Effects of Cerebral Palsy

Personal Injury Lawyer

One of the most devastating birth injuries that families may need to face is cerebral palsy (CP). This can be even more tragic if the condition was a result of negligence on the part of medical professionals during labor or delivery.

A good birth injury attorney will advocate aggressively to make sure that families get the financial justice they deserve in these cases. If your child has been diagnosed with CP and you believe it was caused by medical negligence, contact a lawyer, like a medical malpractice lawyer from Ward & Ward Law Firm, today.

Muscle Tone

Impairment to muscle tone fall under the following categories:

  • Dystonia: Muscle tone is too light in some parts of the body and too tight in others
  • Hypertonia: Muscle tone is so increased it causes limbs to stiffen
  • Hypotonia: Muscle tone is so increased it causes limbs to flop or stay in a relaxed state
  • Joints fused together: Prevents proper joint motion
  • Muscle spasms: Constant spasms and muscle contractions

This muscle impairment has a significant impact on a child’s ability to control their body, movements, balance, and coordination. Often, they suffer with disruption of gain, including walking on toes, limping, and toes turned in or out. Many children also endure spastic movements, especially when they are under stress.

There are many movements that even healthy infants will exhibit that are common in CP babies. The difference is that as healthy babies develop, these movements stop, but with CP babies, they continue:

  • Asymmetrical tone reflex: Turning of the head and extending the same-side body leg while the opposite side of the body contracts
  • Moro reflex: Extension of arms in a way that makes the legs go above the head
  • Palmar grasp reflex: Making grasping motions when the palm of the hand is stimulated
  • Symmetrical tonic neck reflex: Crawling with the head extended
  • Tonic labyrinthine reflex: Arching of the back, straightening legs, bending arms, all while the baby’s head is tilted backwards

Children with CP also have issues with asymmetrical posture. Posture is usually the same on both sides, but children with CP often have problems with following postural responses:

  • Head righting: Head should stay straight when swayed back and forth
  • Landau reflex: In a sitting position, legs should rise when the head is lifted. Legs should lower when is down
  • Parachute response: Baby should reach out when their head is toward the floor
  • Trunk righting: A sitting baby should resist the force with one side and use opposite arm and hand to break impact if they are quickly pushed sideways

The gross motor function of a child with cerebral palsy is also impaired, and many either have difficulty or never are able to sit, roll over, crawl, stand, balance, or walk. Fine motor function is also impacted, and CP babies have a hard time or unable to grasp small items, place objects down, or pinch items with their thumb and forefinger.

A baby with CP often has issues with oral function, unable or have difficulty moving their lips, tongue, and jaw. In fact, statistics show that almost 90 percent of preschool children suffer with some percentage of impaired oral function.

Contact an Attorney Today

If your baby suffered birth trauma and you suspect negligent medical care was the cause, contact a birth injury attorney or medical malpractice attorney today. You can schedule a case evaluation and determine what kind of financial compensation your family may be entitled to.