Hemiplegia Cerebral Palsy Solicitors - Medical Negligence Compensation Lawyers
Spastic hemiplegia cerebral palsy or just hemiplegia cerebral palsy is a condition where an infant or young child sustains injury to the parts of the brain that affect half the body. Either the right side or the left side of the body can be affected; it can affect just the arm and hand or both the arm and leg on the same side. It is related to diplegia, in which any arm or leg can be affected. The incidence of hemiplegia cerebral palsy has increased in frequency over the last forty years, perhaps because of an ongoing problem in the US of having premature babies that are at risk for having Hemiplegia disease.
About 65 percent of all cases of hemiplegia cerebral palsy can be directly related to a problem that happened to the fetal brain prior to birth. The rest are due to prematurity, birth trauma, an infant illness or a head injury to the baby after birth.
As mentioned, the arm and hand are what are primarily involved in Hemiplegia cerebral palsy but, without physical therapy, the leg on the same side is affected also. Even so, most kids get early physical therapy and are able to learn to walk later in life. It is common that these kids end up walking on their tip toes because of very tight tendons in the Achilles tendons. The arm and leg on the affected side tend to be shorter than and not as thick as the other side. This isn't due to a lack of use of the extremities but to slowing of the growth from a lack of the proper signals coming from the brain.
Often the arm is held toward the abdomen with flexion of the elbow, wrist and fingers so that it appears that the patient is making a fist at about the level of the diaphragm. Without therapy, the arm and hand can become useless entirely - fixed in the above position - and the patient will have function only of their opposite hand. With therapy, however, there can be some use of the affected arm and hand, with less spasticity of the extremity. There can be a complete or partial sensory loss of the affected arm so that the patient can't feel anything when the area is touched.
Hemiplegia cerebral palsy patients have the highest incidence of epilepsy of all patients with cerebral palsy. The rate of epilepsy among all cerebral palsy patients is 20 - 40 percent. If this epilepsy begins prior to the age of three and is associated with hemiplegia, there is an increased likelihood of the child also having a low level of intelligence in addition to his or her other problems.
Kids with spastic Hemiplegia cerebral palsy often have problems with hyperactivity and aggressive behavior. These behavioural abnormalities have been found to be associated with abnormalities in the EEG and with associated epilepsy. They also have developmental delays in the area of language development. Some kids have poor speech patterns while others have slurred speech. Mental retardation can cause secondary speech limitations and other kids will have direct damage to the speech centers of the brain itself. Speech therapy can help these kids attain the maximal ability to speak despite their deficits.
Mental retardation can be a problem with children who have Hemiplegia cerebral palsy. Statisticians have determined that the presence of Hemiplegia cerebral palsy results in, on average, a decrease in IQ of about twenty points. Brain damage tends to be worse and intellect more affected in patients who are suffering from left sided hemiplegia when compared to right sided hemiplegia. Interestingly, there are more children with right sided disease states than left sided disease states in cerebral palsy.
Children with Hemiplegia cerebral palsy tend to suffer more from attention seeking behavior. They are more likely to throw temper tantrums and be immature and dependent than other kids. For this reason, a psychologist may be involved in the care of the child with Hemiplegia cerebral palsy, especially when it comes to educational issues, family issues or even occupational issues. These kids also have problems fitting in with their peers and can be the victims of bullying or just being left out from kid's groups.
Kids with spastic Hemiplegia cerebral palsy can easily develop scoliosis or curvature of the spine. This usually happens because they are forced to walk on the affected toes and therefore walk lopsided. The child may need to walk with a bent knee on the affected side so as to equalize the perceived leg length. This, in turn, causes flexion of the hip on the affected side and the truncal lines are not equal, leading to scoliosis of the spine.
The trick to treatment of Hemiplegia cerebral palsy is instituting physical therapy as soon as the diagnosis is made. Therapy can involve range of motion exercises of the affected arm and leg plus strengthening exercise of these extremities. In addition, the therapist may recommend braces to the ankles to prevent flexion of the ankles with the toes pointing downward. This can improve balance and walking greatly. Because it is the arm and hand that are mostly affected, occupational therapy is necessary to train the hand and arm to move with a minimum of spasticity. An antispasmodic medication may need to be prescribed in order to loosen the affected muscles. A physical therapist might also work with the changes in perception that occurs in kids who have abnormalities of their arm and hands.
