When your child is born, the last thing you expect are significant birth injuries. If your child has started developing symptoms of cerebral palsy, know that you’re not alone. Cerebral palsy affects over 500,000 children (under 18) in the United States. And what many parents don’t know is that some cerebral palsy cases are the result of medical negligence and malpractice.
If you’ve noticed symptoms of cerebral palsy developing in your child, don’t wait—contact Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys today to schedule a free case evaluation. Our cerebral palsy lawyers can make a real difference in your newborn’s future quality of care.
What Is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder caused by sustained lack of oxygen to the brain—often, when something goes horribly wrong in birth or immediately thereafter. The damage depends on the nature of the trauma, when the trauma occurred, and how severe the damage was.
Signs & Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy
Generally, physical symptoms of cerebral palsy become noticeable as the child develops, so it is rarely diagnosed at birth. Parents that follow the growth of other babies may notice some signs of cerebral palsy shortly after birth. The symptoms vary from child to child and with the severity of the disability. The location also makes a difference in what signs your child has.
Some of the symptoms include:
- A delay in crawling, sitting, standing, walking, and other developmental milestones
- Shaking limbs
- Abnormal posture
- Difficulty with speech and/or hearing
- Delayed growth in weight and height
- Loss of control or trouble controlling movement and motor function
- Poor coordination
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty swallowing
- Seizures and tremors
- Decreased muscle tone
- Overactive, poor, or abnormal reflexes
Some of these issues could be temporary, but if they do not go away, they could be signs of cerebral palsy.
Types of Cerebral Palsy
The four primary types of cerebral palsy include:
- Spastic: Around 80% of those with cerebral palsy have spastic cerebral palsy, primarily defined by increased muscle tone. The stiff muscles cause awkward movements. There are three subcategories of spastic cerebral palsy:
- Spastic diplegia/diparesis: Diplegia/diparesis mostly affects the legs. If it affects the arms, it’s less severe. The knees may cross (scissor), and people with this type of cerebral palsy often have trouble walking.
- Spastic hemiplegia/hemiparesis: This condition affects one side of the person’s body, and the arm is usually more severely affected than the leg.
- Spastic quadriplegia/quadriparesis: Spastic quadriplegia is the most severe type of spastic cerebral palsy, affecting all four limbs, the face, and the trunk. People with this type often have other developmental disabilities and cannot walk. They may also have seizures and issues with their vision, speech, and/or hearing.
- Ataxic: A person with ataxic cerebral palsy has trouble with coordination and balance, resulting in an unsteady gait. They may also have trouble controlling their arms and hands.
- Dyskinetic: People with dyskinetic cerebral palsy usually have trouble controlling the movement in their legs, feet, hands, and arms. They have difficulty walking and sitting, and movement can be slow or fast. If the face is affected, they could have trouble talking, sucking, and swallowing. Additionally, the muscle tone may frequently change from too loose to too tight.
- Mixed: Individuals with symptoms of more than one type of cerebral palsy are usually diagnosed with mixed cerebral palsy. Spastic-dyskinetic is the most common type of mixed cerebral palsy.
Several types of classification systems exist for cerebral palsy. The simplest classification is by severity and includes mild, moderate, and severe.
A child with mild cerebral palsy does not have limited daily activities and can move without help. A child with moderate cerebral palsy needs medications, braces, and adaptive technology to get through daily activities. Finally, a child with severe cerebral palsy requires a wheelchair and may be unable to complete daily activities or have significant challenges.
Some doctors also classify cerebral palsy based on muscle tone. Hypertonic means the child has abnormally high muscle tone, while hypotonic means abnormally low muscle tone, and mixed being a combination of hypertonic and hypotonic.
Other classifications are based on limb movement, manual ability, communication function, and gross motor classification system. The gross motor system has five levels, with Level 1 being the least severe and Level 5 being the most severe
Talk to Experienced, Local Malpractice Attorneys Today!
When you learn your child has cerebral palsy, there is a good chance a medical professional’s negligence may have caused it. An experienced Michigan cerebral palsy lawyer can help you determine whether your child’s condition was caused by natural causes or negligence and seek fair compensation to cover medical care and other expenses.
If you believe your baby is developing or has developed cerebral palsy, contact Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys for a free case evaluation.