The Importance of Early Diagnosis for Cerebral Palsy

It is crucial to diagnose cerebral palsy as soon as possible to maximize a child’s mobility and potential. Unfortunately, diagnosis is often delayed for a number of reasons—some medical professionals are unable to detect cerebral palsy early on, some physicians choose to wait until the child’s brain is fully developed, and sadly, because some medical professionals attempt to conceal instances of medical malpractice. In any case, an early diagnosis for cerebral palsy hastens the onset of therapy and treatment, ultimately minimizing resultant impairments, preserving cognitive function, and allowing time for the child and parents to adjust.

If your loved one has cerebral palsy and you believe his or her injuries resulted from a negligent medical act, please reach out to Michigan Cerebral Palsy Attorneys. Our Detroit, Michigan attorneys focus solely on birth trauma cases and have the extensive knowledge necessary to secure important resources for you and your family. The birth trauma lawyers at Michigan Cerebral Palsy Attorneys will review your case for free and inform you of your legal options. You may call us toll-free at (888) 592-1857, complete this online contact form, press the Live Chat tab to the left, or press the following button.

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HIE Diagnosis as a Tool for Early Cerebral Palsy Diagnosis

Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is a type of brain injury that occurs when a newborn receives insufficient oxygen to the brain around the time of delivery. Since hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is a leading cause of cerebral palsy, physicians should carefully monitor, test for, and treat HIE in order to minimize the child’s chances of developing cerebral palsy. Physicians should perform brain imaging studies to determine if the child’s brain injury was caused by asphyxia and when the insult occurred. Physicians monitor babies for seizure activity after diagnosing HIE, and since seizures often cause brain injury with no obvious signs, seizure monitoring prevents more severe injuries from cerebral palsy.

Not only is early timing important to diminish the severity of the brain injury—if diagnostic tests report that a preventable brain injury occurred under the care of a medical professional, the hospital and medical professionals responsible for the injury should be held accountable and provide compensation for the child’s treatment, therapy, housing, and educational needs.

Brain Injury Timeline—HIE

Below is a timeline documenting the significant events of brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation. As you’ll see, identifying and treating brain injury and oxygen deprivation early eliminates the severity of the lasting injuries like hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy and cerebral palsy.

  • 0 – 12 hours after hypoxic ischemic insult (HII): During this time there can be prominent involvement of the basal ganglia (the area of the brain associated with voluntary motor control, cognitive and emotional functions, and habitual learning and behavior), focal cerebral infarction (tissue death) and focal cerebral lesions.
  • 12 – 24 hours after HII: Between 12 and 24 hours, basal ganglia damage occurs.
  • 24 – 36 hours after HII: Major cell changes occur and cells swell observably.
  • 24 – 72 hours after HII: Signs of swelling and edema (fluid buildup) occur during this time. In addition to swelling, there is typically increased intracranial pressure.
  • 72+ hours after HII: After 72 hours, there is selective neuronal necrosis involving the brain stem and the deep nuclear structures, which include the basal ganglia and thalamus (the area of the brain involved in sensory perceptions and regulation of motor functions).

Legal Aid for Cerebral Palsy

Sometimes a child will have signs and symptoms of HIE or cerebral palsy immediately following birth, particularly in the cases of complicated or mishandled delivery. Other times these brain injuries may not be identified until years after the insult. Regardless of how your child’s HIE and resultant cerebral palsy or disabilities were diagnosed, we encourage you to seek the assistance of a qualified birth injury lawyer. The Michigan Cerebral Palsy Attorneys have been looking into birth injuries for years and can help you to determine if negligence played a role. Call us at today at (888) 592-1857.

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