Cerebral Palsy Symptoms - Medical Negligence Compensation Claim Lawyers
If the cause of this condition resulted from medical negligence we can help you get the compensation that your child needs to ensure the best ongoing treatment which may assist in reducing the intensity of cerebral palsy symptoms.
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This condition is categorised into different groups and babies that are severely affected may have obvious cerebral palsy symptoms immediately following birth. Many affected infants do not display immediate cerebral palsy symptoms but are often slow to reach developmental milestones which parents are usually able to notice as their baby begins to develop. A medical negligence claim for compensation is often not instigated until the child is several years old as doctors are often reluctant to give an early diagnosis particularly where the infant is not severely affected.
The four main categories are:
Spastic Cerebral Palsy
Spastic CP affects 70-80% of patients and in about 10% of cases it occurs as a mixed form most often with athetoid movements and occasionally with the ataxic form of the condition. The muscles remain in a constant state of increased involuntary reflex with one or more tight muscle groups which cause stiff and jerky movements. Affected children usually have difficulty moving from one position to another and often cannot easily hold or release objects. If both legs are affected it is called spastic diplegia and causes a characteristic walking rhythm known as the scissors gait. If just one side of the body is affected the condition is called spastic hemiplegia and the arm is usually more severely affected than the leg. Cerebral palsy symptoms are most severe in spastic quadriplegia in which all four limbs together with the trunk are affected. Children with spastic quadriplegia usually have mental retardation, problems with the muscles controlling the mouth and tongue and difficulty in speaking. Some children also suffer from hemiparetic tremors, in which uncontrollable shaking affects the limbs on one side of the body and impairs normal movement. This category of CP usually gives rise to the most substantial medical negligence claim settlements due to the often severe degree of disability.
Athetoid Cerebral Palsy
Athetoid CP which is caused by damage to areas of the brain that enable smooth, coordinated movements and maintain body posture and is characterised by muscles which change from floppy to tense. It often affects the hands, feet, arms or legs and is often associated with spastic movements. This condition causes involuntary, purposeless movements, especially in the face, arms, and trunk which can interfere with speaking, feeding, reaching, grasping and other skills requiring coordinated movements. Difficulty with control and coordination of movement may be most obvious when a child attempts an upright steady position for walking. The muscles in the face or tongue are sometimes affected resulting in involuntary grimacing and tongue thrusting which may lead to swallowing problems, drooling and slurred speech. Uncontrolled movements will often increase during stressful times and will usually disappear while sleeping.
Ataxic Cerebral Palsy
Ataxic CP which affects less than 10% of sufferers is characterised by poor muscle tone and altered sense of balance and depth perception, leading to slow, uncoordinated, unsteady and shaky movement. Ataxia which means "poor coordination" stems from damage to the spinal cord and cerebellum which affects the entire body. Affected people often have poor coordination and walk unsteadily with a wide based gait, placing their feet unusually far apart. Actions requiring acute motor skills including writing or turning the page of a book or cutting with scissors are often difficult. Depth perception is often severely affected and 'intention tremors' which cause a trembling that worsens as the individual gets nearer to the desired object are often present.
Mixed Cerebral Palsy
Mixed CP occurs when two or more types of CP are present in the same person and occurs in about 10 percent of children who suffer from this condition. The most common combination is athetoid/spastic-diplegic or athetoid/spastic-hemiplegic. The least common is athetoid/ataxic. Any combination of types can occur and it is possible to have a mixture of spastic, athetoid and ataxic.
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The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here