How Long Do People With Cerebral Palsy Live?


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Only a few short decades ago, many people with cerebral palsy didn’t make it far into adulthood. Thankfully, most do today. Though studies have not been done to determine statistical lifespans of people with cerebral palsy, many live 30 to 70 years. However, multiple factors play a part in just how long an individual with cerebral palsy will live.

What Is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a medical condition that affects the posture, coordination, and body movement of an individual. In many cases, CP is caused by a lack of oxygen reaching the baby’s brain during labor or delivery. It is associated with brain injury and is one of the most common causes of long-term disability from infancy. CP causes a person to have muscle tightness and uncontrollable reflexive movements. It can affect part or all of the body and can range from mild cases to severe. Some people with CP suffer from vision and hearing issues, seizures, and intellectual disabilities.

In many cases, children who develop cerebral palsy do so because of birth complications that couldn’t be avoided. However, in some cases, CP is caused by medical mistakes or negligence. When this occurs, the medical professionals at fault may be found liable.

What Factors Affect Life Expectancy For People With Cerebral Palsy?

It’s nearly impossible to determine how exactly someone’s lifespan will be impacted by cerebral palsy. It can take months or years for doctors even to assess the level and degree of impairment a child with CP will experience. While the majority of people with CP live well into late adulthood,  some don’t.

Some factors are considered to be areas of concern that can shorten the lifespan of someone with CP. They include:

  • Number of key disabilities – There are a number of types of cerebral palsy that affect different parts of the body. The higher the number of impairments or disabilities that an individual has, the greater likelihood that the lifespan will be affected.
  • Severity – The severity of the impairment a person suffers from CP plays a big role in the impact of life expectancy. Severe impairment will reduce lifespan more than mild or moderate severity levels. A higher severity often indicates a more significant level of damage to the brain, which can cause additional complications.
  • Respiratory functioning – Some people with CP have difficulty breathing. This respiratory distress makes it hard for the body to function properly and can lead to cardiac problems. The severity of the respiratory issues may be related to a reduction in life expectancy.
  • Mobility restrictions – The limited ability to move from one place to another and the ability to use both arms and legs successfully, increases an individual’s dependence on others. This can lead to other health and emotional problems that impact the quality of life and life expectancy.
  • Eating difficulties – If chewing and swallowing are impacted by cerebral palsy, it can reduce the life expectancy of individuals. Difficulty in eating can cause malnutrition, which weakens the immune system, and can cause muscle deterioration.
  • Seizures – People who suffer from CP, as well as seizures, may have a reduced lifespan, especially if the seizures are frequent and severe. Even though the seizures are not a result of the same brain injury as CP, they can be caused by conditions that result from CP.
  • Cognitive functioning – The intellectual capability of a child has a direct relationship to life expectancy.
  • Visual acuity – Impaired vision has been linked to reduced lifespan in individuals suffering from CP.


When Cerebral Palsy Cases Are Medical Malpractice

When cerebral palsy happens due to the negligence or mistake of a medical professional, it may be considered medical malpractice. However, the exact decision, indecision, or cause of CP may be very difficult to determine. That’s why anyone who has a child with CP, especially those with severe symptoms, should consult a top-rated birth injury attorney to review their case.

At Ross Feller Casey, we have the knowledge and resources to help parents determine whether their child’s cerebral palsy could have been avoided. Our legal team may be able to obtain a substantial financial recovery by holding medical professionals legally accountable for the mistakes that led to the CP.

We have a team of Ivy League-trained medical doctors on staff to review medical records and determine if your child’s condition was caused by malpractice, and leading birth injury lawyers who have track records of winning cases like yours.

All our birth injury cases, including cerebral palsy claims, are handled on a contingency basis, so you will not have to pay any fees until your case is won. Contact Ross Feller Casey today and schedule a free case evaluation with one of our attorneys.

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