Medical Malpractice can Lead to Cerebral Palsy
Medical errors including administrative errors that result in a failure to identify and mitigate risks due to a mother's underlying health issues, the improper medication of a pregnant person, errors during a pregnancy and during child delivery, all can lead to the development of a condition known as cerebral palsy.
Cerebral palsy is a medical condition that involves damage to the brain of a child. Birth injuries that occur before birth, during birth, or shortly after birth commonly cause cerebral palsy. Children who have cerebral palsy are typically diagnosed between the ages of eighteen (18) and twenty-four (24) months.
Symptoms of cerebral palsy, however, may appear much earlier. In some cases, symptoms of cerebral palsy appear immediately after birth. Some infants, for example, cannot drink milk on their own due to a high or low oral motor tone.
Medical doctors search for symptoms of cerebral palsy when evaluating a child. Along with a child's parents, a medical doctor may evaluate whether a child is reaching milestones in a timely manner. A child may be suffering from cerebral palsy or some similar condition if, at specified milestone points, the child is unable to or encounters difficulty performing the following tasks:
- Rolling over;
- Making eye contact;
- Grasping at objects;
- Feeding oneself.
One key indicator of cerebral palsy is a child's difficulty with fine motor skills. Medical professionals look for the following signs of motor difficulties that may lead to a cerebral palsy diagnosis:
- Abnormal muscle tone;
- Unusual posture;
- Persistent infant reflexes;
- Early hand preferences.
It is important for parents to keep notes on the motor difficulties they observe in their newborns, as medical professionals who treat children will have only a limited time to observe any deficiencies in normal development, compared to the numerous day-to-day observations that parents may make.Signs That A Child Has Cerebral Palsy Can Manifest In Infants Under Age Of Six Months
Infants begin the developmental process from the moment they exit the womb. Oftentimes, infants with cerebral palsy begin to show signs of abnormal motor function and developmental delays early in their development. The following symptoms could indicate cerebral palsy in infants younger than six months:
- A baby may overextend one's back and neck while being held;
- A baby may not be able hold up one's head;
- A baby may feel abnormally floppy (hypotonic) or abnormally still (hypertonic);
- A baby's thumbs may constantly be bent toward the center of one's palm.
Babies who are six months old or more may exhibit additional symptoms indicative of cerebral palsy, including:
- An inability to roll over in one or both directions;
- A baby prefers a left or right hand abnormally early in one's development;
- A baby cannot bring one's hands together, or struggles to do so;
- A baby cannot lift one's hands to one's mouth, or struggles to do so.
Children who have attained the age of ten months may exhibit additional symptoms that could be signs that one has cerebral palsy, including:
- Lopsided crawling, caused when a baby drags one hand or leg,
- A baby cannot crawl on all fours, and may scoot instead;
- A baby cannot stand without support.
A child exhibiting any of the symptoms listed below may need to be screened for cerebral palsy:
- Difficulty understanding language or speaking;
- Poor coordination;
- Failure to progress past primitive reflexes;
- Deformities of the joints or bones due to permanently tight and fixed muscles;
- A child curls one's hands into fists;
- A child suffers from insufficient muscle mass;
- A child has poor reflexes;
- A child experiences sensory processing challenges including hearing, vision, or processing disorders;
- A child cannot control one's bowels;
- A child engages in toe-walking or scissor-walking.
If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, and you believe the diagnosis is the result of medical negligence, you or your child may be entitled to compensation. Contact the Charlotte cerebral palsy lawyers at Arnold & Smith, PLLC today to schedule your free initial consultation. Our professional team can help you determine whether you have a viable claim against one or more at-fault parties.