Cerebral palsy (CP) is caused by brain lesions that are non-progressive, meaning the lesions don’t cause the brain to further deteriorate. It causes impairment of motor function—the ability to control motion and movement—but does not affect intellect, though intellect can be affected by brain trauma.
Symptoms can be present at birth, but usually present during the first 12 months of life. The brain damage can be the result of a stroke in utero, or after birth, and affects each child with different levels of severity. It is a lifelong condition that affects approximately three out of every 1,000 live births. The incidence is increased among babies who are premature or are born at a very low birth weight.
One of the difficulties some people with CP have is the inability to speak, and this is case for 45-year-old Alex Scott, a 45-year-old man who has lived in a group home for more than 20 years. A recent article in the Washington Post told his story.
Alex was hospitalized for treatment, and when it came time to be released, the group home refused to take him back until he had a feeding tube surgically placed. His family argues Alex doesn’t need a feeding tube, and its placement is more for the convenience of the group home’s caregivers. Apparently, when Alex is fed, he makes gurgling sounds, and it takes him about a half hour to finish a meal.
But, his family says that’s how he’s always eaten. He enjoys the taste of food. With a feeding tube, he would no longer taste anything. It’s his family’s opinion that a feeding tube is medically unnecessary.
So, with the group home refusing to let him come home, Alex has been stranded in the hospital for nearly a month. His family has set up a Facebook page to explain what’s going on, and they have filed a complaint with the United States Justice Department.
Meanwhile, Alex just wants to go home.