Gorovitz & Borten, P.C.
Attorneys at Law

550 Cochituate Road, Suite 25
Framingham, Massachusetts
Tel: (781) 890-9095
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is a catastrophic injury that alters the lives of the child and his
or her families forever. In many cases of congenital cerebral palsy, it is
difficult to determine its cause and sometimes the cause may never be
determined. Babies who suffer from a congenital malformation of the brain
may suffer cerebral palsy unrelated to the birthing process. In some cases,
the events leading to cerebral palsy are caused by unpreventable factors
during fetal development. In other instances, cerebral palsy is the result of
improper and untimely medical response to fetal distress.

Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that permanently affects an infant's
nerves that regulate body movements and muscle coordination. Cerebral
palsy is the abnormal control of movement and posture as a result of
abnormal development or damage to the area of the brain that controls
movement and posture. Four main categories of cerebral palsy include:

  • spastic cerebral palsy
  • athetoid cerebral palsy
  • ataxic cerebral palsy
  • mixed cerebral palsy

Spastic cerebral palsy involves abnormal stiffness and contraction of groups
of muscles; Athetoid cerebral palsy involves the involuntary slow and
uncontrolled movement of muscles; Ataxic cerebral palsy involves the loss of
coordination and balance; and the mixed cerebral palsy involves a
combination of spasticity and athetoid movements.

Prematurity, intrauterine growth restriction, intrauterine infection, coagulation
disorders, multiple pregnancies, breech presentation and infants suffering
from oxygen deprivation prior to birth (acute intrapartum hypoxic insult) are
more susceptible to develop cerebral palsy after birth. Current criteria used
to define 'acute intrapartum hypoxic insult' that may be the cause of cerebral
palsy include:

  • Evidence of metabolic acidosis
  • Early onset of neonatal encephalopathy
  • Spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy
  • Dyskinetic cerebral palsy
  • Exclusion of unrelated identifiable etiologies  

One of the indicators commonly used to assess the infant's condition at birth
is the 'Apgar Score'. The Apgar score evaluates the baby's heart rate,
breathing, muscle tone, reflexes and skin color at 1 -5-10 minutes after birth.
A low Apgar score indicates a potential underlying problem which is often
associated with intrapartum ischemic encephalopathy. Babies diagnosed with
cerebral palsy more often than not have a low Apgar score at birth.

Fetal asphyxia or intrauterine asphyxia is a common cause of long-term
neurologic dysfunction. Prolonged and uncorrected fetal asphyxia leads to
progressive cellular and tissue damage resulting in organ failure and
ultimately fetal death in-utero or severe disabilities if the fetus is born alive.
Damage to the fetal brain depends on the severity and duration of hypoxemia.
Long term morbidity associated with Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy
includes permanent neurologic damage such as cerebral palsy. Severe
degrees of fetal asphyxia resulting from decreased cerebral perfusion is
called 'Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy'. Uncorrected Hypoxic-Ischemic
Encephalopathy can cause 'Neonatal Encephalopathy' which is a syndrome
defined by disturbed neurologic function after birth. This syndrome includes:

  • Difficulty in initiating respirations
  • Difficulty in maintaining respirations
  • Depression of muscle tone
  • Depression of reflexes
  • Poor or absent Moro's reflex
  • Subnormal level of consciousness
  • Abnormal cry and suck
  • Stupor that develops within 72 hours after birth
  • Seizures (quite often within the first days of life)

Most families simply don't have the financial resources to cover all the
expenses associated with caring for an injured child over his or her lifetime. If
the child's injury was diagnosable, avoidable or preventable, or plainly
resulted from a medical provider's mistake in handling an obstetrical
condition, the parents and the child are entitled to receive compensation. If
your child's condition was the result of medical negligence, we can help you
assert your rights and get the compensation you deserve.

If the child's injury was the result of intrauterine fetal hypoxia (asphyxia), it
was diagnosable, avoidable, preventable and treatable. The injury may be
the result of a  medical provider's mistake in handling an obstetrical
condition. Your child and you as parents of the child are entitled to receive
compensation. If your child's condition was the result of medical negligence,
Dr. Borten and the Boston area medical malpractice attorneys at
Gorovitz & Borten help you assert your rights and get the compensation you
Contact Information
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