Early Diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy Can Be Life-Changing

Published on September 5th, 2018

early diagnosis of cerebral palsyCerebral palsy is a birth injury that, once suffered, is incurable. The most severe cases are often diagnosed at birth and require around-the-clock, lifelong care, physical and speech therapies, and equipment to assist with cognitive and physical functions – all a tremendous financial burden for a family. Therapies and medical treatment can help minimize the impact of neurological damage and altered muscle functions for some children with mild cerebral palsy, but the sooner this treatment happens the better, and early diagnosis is critical.

Why Isn’t a Cerebral Palsy Diagnosis Always Immediate?

Because cerebral palsy is an injury suffered at birth, often because of a lack of oxygen, it would seem to follow that all forms of CP could be diagnosed at that time, regardless of severity. This is not always the case, however.

Cerebral palsy cannot be determined with a single test. A definitive diagnosis often needs to be made over time, through observation, medical exams, developmental markers, and other cognitive and physical testing. Some parents are blindsided when their child misses age-appropriate milestones – walking, feeding himself, talking – but these occurrences are not uncommon for kids with cerebral palsy.

CP is a lifelong neurological condition. Once an infant’s brain has been damaged at birth, there is no going back. Parents want their infant to be OK. They want to believe that a trip to the NICU is enough to make everything alright. But waiting for cerebral palsy symptoms to reveal themselves as the child grows into toddlerhood is not enjoying a child’s “normalcy” for as long as possible, it’s a lack of early intervention for the child.

Why Early Intervention Matters for Cerebral Palsy Patients

Parents who suspect that something isn’t right with their infant are wise in taking the initiative to get medical opinions immediately instead of waiting until something is obviously wrong. Other conditions can masquerade as cerebral palsy, like muscle diseases, nervous system tumors, and degenerative nervous disorders. None of these situations are desirable, but some are more treatable than others.

If, however, a birth injury results in parents being told that their child is at a high risk of developing moderate to severe cerebral palsy, early action can be an incredible gift. Cerebral palsy is not a degenerative disease, but it is a permanent, life-long condition. It doesn’t get worse as a child grows but, for some, it can get better.

Intense therapy from the youngest age can get a child with mild to moderate CP on the right path to living a life that is less impacted by their cerebral palsy.

The Family Fallout From a Cerebral Palsy Diagnosis

Besides being a financial and emotional burden for families, cerebral palsy can be a social difficulty. Many people don’t know how to react to or interact with a child with CP, but understanding is critical to creating a strong support network. Families can also raise awareness among their extended family, friends, and community with an early diagnosis that explains their child’s unique situation.

Some families may be reluctant to admit that something could be wrong with their child. But demanding an explanation immediately about a child’s compromised well-being is a parent’s right. Unfortunately, the stress of the situation means this important step is not always addressed as soon as it should be.

Ultimately, the right party needs to be held responsible for a child’s preventable birth injury, whether it’s the doctor or nurses who delivered the baby, or the manufacturer of faulty equipment that led to a traumatic delivery.

If your child has developed cerebral palsy after a traumatic birth, contact Thurswell Law for a free consultation. Our birth injury attorneys have the experience to get you the compensation you deserve. We do not charge any fees unless you collect. Call (248) 354-2222 today to schedule your consultation.

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