Cerebral palsy affects about 500,000 children and adults in the country and 17 million worldwide. Depending on the type of cerebral palsy an individual is suffering from, the symptoms of this serious brain disorder can vary. It usually develops before, during, or after a child is born. Cerebral palsy is often caused by medical malpractice and it may be preventable. However, some doctors believe that it is also possible for it to develop as a result of natural causes such as a maternal infection, which could potentially disrupt normal brain growth and development. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for cerebral palsy, though some treatments are available to make those who have this disability more comfortable.
Medical Negligence and Cerebral Palsy
While cerebral palsy is not always attributable to medical negligence, medical negligence is the most common cause. This is especially true when medical professionals fail to properly identify the red flags or fail to perform the proper tests or the correct actions during childbirth to reduce the risk of injuries to the infant. Some of the most common causes of cerebral palsy that are related to medical negligence include:
- Failing to properly monitor or assess the baby’s heartbeat during and after delivery
- Failing to schedule and provide a timely C-section
- Failing to detect or treat a maternal infection
- Failing to correctly use birth-assistance tools, such as a vacuum extraction tool or forceps
- Failing to correct issues with the umbilical cord, such as a prolapsed cord
- Failing to supply oxygen in a timely manner to an infant suffering from asphyxiation
- Failing to monitor respiratory and oxygen treatments
The Signs and Symptoms
The most common symptoms those who suffer from cerebral palsy experience include spastic movements, lack of muscle control, inability to sometimes use certain muscles, or slow and writhing movements. Additionally, a child with cerebral palsy might miss developmental milestones or experience intellectual disabilities.
Below is a list of more signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy:
- Muscle tone: Cerebral palsy affects muscle control, which can make even the simplest tasks incredibly difficult to perform. Sitting, walking, tying shoe laces, and grasping objects might all seem like easy tasks to those without this disability, but for someone with cerebral palsy, it can be exhausting.
- Reflexes: If your child suffers from cerebral palsy, he or she might exhibit abnormal reflex responses, such as asymmetrical or symmetrical tonic reflex. In some infants, it is possible for some of these reflexes to clear up within 5 months of age.
- Coordination and control: Coordination and control are generally quite limited in those who have cerebral palsy and are often amplified when the individual is excessively stressed or overwhelmed. Some common coordination problems include walking with a wide gait, spastic movements, wadding while walking, and dragging one leg while walking.
- Oral motor issues: People with cerebral palsy tend to experience trouble with communicating due to the spastic movements of their facial muscles. Lack of control of the facial muscles can also affect opening and closing the mouth, swallowing, breathing, and eating.
Treating Cerebral Palsy
While there is no cure for cerebral palsy, it can be treated to ease the symptoms. For example, orthopedic surgery can reduce spastic movements, physical therapy can help children learn how to better control their motor skills, and occupational therapy can make daily routine tasks easier. Additionally, medication could be used to help control the effects of this disability. Some of the most common medications used to treat cerebral palsy include:
- Valium, Baclofen, or other antispastic medications
- Antidepressants, such as Paxil or Lexapro
- NSAIDs and corticosteroids
- Stool softeners
- Anticonvulsant medications
Birth Injury Attorney in Weston
If you believe your child developed cerebral palsy as a result of medical malpractice, you need to retain skilled legal counsel as soon as possible to hold the responsible party accountable. At Rash Mueller in Weston, our team of medical malpractice attorneys is dedicated to providing knowledgeable, experienced, and insightful legal guidance to ensure the most favorable outcome possible.
Get started on your case today and contact us at (954) 914-7116 to request your free initial case evaluation.