During a time that is supposed to be the most joyous time for expecting parents, certain situations can turn it into a tumultuous event and there is a possibility that negligence causes the baby to suffer a birth injury. Unfortunately, this is something that happens far too often, and the individuals involved experience the financial, physical, and emotional impact for their entire lives.
One of the most common birth injuries that children experience is cerebral palsy—a condition that not many people know about and how to move forward. Unfortunately, the impact of cerebral palsy can leave the child dealing with the long-term impact and the parents trying to do all they can to help with the treatment options available.
Our goal is to help individuals understand what cerebral palsy is, how it impacts a child, how it impacts the parents, and what can be done moving forward. We also explain how negligence can play a role and what legal action may be available for families affected by cerebral palsy.
If your child has already been diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a result of negligence, call our firm at (215) 866-2424 today. If you are unsure what cerebral palsy is, check out the rest of this blog.
What Is Cerebral Palsy?
While you may think that cerebral palsy is a singular issue, it is actually a group of disorders that a baby may suffer from, and they experience significant mobility issues. Cerebral palsy often impacts the child’s ability to move, maintain his or her posture, and balance properly.
Typically, it is a condition where symptoms may vary, and the severity can determine how much of the child’s mobility is impacted. For instance, a child with mild cerebral palsy may be able to walk—although awkwardly—without help. However, a child who experiences severe cerebral palsy may need special equipment in order to walk, or they may need lifelong care because they are unable to walk.
While most of the symptoms revolve around the muscular tone and mobility of the patient, there are other conditions that may be related to the disorder. The child may experience other problems, including but not limited to the following:
- Joint issues, including contractures
- Mental and intellectual disabilities
- Persisting seizures
- Vision, speech, and hearing problems
- Spine issues, including scoliosis
While cerebral palsy is the general diagnosis often experienced by families, it is crucial to recognize that there are multiple types of cerebral palsy depending on the cause and symptoms associated with the condition.
The Four Types of Cerebral Palsy
- Spastic Cerebral Palsy: This type of cerebral palsy is the most common and occurs in roughly 80% of cases. It occurs with those who have increased muscle tone and suffer from stiffness, making their movements more awkward than others. Depending on the part of the body, spastic cerebral palsy can be broken down into further categories.
- Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy: This includes athetoid, choreoathetoid, and dystonic cerebral palsies, typically impacting the affected person’s ability to move their feet, legs, hands, or arms. Oftentimes, the movements can seem jerky or can be slow, and they are uncontrollable by the person with the condition.
- Ataxic Cerebral Palsy: When a child suffers from ataxic cerebral palsy, they’ll experience problems with how well they balance and their coordination. They may walk in an unsteady manner and have issues with control-based movements like writing. Reaching for items may make it difficult to control their arms or hands.
- Mixed Cerebral Palsy: This is when the individual suffers from more than one type of the above categories of cerebral palsy. The most common mix that individuals suffer from is spastic-dyskinetic cerebral palsy, and patients may suffer from stiff muscles and uncontrollable movement of hands, feet, arms, or legs.
How Cerebral Palsy Impacts a Child
Understanding the potential signs of cerebral palsy is important as they have a significant impact on the child’s growth and development. For instance, when a baby under six months has cerebral palsy, they may experience stiffness or floppy limbs, overextension of his or her back and neck, and other problems such as his or her legs crossing when you pick him or her up.
Babies older than six months may exhibit the following signs:
- He or she may have trouble rolling over from stomach to back or back to stomach
- He or she will be unable to bring his or her hands together
- He or she may be unable to bring his or her hands to their mouth
- He or she may only reach out with one hand while keeping the other one clenched in a fist
Babies who are older than 10 months may also show symptoms including lopsided crawling, dragging one leg, and scooting around on his or her buttocks.
How Cerebral Palsy Impacts a Family
The parents of a child who suffers from cerebral palsy experience a number of potential problems as well, including understanding how to raise a child with cerebral palsy. There are also several things that they must know about moving forward and helping their child live as comfortable a life as possible.
The Emotional Impact
Having a child suffer from cerebral palsy can have a tremendous emotional impact on the entire family as the child often deals with difficulties. No parent ever wants to believe that their child is struggling with something, and it can be complicated to explain the situation at hand.
Providing emotional support when your child may not know any different can be one of the most difficult things that you have to do, but it’s important for you to be there as much as possible. Answer questions and explain what they’re going through in a manner they can understand.
The Financial Impact
When someone has cerebral palsy, there’s often a significant need for various treatment options, medical care, and special equipment. The financial toll this can have on a family cannot be understated and is something that should be considered when families wonder if they should take legal action.
It can be quite expensive to help your child cope with the condition they have—and while you want to do everything you possibly can for your child, it can put you in a financial burden to provide everything they need, making it more crucial to file a birth injury lawsuit when the cerebral palsy is caused by negligence.
At The Beasley Firm, we make it a point to educate parents on their rights and help them understand how doctor negligence can play a role in causing their child harm. We focus on helping parents get through the complex matters and pursuing the maximum compensation available to them—as well as the justice they deserve.
You can count on our Philadelphia birth injury lawyers to be by your side every step of the way, working to provide you with the knowledge and tenacity you need to move forward. Let us be your guide and safeguard your family as you take legal action against the medical professional who caused your child harm.
For a free consultation and to discuss your potential case with a skilled and experienced lawyer, we encourage you to call our firm today at (215) 866-2424. We’ll be your family’s voice to obtain justice.