What Research Is Being Done to Support Families Dealing with Cerebral Palsy? 

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child with cerebral palsy

Researchers have been studying cerebral palsy (CP) for over 150 years, bringing to light a significant body of knowledge that guides pediatricians, neurologists, and other medical specialists. Ongoing research about CP continues to provide valuable insights to patients and families.

A diagnosis of CP can be perplexing. It is thought to be a lifelong condition, as no cure has yet to be found. However, through the generosity of philanthropists and the tireless efforts of inspired scientists, there is always hope.

Developments in Cerebral Palsy Research

Today, CP is usually detected quite early – typically before a child reaches the age of 2. This provides an opportunity for medical specialists to deploy meaningful interventions sooner than ever to help manage the symptoms of cerebral palsy.

At the same time, innovative technology has created tools to help individuals with CP achieve their highest potential, some of whom have become world-renowned artists, musicians, actors, comedians, business executives, athletes, and more. These individuals are setting examples of how those diagnosed with CP can still make a profound difference in society.  Such individuals, together with other advocates and activists, are raising awareness, attracting research dollars, and addressing inequities faced by people with CP and those who love and care for them.

More than 40 years ago, researchers began tracking characteristics of CP patients. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an arm of the federal government, compiles and studies collections of data to help inform families and friends of those with CP of different ways to improve the quality of life of CP patients.  In addition, the CDC’s data sets the stage for future improvements in understanding the risk factors and causes of CP and how to develop guidelines for federal, state, and local government policy regarding the necessary services and interventions for those diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) undertakes important research into all facets of CP, directing funds to support the work of promising scientists who have dedicated their careers to cerebral palsy. For instance, Wayne State University, located in Dayton, Ohio, recently received a $5.9 million NIH grant to fund a physician-researchers work to prevent and treat CP. Additional research is orchestrated through several NIH divisions, including the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), among others.

Risk Factors and Prevention for Cerebral Palsy

Risk factors of cerebral palsy include:

  • Low birth weight or premature birth
  • Twins, triplets, and other multiple births
  • Infections during pregnancy
  • Blood type incompatibility between mother and child
  • Exposure to toxic substances
  • Mother with abnormalities or illnesses
  • Complications that arise during labor and delivery
  • Lack of oxygen to the brain of a child during delivery or pregnancy

Can CP be prevented? Unfortunately, genetic cerebral palsy cannot be prevented, as the precise cause of CP is not yet fully understood.

However, CP can also result from a misdiagnosis, poor management of labor and delivery, and other circumstances beyond the control of the mother or child, including the negligence of a doctor, hospital negligence, or a medical product manufacturer. These types of CP are preventable.

Cerebral Palsy Treatment Costs

CP is a lifelong condition, and unfortunately, the cost of care for a child with cerebral palsy can be exorbitant.

These costs typically include:

  • Hospital stays and doctor visits
  • Supportive care, such as a home health aide
  • Purchasing mobility equipment, such as specialized wheelchairs and automobiles
  • Lost wages and loss of future earning capacity
  • Installation of ramps, lifts, and other assistive devices
  • Physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, rehabilitation, and other services

Most families find it very difficult to fund this level of care and support on their own. Costs and care for a child with CP could be recovered for a family if they choose to pursue legal action against the negligent medical provider that caused the birth defect.

Long-Term Care and Support for Families

CP and similar developmental disabilities are becoming increasingly common in the United States, as reflected in data from NIH and the American Academy of Pediatrics. There is a growing need to provide individuals with CP long-term care. This includes the medical, psychosocial, supportive, therapeutic, and rehabilitation services they will need for the rest of their lives.

Cerebral palsy has a major impact on the family. It creates stress, unwelcome adjustments, and economic issues that can be challenging for the child, parents, and siblings. As a result, some CP patients are placed in long-term care facilities at a relatively young age. Others with CP receive special services, such as support from a home health aide or a full-time day program.

Contact Finz & Finz, P.C. If You Suspect Negligence Caused Cerebral Palsy

CP is often caused by the negligence of a medical team or hospital – before, during, or after delivery. An oversight, a mistake, or an undue delay can have serious ramifications that cannot be reversed.

Cerebral palsy cases are incredibly complex and require thorough investigation and evaluation by an experienced cerebral palsy law firm. Finz & Finz, P.C. has been litigating cerebral palsy cases for decades. We have the experience, knowledge, and expertise to determine whether your family may be entitled to compensation for the pain and suffering, ongoing medical and supportive care, and loss of future earnings that you and your child have endured and will continue to endure.

To speak with a cerebral palsy lawyer in New York, contact Finz & Finz, P.C. today by phone or online. During your free and confidential consultation, our compassionate legal team will answer your questions, address your concerns and fully explain your legal options.