What Are Common Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy?
Several weeks ago, we discussed a medical malpractice case involving a newborn who acquired cerebral palsy from a birth injury. The story is a reminder that in some cases, children develop cerebral palsy as a result of medical malpractice during or shortly after the delivery process. Blunt force trauma, oxygen deprivation and health conditions such as meningitis or jaundice can cause cerebral palsy in newborns.
How are newborns exposed to brain injuries that cause cerebral palsy? One way may be when doctors and hospital staff fail to detect a prolapsed umbilical cord. In other cases, doctors delay cesarean sections, leading to oxygen deprivation. Doctors may improperly use forceps or vacuum instruments, causing blunt force trauma.
What is cerebral palsy and what symptoms should parents be looking for? There are four different types of cerebral palsy, each with varying symptoms. The following information comes from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Spastic cerebral palsy: According to the CDC, spastic cerebral palsy accounts for 80 percent of cases. Young children with spastic cerebral palsy have muscle stiffness in one or more limbs. For example, a child with spastic cerebral palsy might pull or cross his or her legs together unwillingly. In children with spastic quadripareisis, the most severe form of spastic cerebral palsy, all four limbs can be affected and intellectual disability may also be present.
Dyskinetic cerebral palsy: Children with dyskinetic cerebral palsy have difficulty controlling limb movements. According to the CDC, movements can be slow or rapid and jerky. Muscles in the face and tongue can also be affected, so parents might notice difficulties swallowing food or sucking.
Ataxic cerebral palsy: Children with this form of cerebral palsy have issues with balance and coordination. Parents may notice unsteady walking or issues with writing or reaching for objects.
Mixed cerebral palsy: This is a combination of different types of cerebral palsy with varying symptoms.
Symptoms can vary based on the age of children and type of cerebral palsy. If you notice your child feels stiff, floppy, or has involuntary limb movements, call your pediatrician for an appointment. Children with cerebral palsy may also have problems crawling and may drag their limbs.
Did Medical Malpractice Cause Cerebral Palsy in My Newborn?
If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, you may benefit by contacting an attorney. Medical malpractice attorneys can retain independent experts to review medical records. These medical records may contain evidence of medical malpractice during delivery, meaning parents could have legal options for holding hospitals and doctors accountable.
The Tampa Bay birth injury attorneys at Shapiro Law Group have spent more than three decades helping children hurt by medical malpractice.