Cerebral palsy is a blanket term used for many neurological disorders that can be caused by medical malpractice during labor and childbirth. The condition occurs when the brain does not receive enough oxygen during birth. The resulting lifelong nerve damage makes it difficult for sufferers to control movements. Cerebral palsy is the most common motor disability in children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fortunately, new research shows a potential treatment for the disease.
Causes of Cerebral Palsy
While most cases of cerebral palsy are attributed to defects during fetal development, too many cases result from medical negligence during labor and delivery. A lack of oxygen to the brain caused by a medical mistake during childbirth can permanently damage a child’s life. While cerebral palsy can be caused by actions that were not negligent, some of the most common medical mistakes leading to the condition include a doctor’s failure to:
- Detect or treat infections
- Appropriately monitor the baby and the mother’s heart rates
- Notice a prolapsed umbilical cord
- Properly and efficiently schedule a cesarean section
- Correctly use the vacuum or forceps during delivery
Breakthrough May Help Victims
According to Medicus, an online publication from the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, university scientists working with mice have discovered a way to recreate the myelin coating that covers and protects nerves in the body and brain. The coating surrounds the brain’s nerve axons, providing a form of insulation, and allowing signals to pass along nerves safely. If the myelin coating is damaged, the signal-carrying capacity of the nerves is compromised, leading to loss of cognitive function and difficulty coordinating body movements.
The team at Case Western Reserve University has learned to create the myelin cells by starting with stem cells. They reproduce the stages of embryonic development by adding certain proteins that are present during normal fetal growth. In lab tests, the number of cells multiplied into the trillions before researchers stopped the growth process by adding thyroid hormone. This created stable cells that could be used in therapeutic transplants.
Tests show that the new cells restore the myelin coating in nerves. Tests in the lab and on diseased mice showed the cells could restore normal nerve function in just a few days. Scientists believe that by manipulating a human’s myelinating cells, or transplanting cells to replace the damaged ones, they can restore the myelin coating and repair damaged nerves. The treatment will benefit those with cerebral palsy and many other neurological conditions.
Medical malpractice cases can be confusing, with misinformation and protective stances from doctors making it hard to uncover the truth. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy that may be due to medical negligence, contact our office for a free consultation. Time to file a claim is limited, so you should call now. We will help you uncover your options and decide if a lawsuit is the right course of action.