Cerebral Palsy Remains a Leading Cause of Childhood Disabilities
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows the average prevalence of cerebral palsy is 3.3 children per 1,000 live births and is the most common motor and movement disability of childhood. It is defined by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) as a medical condition caused by brain damage. Cerebral palsy can cause a range of disabilities, from mild to severe, and will require a proper diagnosis so that the correct treatments and therapies are provided.
Some of the potential issues a child with cerebral palsy may face include:
- Movement and walking disabilities
- Speech difficulties
- Learning disabilities
- Cognitive impairments
- Hearing or vision loss
- Emotional and behavioral challenges
- Spinal deformities
- Joint problems
While Cerebral palsy related to genetic abnormalities cannot be prevented, many times, careless medical mistakes can cause brain damage to a fetus during pregnancy or infant during childbirth and lead to cerebral palsy.
Four Types of Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy affects over 500,000 people in the U.S. There is no cure for the four types of cerebral palsy.
- Spastic Cerebral Palsy
Spastic cerebral palsy accounts for 75 percent of all cases, making it the most common disorder. It causes increased muscle tone and can impact both the upper and lower limbs and various parts of the body, creating awkward movements triggered by the range of spasticity.
- Spastic quadriplegiaaffects a child’s upper and lower limbs and body. Mobility is often heavily restricted and can also interfere with moderate-to-severe intellectual abilities.
- Spastic diplegiaonly affects the lower half of the body. Many children born with diplegia can still walk but suffer painful impairments. Hyperactive tendon reflexes cause the need for assistive devices such as walkers and braces.
- Spastic hemiplegiaaffects one side of the body only, usually the arm and hand more than the leg. Most children born with hemiplegia can walk but do develop an abnormal curvature of the spine (scoliosis) and experience seizures and delayed speech.
- Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy
The second most common type of Cerebral palsy is Dyskinetic. Children with this form have poor posture, experience chronic pain, have difficulty swallowing or talking, and may also have noticeable twisting of their body and unpredictable movements. While intelligence is rarely affected, hyperactivity of the face and tongue muscles makes some children grimace or drool. Dyskinetic children may also have a difficult time sitting straight or walking and have problems hearing, controlling their breathing, and speaking.
- Ataxic Cerebral Palsy
Ataxic cerebral palsy is the least common. It causes poor balance, limited coordination, tremors, and shaky movements that are difficult to control. They may also have difficulty making precise movements, such as writing or holding a fork, or a hard time controlling voluntary movement such as reaching for a book or combing their hair, according to NINDS.
- Mixed Cerebral Palsy
Mixed cerebral palsy will present symptoms characteristic of two or three of the other types and is the most common.
Negligent Medical Mistakes Can Lead to Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy could be caused by a preventable mistake made during labor or delivery along with other complications that could cause serious, long-term injuries to a child. Medical errors that could have been prevented and may be considered malpractice include:
- Delays in a medical necessary intervention or delivery maneuver that deprived the fetus or baby of oxygen during birth
- Excessive use of forceps or a vacuum extractor
- Failure to order a Cesarean section
- Failure to monitor fetal development or distress
- Inadequate treatment of maternal health conditions during pregnancy
If a medical mistake caused cerebral palsy, families need to take legal action to receive the compensation necessary to cover the medical expenses and other damages.
Call Levin & Perconti If a Healthcare Failure Caused Your Child’s Birth Injury
If you suspect medical negligence may have contributed to your child’s birth injury or death, please contact Levin & Perconti toll-free at 877-374-1417, or in Chicago at (312) 332-2872 for a FREE consultation.