There has been a significant increase in medical malpractice cases over the last few years, which has increased the monetary compensation for patients. However, it is still going on and will continue to happen unless all of us reach a common ground and work towards ensuring that all healthcare providers do their best to protect their patients from any form of malpractice.
Cerebral palsy is a complex condition that may not be entirely preventable. However, some cases of cerebral palsy might directly result from medical mistakes made by doctors and hospital staff. A baby born with cerebral palsy might have been hurt before birth or during delivery, leading to permanent brain damage. In all types of cerebral palsy cases, it is crucial for the hospital and the doctor to take full responsibility for the injury caused. This is because the injury may not have occurred without their negligence.
What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy (CP) is caused by damage to the brain and the central nervous system that occurs while still in the uterus or during birth. It can happen due to lack of oxygen or blood flow, trauma, infections, or abnormal parts that are in the brain. Cerebral palsy is the most common cause of disability among children. Statistics show that approximately 10,000 newborn babies are diagnosed with cerebral palsy annually in the US alone. Researchers believe this number is way higher in developing countries due to a lack of research and diagnostic abilities.
The advancement of technology has led to a decrease in the number of birth injuries but it still does happen. Any untreated nerve damage can lead to the development of cerebral palsy. If you think your child suffered a birth injury, you should read up about cerebral palsy lawsuits and consult your doctor and lawyer if you think your case qualifies. The state gives you the right to seek financial compensation for all the financial, emotional, and physical misery you and your loved ones have to go through due to an error by the medical team present during your child’s birth.
Cerebral palsy can cause a wide range of symptoms. Some people with cerebral palsy have mild symptoms that don’t affect their daily lives much; others have severe symptoms that require special equipment for mobility or medical care. The following list contains some common signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy:
- Difficulty with fine motor skills, such as using utensils, buttoning clothing, and writing.
- Trouble controlling muscles in the arms and legs to keep them steady while sitting or standing.
- Poor balance and coordination when walking.
- Delayed development of speech and language skills.
- Limb spasticity is the tightening or stiffening of muscles in one or more limbs.
- Foot deformities such as high arches or ankles that turn inward.
- Scoliosis — an abnormal curvature of the spine (spinal curvature)
Types of cerebral palsy
Different types of cerebral palsy have been classified based on how certain damage to the brain has affected the overall motor skills. Each type describes the affected body part, and the movement problem brain damage has caused. Based on this, there are five types of CP explained below.
Spastic CP is the most common type of cerebral palsy. It occurs in about 80% of people with CP. People suffering from this type experience jerky movement and high muscle tone. It causes stiffness in a single part of the body, awkward reflexes, permanently stiff joints, and abnormal walking.
Ataxic CP makes it hard to maintain balance and coordinate movements. People with ataxic CP often have a wide-based gait (a way of walking that looks like you are about to fall). They may also have difficulty controlling their hands and fingers when they reach for something because of the tremors.
This accounts for nearly 2.6% of cases of CP. It is a combination of both stiff and loose muscles in the body. Patients with Athetoid CP experience involuntary movement, feeding issues, issues with their posture, and floppiness of the limbs.
This type of CP is classified by limp and loose muscles. This causes many children to miss their developmental milestones like head control, sitting, walking, crawling, etc. These patients struggle all their life due to poor balance and loose muscles.
Mixed CP is a combination of two or more types of cerebral palsy, such as spastic-athetoid CP or spastic-ataxic CP. About 16% of people with cerebral palsy have mixed CP.
Treatment of cerebral palsy
Unfortunately, there is no cure for cerebral palsy. The initial damage to the brain cannot be reversed, but a lot can be done! Treatment for cerebral palsy depends on each person’s specific needs. The aim is to minimize pain and maximize independence. The goal of treatment is to improve mobility, self-care skills, and communication abilities and preventing secondary complications such as pressure sores (decubitus ulcers).
Medications may be prescribed to help relax muscles, reduce spasms, or control seizures.
Physical therapy can help strengthen muscles and improve balance, coordination, and posture. Some people with CP use braces or special equipment to help them stand or walk more easily. Physical therapists also work on activities like sitting, standing, and walking as part of their overall treatment plan for children with CP.
Occupational therapists teach people with CP and their caretakers how to do daily tasks such as dressing themselves or feeding without having too much difficulty doing so because of the disability. They also encourage their patients to participate in recreational activities like painting, etc., to improve the child’s intellect. Speech therapy is often recommended.
A surgeon may be able to fix the position of arms and legs or improve the spine’s shape. They may also work on stiff muscles to lengthen them and reduce some tension.
It is important to raise awareness of a condition that impacts millions of people every day. Scientists have come a long way in solving the mystery of cerebral palsy. There are several options for treating this condition, from trying several medications to treating the underlying cause—which often can’t be found. In most cases, living with cerebral palsy is not easy and requires a lifetime of care and medical assistance. However, it’s possible to live a full, meaningful life with cerebral palsy with proper treatment.