One thing is for certain: cerebral palsy is a devastating disorder. When the brain is no longer able to control the body’s muscles, everything from movement and speech to swallowing, speaking, hearing, and cognition can be negatively impacted. The disease makes its appearance in early childhood, even infancy — right at the time when a new parent’s life is arguably at its most intense.
Certain cases of cerebral palsy (CP) can be linked to traumatic events occurring within the womb before birth, such as infection — but the harsh reality is that many cases of cerebral palsy go unexplained. How can something so debilitating simply be written off as “unexplained”? Are these cases truly “unexplainable”, or is there something more to the story?
It’s important to remember that cerebral palsy is not hereditary. In fact, the disorder is often preventable. The sad truth? Underreported doctor negligence and medical malpractice are often to blame.
Unfortunately, medical malpractice is not as rare as one would like to think. A recent study has shown that medical errors are the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S.
Statistics Reveal a Huge Problem
Until one is personally affected by a certain disease, there is a tendency to think that the disease “happens only to other people or other families.” However, a 2008 study conducted by the CDC’S Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network found that 1 in 323 children are inflicted by cerebral palsy. In truth, this is not a small issue affecting a small population at all, but a near-epidemic — and, for the most part, a preventable one.
The first step in preventing disease should always be understanding its cause. Given the prevalence of cerebral palsy, it is frankly unacceptable that the cause of a child’s CP is often not determined or even investigated.
The emotional effect of being told a child’s illness is without determinable cause can leave parents and family members feeling uncertain and overwhelmed by the many possibilities. And, even worse, young parents may wonder if they are to blame.
The Undeniable Connection Between Birth Injury & Cerebral Palsy
The trauma that causes cerebral palsy can occur at any time — before, after, or during birth. The problem is that it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly when this trauma has occurred, but unless a mother has suffered a viral infection during pregnancy, it’s quite possible that the moment of trauma was caused by a preventable, doctor-caused birth injury.
What causes a birth injury? Well, you’d be surprised. Causes range from exposure to workplace chemicals while pregnant, the use of prescription drugs before or during pregnancy, a prolonged delivery, and even the use of forceps.
It is natural to want to trust one’s doctor. In fact, most doctors are trustworthy and caring. However, there is obviously something very wrong with our medical system.
Medical malpractice lawsuits are often able to make meaningful changes to an industry that so often abuses its position and power. Considering the corrupt climate of state medical boards, it is now more important than ever to question medical practices — for the health of both our children and our medical system.
How to Detect a Birth Injury
Thankfully, many doctors are able to detect whether or not an illness or a disorder has been caused by an injury. It’s important to keep in mind that the ramifications of such birth injuries include much more than just cerebral palsy. Newborns can also suffer Erb’s Palsy (also called Brachial Plexus Palsy), bleeding in the brain, injury to brain cells from lack of oxygen (Hypoxic-ischemic Encephalopathy HIE), brain swelling, facial nerve damage, and skull fractures.
The overwhelming fact is that out of every 1,000 births, 7 babies will suffer a birth injury. This figure is simply too high. It is time we stop accepting preventable illnesses as having “no discernable cause.” It’s time we question certain medical practices and demand the quality of care that we all deserve.