The term cerebral palsy refers to a group of disorders that are caused by damage to a baby's brain. This damage can occur before the baby is born, during his or her birth, or during the baby's first few months of life, affecting the child's ability to coordinate his or her body movements. At The Berkowitz Law Firm, we counsel and represent the families of children whose cerebral palsy may have been caused by the medical malpractice of doctors and other healthcare providers.
The Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy
A child's cerebral palsy can be mild, severe, or somewhere in between. In some kids with cerebral palsy, seizures or other neurological disorders may also be present. Some children may also have severe mental retardation, whereas others are extremely bright. Some may require a wheelchair and lifelong care, but others will need little or no special assistance.
The general signs of cerebral palsy include:
- Ataxia—a lack of muscle coordination
- Spasticity—stiff muscles, exaggerated reflexes
- Variations in muscle tone, from too floppy to too stiff
- Difficulty swallowing, sucking, speaking
- Difficulty with precise motions
- An unbalanced walking gait, with one foot or leg dragging
The symptoms of cerebral palsy do not worsen as a child grows, but there is no cure for the condition either. Various forms of therapy and sometimes surgery can do a lot to help a child with cerebral palsy.
The Types of Cerebral Palsy
There are several types of cerebral palsy. Some children may have symptoms of more than one type.
- Spastic cerebral palsy—This is the most common form of cerebral palsy in children. It causes muscles to stiffen, making movement difficult. Spastic cerebral palsy can affect only one side of the body (spastic hemiplegia), or both legs (spastic diplegia), or all four limbs and the trunk (spastic quadriplegia).
- Ataxic cerebral palsy—This is the least common type of cerebral palsy. It affects a child's coordination and balance.
- Athetoid cerebral palsy—About 20 percent of children with cerebral palsy have this form, also known as extrapyramidal cerebral palsy. It affects the entire body and may cause slow, uncontrolled movements.
Whatever the type or severity of cerebral palsy affecting your child, if you suspect it's due to medical malpractice, protect your legal rights by discussing your circumstances with a knowledgeable and compassionate law firm.
Contact a Berkowitz Law Firm cerebral palsy attorney in Stamford, Danbury or Bridgeport, Connecticut, for a free case evaluation today.