Cerebral Palsy Risk May Be Cut By Treatment For Mothers in Premature Labor: Report

Donald Saiontz

By Donald Saiontz
Posted March 21, 2012

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Australian doctors indicate that a new treatment for women in premature labor could significantly cut down on the risk of cerebral palsy, which is a medical disorder affecting movement control and muscle coordination. It is a chronic motor disability in children, which is commonly associated with seizures, sensory impairments and cognitive. In some cases, cerebral palsy may be caused by a medical mistake at or near the time of birth, which causes the baby’s brain to be deprived of oxygen.

▸ Cerebral Palsy Resources

According to a report presented this week at the Perinatal Society of Australia and New Zealand, the use of magnesium sulphate could reduce the risk of cerebral palsy by one-third when given to women who go into labor 30 weeks into the pregnancy or earlier.

However, the treatment is not without risks of it’s own. Some medical experts say that mothers given the treatment would need intensive nursing supervision as they were given the treatment, which has to be infused intravenously for 24 hours. Supervision is required because the drug can lower the mother’s breathing rate and blood pressure.

The benefit of magnesium sulphate is that it appears to provide protection for the baby’s brain during premature births. Currently, about 5% of babies born before 30 weeks suffer from cerebral palsy. When given magnesium sulfate, that number appears to drop to about 3.4%.

Proponents of the treatment indicate that the additional nursing cost is small compared to the prevention of cerebral palsy cases and the cost of a lifetime medical care associated with the disability.

Cerebral palsy is caused by a brain injury that can occur before, during or shortly after birth. If the brain of a baby is deprived of oxygen, it can result in irreversible damage that leaves the child with developmental problems, loss of motor functions and other life-long injuries and disabilities associated with cerebral palsy.

Although cerebral palsy can occur without a medical mistake, when the exercise of the proper standards of medical care could have prevented the child’s brain from being deprived of oxygen, a cerebral palsy lawsuit may be filed to obtain compensation for the child.

The medical malpractice lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. represent families of children born with cerebral palsy throughout the United States. Our attorneys can investigate the circumstances surrounding the labor and delivery to determine if the condition may have been caused by a failure to follow the appropriate standards of medical care.

To review a potential claim for your child or a family member, request a free consultation and claim evaluation.

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