Speech therapy is available for the child with Hemiplegia cerebral palsy. A speech therapist often works for both language acquisition and swallowing difficulties. This therapy reduces the chances of aspiration of food contents into the lungs during the eating process. Most kids with Hemiplegia cerebral palsy do learn to speak to some extent although they may have problems being understood by others.
Fortunately, many patients with Hemiplegia cerebral palsy do go on to have normal jobs and normal lives; some of them even have very engaging and interesting work. Statistics have shown, however, that those who do the best do so because they have received a great degree of physical, occupational and speech therapy.
HELPLINE: ☎ 1800 633 634
Cerebral Palsy Solicitors
If you would like legal advice at no cost on personal injury compensation claims just use the solicitors helpline, complete the contact form or email our lawyers offices and a specialist medical negligence solicitor will telephone you with no further obligation. Following a review of the circumstances of the injury and of the medical records you will be advised whether your child has a reasonable claim and if so, what steps you should take to protect your legal right to receive compensation. All of our lawyers use no win no fee arrangements to represent their clients which means that if your hemiplegia cerebral palsy solicitor doesn't achieve settlement then he doesn't get paid his professional costs and the client does not receive a bill for legal costs.
Hemiplegia Cerebral Palsy Overview
Hemiplegia cerebral palsy is a condition that affects one side, or hemisphere, of a cerebral palsy patient’s body. Hemiplegia will affect only either the right or the left side of the body. The condition is caused by damage to a specific portion of the brain, which, when it happens during fetal development, during delivery or immediately following birth, is known as congenital hemiplegia. When hemiplegia occurs later in life - typically up to the age of three - it is referred to as acquired hemiplegia. If the left side of the brain is injured, this results in right side hemiplegia and, if the right side of the brain is injured, it produces left side hemiplegia. This condition is fairly common and is thought to impact as many as one in every 1,000 children.
While the exact causes of congenital hemiplegia cerebral palsy are not completely understood, parents usually start to notice symptoms of the condition in early infancy. Premature birth and difficult deliveries may increase the risk of hemiplegia. If hemiplegia is a result of brain damage, it can generally be attributed to something that happened during pregnancy; however, scientists have not yet located precise factors. Acquired hemiplegia, on the other hand, is a result of brain damage that occurs during childhood. The most common causes are infections, accidents or stroke.
Hemiplegia can affect each patient in different ways. In most patients, there is some level of muscle weakness, along with an inability to control motor functions on the affected side of the body. These symptoms may be quite noticeable in some people, while they may be very mild in others. Even though hemiplegia is incurable, some forms of physical therapy minimize the symptoms. Once your child is diagnosed, it is a good idea to consult with a child development specialist to find a certified therapist equipped to help you and your child with his or her disabilities.
As children’s brains are considered somewhat “flexible”, some of the functions of the damaged areas may be taken over by healthy areas of the brain. Children and young adults diagnosed with hemiplegia may notice small differences in their development in damaged areas, as compared to older adults. Children with hemiplegia should be treated in the same manner as other children whenever possible. It is very important to encourage children to be active and use their weaker side as much as possible during periods of play, as well as while performing everyday tasks. This will help to increase strength and independence. Children should participate in sports they enjoy as they grow older to assist further with development.
That said, it is important to note that about 50 percent of all children with hemiplegia have other issues related to their cerebral palsy. These issues include visual and speech impairments and neurological conditions, such as epilepsy. Some children may have subtler problems, such as emotional or behavioural issues, learning disabilities and perceptual problems. Seeking treatment from a cerebral palsy specialist may ease these issues, allowing the child to flourish.
Having a firm understanding of hemiplegia, what it means for your child and how you can help your child reach his or her full potential gives your child the best opportunity for a normal life. Be sure to take full advantage of all resources available to you, including mobility specialists. Do not be afraid to speak up as an advocate for your child, and ask as many questions as necessary to meet all of your child’s needs.
HELPLINE: ☎ 1800 633 634
The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here