Cerebral Palsy is a group of brain conditions that affects movement, balance and co-ordination, and is typically caused by neurological damage that can occur around the time of birth.
It’s a lifelong condition, and is graded by reference to GMFCS classification levels 1 to 5, with 5 being the most severe.
Cerebral Palsy may be diagnosed in newborns and infants who have suffered hypoxic ischaemic injury to the brain on or around the time of their birth. This may manifest while the baby is descending the birth canal during labour, or the injury may be caused by a lack of care and/or failure to act in the neonatal unit or special care baby unit (SCBU) in the days or weeks following birth.
It’s certainly not uncommon for Cerebral Palsy to go undiagnosed until Solicitors are consulted and investigations are then undertaken. Before this, the claimant’s condition may, for example, have been put down to global developmental delay and/or autism.
If, as is usual, they lack mental capacity and/or they’re aged under 18, their medical negligence claim will need to be brought and conducted by a ‘litigation friend’ on their behalf.
The litigation friend will often be one of the child’s parents, but this isn’t a requirement.