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What causes cerebral palsy after birth?

When a child is born with a brain injury, one possible outcome is cerebral palsy. While CP can vary significantly from patient to patient, it's normal for these children to require extra care.

There are many risk factors for developing cerebral palsy, some of which are congenital and others that are a result of negligence or mistreatment. Around 85 to 90 percent of all cases of cerebral palsy are congenital, which means that the brain damage that led to CP happened before birth. For the other 10 to 15 percent of cases, the brain damage may have occurred during delivery or after birth.

Acquired CP can be caused as late as 28 days after birth. Typically, this brain damage is caused by an infection or head injury. Infections such as meningitis or encephalitis can cause CP in infants, while child abuse or injuries to the head can also lead to CP in some children. Another possibility is if there is a problem with the blood flow to the brain. A stroke, blood clotting issue or sickle cell disease can all lead to brain damage and potentially CP.

The risk factors of CP include being an infant, since infants are at a higher risk than older children, being born early or at a low weight, suffering from a brain infection or suffering an injury.

If you believe your doctor's negligence or mistreatment of your child has led to this disorder, it's possible to have an attorney look into your case. With enough evidence, you could have a medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital or provider.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Causes and Risk Factors of Cerebral Palsy," accessed Dec. 02, 2016

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