Cerebral Palsy Birth Injuries

One of the most devastating diagnoses a parent can receive is that of cerebral palsy. Unfortunately, initial symptoms can vary greatly and in some cases, they may be similar to other diseases. Common symptoms include:

  • Stiff muscles – muscles appear rigid and may even be slightly spastic
  • Coordination – children may display signs of ataxia or lack of coordination
  • Slow development – some children display late development such as crawling, sitting or pushing themselves upwards

Any time you, as a parent, see any of these signs, it is imperative you speak with your pediatrician. They can order specific tests including MRIs, CT scans and ultrasounds to help determine the problem. When a child has had a seizure they believe may be caused by cerebral palsy they may also order a brain scan or EEG.

Cerebral Palsy Causes

In most cases, a child is born with cerebral palsy. There are a number of factors that may play a role including:

  • Mutations – in some cases, the genes that help with the development of the brain are not perfect and can result in cerebral palsy
  • Infections – when a mother gets serious infections during pregnancy the infant may be at higher risk
  • Oxygen deprivation – anytime a fetus is deprived of oxygen due to difficult birth or a twisted umbilical cord the risk is higher for cerebral palsy
  • Head injury – after a child is born if they suffer a traumatic injury to their head it is possible for them to develop cerebral palsy

Types of Cerebral Palsy

There are three specific types of cerebral palsy that may affect a child. Each type shares some specific characteristics such as muscle control problems. These three types are:

  • Ataxic palsy – the least common type of cerebral palsy affects all of the child’s muscles. Victims are unable to perform the simplest of tasks including pulling up a zipper or fastening a button
  • Dyskinetic palsy – with this form of cerebral palsy, children are often unable to control their muscles. In many cases, parents will notice the child has jerky motions, may drool excessively and is unable to sit or stand without help. Children will often be unable to grip toys as well
  • Spastic palsy – this is the most common form of cerebral palsy and is nearly always caused by oxygen deprivation. It is typically characterized by stiff extremities

Cerebral Palsy Treatment

Children who are diagnosed with cerebral palsy will literally require a team approach to their care. This includes a variety of therapists to help with speech, physical therapy and developmental therapy to name a few. Generally, care will include:

  • Broad ranges of therapy – helping victims learn to stand, walk and stretch muscles. In addition, basic skills need to be taught. Fortunately, there are many adaptive products that can help. Speech therapy is also necessary to ensure the child is able to be understood
  • Medications – your medical team will likely prescribe a range of medication to help your child. Pain medications, seizure medications when indicated and other medications as the medical team may deem appropriate
  • Surgery – in some instances, your physician may feel that surgery is indicated. Surgical procedures vary from case to case

Regardless of which form of cerebral palsy your child has, they will require a life-long regiment of medications and therapy. In some cases, you may need to have a nurse come and help with the child’s care. If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy that you believe was caused by a doctor’s malpractice, contact the offices of Meinhart Smith & Manning PLLC for an evaluation of your case.