Houston Cerebral Palsy Lawyers
What Is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy is a term for a category of disorders that affect neurological motor functions. The word "cerebral" comes from the word "cerebrum," referring to the function of the brain. The latter word "palsy" refers to a movement disorder, not to be confused with total paralysis like quadriplegia or paraplegia. Those disorders include muscle spasms, learning disabilities, and hearing disability.
Cerebral palsy is sometimes the result of birth injury and is preventable in some cases. While cerebral palsy can have natural causes, there are situations in which a doctor or nurse’s negligence causes cerebral palsy to develop. Even if your child does not show symptoms until two years of age, the cause may be a careless or negligent decision made during or shortly after delivery.
If your child has cerebral palsy, it’s time to get answers. Call our Houston birth injury attorneys for a free, private consultation.
The Four Types of Cerebral Palsy
The forms of cerebral palsy are:
- Spastic cerebral palsy
- Dyskinetic/athetoid cerebral palsy
- Hypotonic cerebral palsy
- Ataxic cerebral palsy
The most common form of cerebral palsy is spastic cerebral palsy, making up 80% of all individuals with this condition. The damage that these individuals sustain causes the spinal nerves to be deficient in gamma-Aminobutyric acid. Without it, the individual develops hypertonia of the muscles. The most common side effect of spastic cerebral palsy is muscle spasms, which can be managed with physical therapy.
Athetoid or dyskinetic cerebral palsy is a mix of both hypertonia and hypotonia. These individuals have difficulty holding themselves in a steady position. Hypotonic cerebral palsy results in diminished muscle tone that causes a rag doll-like appearance.
Ataxic cerebral palsy is the rarest manifestation, appearing in only 5-10 percent of cases. Children with ataxic cerebral palsy often have oral problems in addition to a lack of coordination. Children often have a wider gait when walking, and have trouble making quick, repetitive motions.
What Causes Newborns to Develop Cerebral Palsy?
There are many potential causes of cerebral palsy. Many babies develop brain abnormalities while they are still in the womb, but there are others that do not manifest this condition until they are two years old. This is because the baby's brain is still in rapid development through the first two years of his or her life.
One cause of brain damage is low oxygen. This can be onset, or it can be the result of trauma, such as umbilical cord strangulation. Babies that are most at risk of developing cerebral palsy are those that are born prematurely. Traumatic births are also another major cause of cerebral palsy. A traumatic birth can result in injury to the child's head or brain. Hematoma or another type of head trauma can impede the proper growth of the brain, eventually developing into cerebral palsy. Trauma during birth as well as premature birth can result in jaundice. Severe cases of jaundice that last for longer-than-normal periods may also contribute to cerebral palsy in infants.
In fact, if your child had an extended bout of jaundice, you’ll need to be extra vigilant of developmental issues.
Recognizing Signs of Cerebral Palsy
While a child is still in its developmental stages, it is incredibly important to monitor their growth closely. If the infant underwent a traumatic birth, then it would be a good idea to make regular doctor visits to quickly diagnose cerebral palsy or another type of developmental or neurological disorder. You may notice your child beginning to walk or crawl abnormally, or they may have poor reflexes.
Other symptoms of this condition include:
- Tightened or contracted joints
- Vision problems
Cerebral palsy is sometimes tied to dangerous pharmaceutical drugs that mothers take during pregnancy. Cerebral palsy is often the result of medical negligence during labor. If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, then you may want to consider taking legal action. You can speak with our firm free of charge to get legal advice about your case. Cerebral palsy is a lifelong disability requiring lifelong treatment. Compensation can go toward securing the best possible medical treatment and rehabilitative care for your child.
To learn more, contact our Houston cerebral palsy lawyers at Arnold & Itkin. Call (888) 493-1629 to schedule a free consultation and get the answers you need.