According to the CDC, cerebral palsy (CP) is the most common motor disability in childhood, affecting from 1.5 to more than 4 per 1,000 live births or children of a defined age range: about 1 in 323 children has been identified with CP. A study in metropolitan Atlanta found that the prevalence of CP was 6.2 per 1,000 live births among children born weighing 1,500 to 2,499 grams (3⅓ to 5½ pounds) and 59.5 per 1,000 live births among children born weighing less than 1,500 grams, compared with 1.1 per 1,000 live births for children born weighing 2,500 grams or more.
Based on children who were 8 years old and living in four U.S. communities in 2008, the data from the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring CP Network (ADDM CP) showed that CP was more common among boys than among girls; CP was more common among Black children than White children (Hispanic and White children were about equally likely to have CP); 77.4% of the children identified with CP had spastic CP; 58.2% of the children identified with CP could walk independently (11.3% walked using a hand-held mobility device and 30.6% had limited or no walking ability); and, 41% of the children with CP had co-occurring epilepsy and 6.9% had co-occurring ASD.
Ischemic stroke (when a blood clot blocks a blood vessel in the brain) is recognized to cause brain damage that can result in CP, which can occur in the developing fetal brain during pregnancy or shortly after birth. Disruption of the oxygen supply during birth (birth hypoxia) has been estimated to account for less than 10% of CP cases. Infection of the placental membranes (chorioamnionitis) or other signs of infection (blood infection in the mother or fever during labor) have been associated with an increased risk of CP for children born full-term (chorioamnionitis has been found to account for 12% of spastic CP among children born full-term and 28% of CP among children born prematurely). Maternal genitourinary infection has been associated with an increased risk of CP among children born prematurely or at low birth weight.
The Medical Costs Of CP
Among children enrolled in Medicaid in 2005, medical costs were much higher for children with cerebral palsy: medical costs for children with cerebral palsy alone were 10 times higher than for children without cerebral palsy or intellectual disability ($16,721 vs. $1,674 in 2005 dollars). The CDC estimates that the lifetime cost to care for an individual with CP is nearly $1 million (in 2003 dollars): the combined lifetime costs for all people with CP who were born in 2000 will total $11.5 billion in direct and indirect costs.
If your child has been diagnosed with CP and may have suffered trauma during pregnancy or during birth (birth trauma), or if your child’s brain was deprived of oxygen, even for a short period of time, before or during birth, it may be that medical negligence caused or contributed to your child’s CP.
If you suspect that medical malpractice may have caused your child to develop CP, you should promptly find a medical malpractice lawyer in your U.S. state who may investigate your cerebral palsy claim for you and represent you and your child in a cerebral palsy medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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