Spastic Cerebral Palsy

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About two children out of every thousand born in the United States suffer from some form of cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy (CP) is a broad term used to describe a group of chronic conditions affecting body movements and muscle coordination. These conditions can cause speech problems, gross and fine motor skill problems, and can make life much more difficult for a developing child. Children with this disorder may not be able to walk, talk, eat, or play in the same ways as average children.

Physicians and therapists classify and group cerebral palsy into three main categories: spastic cerebral palsy, athetoid cerebral palsy, and ataxic. Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common of the three, affecting nearly eighty percent of cerebral palsy sufferers.

Patients diagnosed with spastic cerebral palsy have a damaged cerebral cortex that causes both sets of muscles to become active at the same time. Their messages flood the nervous system, including the spinal cord, the nerves, and the neurons and create a mixed message in the body that results in the muscle becoming rigid and unable to perform simple movements. If the muscle is forced to function, it causes a sudden, jerky movement.

Spastic cerebral palsy is categorized into five different types, depending on which parts of the body are involved. Diplegia refers to the condition when two limbs, both hands or both legs, are affected. Hemiplegia occurs when one side of the body is affected, while Triplegia is diagnosed when only three limbs are affected. When just one limb is affected by CP, the condition is called Monoplegia. The latter forms are extremely rare. Diplegia, the most common form of spastic cerebral palsy, typically affects the lower limbs. They can become stiff, with a scissor-like posture, making movement nearly impossible.

Spastic cerebral palsy, while not progressive, can change as the child grows older. Some children may suffer from uncontrollable shaking and involuntary urinary incontinence. They may also find it difficult to change positions. A situation may occur where they are unable to let go of something in their hand because the muscles do not follow commands from the brain. Abnormal postures and deformities are common because of the rigid characteristics of the muscles.

Since it is the rigidity and stiffening of the muscles that causes the problems with spastic cerebral palsy, early treatment is beneficial. Treatment, such as physical therapy, can help a child who has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy by loosening the muscles so that the rigidity is kept to a minimum, which can enhance flexibility, allowing for less spastic movements and a chance at a more normal life.

As CP is often caused by a birth injury, it is imperative that if you think your child's condition was caused by a mistake made by a physician during or directly after birth, you contact a lawyer. A knowledgeable birth injury lawyer can help you validate your claim and gain compensation for losses and expenses.

You may be able to file a claim if:

Your doctor did not practice implied consent. Implied consent is a broad term defined as permission granted from the patient using spoken words, signs, or silence. Prior to conducting any exam, procedure, or surgery, a doctor must explain what it is he or she intends to do and the possible consequences and side effects of such actions. By doing so, an implied consent suggests that the patient has agreed to continue the procedures without having to sign a formal contract. If a doctor neglects to follow these rules during prenatal exams, he or she can be held liable for injuries acquired during the developmental stages, as no real permission was ever granted.
An inexperienced doctor may suggest an unusual operation or conduct other procedures that are atypical of hospital standards. There are countless reasons why this scenario might occur. Most commonly, a doctor's performance is weak because of overwork and exhaustion. Even if an action is unintentional, a doctor can be held liable for medical mistakes if they directly go against expert testimonials. This evidence is required for the case to hold up in court.
If medicines or drugs are improperly administered during labor, responsible parties may be held accountable.
Hospitals are fast-paced, hectic environments. In an effort to save time, doctors and other responsible parties may rush through deliveries, creating complication during childbirth that go untreated. In this instance, negligence has occurred, and those involved in the delivery process are to blame.

If any of the above scenarios apply to you situation, contact a birth injury or CP attorney right away in order to uphold your rights and seek justice for your child.


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