Cerebral palsy study shows decline in the number of children diagnosed

Donald Saiontz

By Donald Saiontz
Posted January 22, 2007


A recent cerebral palsy study indicates a decline in the occurrence of the disability among babies born in Europe.  The researchers attributed the findings to general improvements in neonatal care.  These findings challenge the defense raised by negligent doctors in many medical malpractice lawsuits for children born with cerebral palsy.

>>INFORMATION: Cerebral palsy lawsuits

The cerebral palsy study was published this month in The Lancet, evaluating data of babies born with a low birth weight or of multiple pregnancies at 16 different European centers.  The research showed that the occurrence of cerebral palsy in these children declined from 60.6 per 1,000 births in 1980 to 39.5 per 1,000 births in 1996.  The decrease in the occurrence of cerebral palsy occurred while such babies have shown a much better chance of survival.

Cerebral palsy is a disability which describes disorders of movement control and muscle coordination.  Children diagnosed with cerebral palsy suffer lifetime limitations.  While some children with cerebral palsy (CP) only display mild symptoms, such as clumsiness and awkwardness, many children are affected with much more noticeable and disabling symptoms, such as inability to walk, talk and move independently.

Cerebral palsy is caused by brain damage which can be suffered by the baby before, during or immediately after birth. In some cases, the disability could be caused by a medical mistake made by the doctor, hospital or medical staff at the time of birth.

>>INFORMATION: Cerebral palsy resources

The cerebral palsy lawyers of Saiontz & Kirk represent children who have been diagnosed with the disability as a result of medical negligence during birth.  During cerebral palsy lawsuits, attorneys for the negligent doctor often argue that the quality of medical care generally does not affect the occurrence of cerebral palsy.  This British study seems to contradict this argument, showing a direct relation between advances in medical care and the number of children diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

At this time, there is insufficient data on U.S. births to confirm if there has also been a reduction of cerebral palsy in this country.  However, pediatricians have indicated that there appears to be a similar trend in the United States.  Many experts expect to see future reports that the incidence is lower, as it takes two years or longer after a child is born for an outcome to be reliable.


If you believe that your child, friend or family member may have suffered an injury at birth which resulted in cerebral palsy, request a free consultation with our medical malpractice lawyers to review the circumstances surrounding the delivery and determine if the disability could have been prevented.  There are no fees or expenses unless a recovery is obtained.  Request a free case evaluation.

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