Cerebral palsy is a condition that involves the brain and nervous systems
functioning, limiting a person’s ability to see, hear, learn, think,
and move. It develops due to damage to the developing brain. It mostly
occurs in children around the age two or three, and it is a non-progressive
brain disorder, meaning the brain damage does not continue to worsen throughout
life. But the symptoms due to brain damage do change over time –
sometimes getting better and sometimes getting worse. In the United States,
cerebral palsy affects between two and four children out of every 1,000
live births. According to the United Cerebral Palsy Association, more
than 500,000 Americans have cerebral palsy.
It is projected that between 35 and 50 percent of all children with cerebral
palsy will have an accompanying seizure disorder and some level of mental
retardation. Children with the condition also have the tendency to develop
learning disabilities, along with vision, speech, hearing, or language problems.
Symptoms of the cerebral palsy usually manifest before a child is two
years old, and sometimes begin as early as three months. Early signs include
delaying in reaching certain developmental stages such as sitting, crawling,
or walking. There are several different kinds of cerebral palsy. Some
individuals have a mixture of symptoms from both of these.
The most common type is spastic cerebral palsy. Its symptoms include:
- Tight muscles that do not stretch, and may tighten up even more over time.
- Uncharacteristic gait with arms tucked in toward the sides, knees crossed
or touching, legs make “scissors” movements, walk on the toes.
- Tight joints that do not open up all the way – joint contracture.
- Weak muscle or loss of movement in a group of muscles – paralysis.
This condition has a wide spectrum of symptoms. Other common symptoms of
cerebral palsy include:
- Abnormal movements – twisting, writhing, or jerking, of hands, feet,
arms, or legs while awake, which gets worse during periods of stress.
- Loss of coordination.
Some other common signs include decreased intelligence or learning disabilities,
but intelligence can be normal. Many individuals with cerebral palsy have
speech problems, vision deficits or hearing, seizures, and suffer pain
The cause of cerebral palsy is injury or abnormality of the brain. These
problems mostly arise as the baby grows in the womb or during the delivery
process, but can also happen at any time during the first two years of
life, while the baby’s brain is still developing. Sometimes, these
injuries can be prevented, but occasionally, can be brought about by medical errors.
The following are examples of cerebral palsy caused by the failure of medical
providers to meet applicable standards of care:
- Brain bleeding that goes untreated.
- Extreme oxygen deprivation to the brain or significant trauma to the head
during labor and delivery.
- Undiagnosed or untreated jaundice in infant.
- Excessive use of vacuum extraction.
- Failure to detect a prolapsed cord. When umbilical cord wraps around the
child’s neck, it can cut off oxygen supply to the brain.
- Failure by medical personnel to respond to changes in the fetal heart rate.
- Failure to plan a cesarean with a high birth weight infant.
- Leaving the child in the birth canal too long, causing a lack of oxygen
supply to the brain.
If you or a loved one have suffered injury due to
contact the experienced attorneys at The Kyle Law firm for a free consultation.