incontinence - poor bladder control. Incontinence takes several forms:

* Enuresis(bed wetting)
* Stress incontinence (urination during physical activity)
* Slow leak from the bladder

Learning Disabilities:

People with cerebral palsy may also suffer from learning disabilities. These disabilities can range from mild to severe. Patients with a mild learning disability may only have difficulties with a couple of subjects in school. Patients with severe mental retardation, however, learn at a much slower rate and need special assistance.

Approximately half of all people with cerebral palsy suffer from seizures. Seizures occur when there is abnormal brain activity (the brain attempts to send abnormal messages very close together). Seizures affect people in different ways - some people may stop moving and stare, others may fall down. Some seizures cause a person to fall and shake violently. The seizures are generally not dangerous and will only last a few minutes.

This information is intended to provide a brief overview of the problems related to cerebral palsy. Consult a physician to learn more about your specific case.

If your child has suffered a birth injury before, during, or shortly after birth, contact a cerebral palsy attorney to discuss your legal rights.

If you have any questions about your cerebral palsy legal rights, you may consult an attorney in this listing.

Litigators Incorporated

Litigators Incorporated is a Plaintiff's medical malpractice law firm that concentrates on representing parents of children with cerebral palsy, brain damage, Erb's palsy, and brachial plexus palsy.

Jeff Brody is an attorney and president of the firm. His sister died, leaving behind a child born with brain damage. Her death was the motivating force in his decision to handle birth trauma cases. Since then he has talked to thousands of parents of children with brain damage or cerebral palsy from all over the country, making him one of the leading birth trauma attorneys in the United States. He and the attorneys across the nation with whom he is affiliated are experienced in dealing with the complicated details associated with a medical malpractice trial.

Kenneth M. Sigelman, J.D., M.D.

Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates is a law firm dedicated to protecting the rights of children injured during the birth process as a result of medical malpractice. Over the past 17 years, Ken Sigelman, who is a licensed medical doctor as well as an award-winning trial lawyer, has personally obtained numerous verdicts, settlements, and arbitration awards in excess of $1 million.

Cerebral palsy, Erb's palsy, Group-B strep infections, and other birth injuries are the firm's primary areas of practice. In this complex and difficult area of the law, Ken Sigelman's medical background, legal expertise, and passionate commitment to justice for victims of medical negligence have proved to be a winning combination time and time again.

Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates limits its representation to victims of medical malpractice and their families. The firm does not represent insurance companies, HMOs, doctors, hospitals, or other healthcare providers.

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