What is cerebral palsy?
Cerebral palsy refers to a group of conditions in babies and children that occur when the flow of blood or oxygen to the brain is interrupted, leading to the part of the brain that controls the muscles becoming damaged. This affects the child’s muscle functions and coordination in various ways, and can have a long-term impact on their quality of life.
Although this can be a result of surgical complications, serious infections and brain injuries, it is nearly always linked to problems that occur during the birthing process, with medical negligence sometimes playing a role.
What are the signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy?
Signs of cerebral palsy might be noticeable within the first few months of a baby’s life, often emerging only after two or three years. Common signs that a baby or child might be affected include:
- Inconsistent muscle tone, such as the muscles appearing too rigid or floppy
- Poor muscle coordination
- Tremors or involuntary movements
- Delays in reaching developmental milestones such as sitting up alone or crawling
- Problems with swallowing
- Individual limbs showing weakness, or weaker limbs on one side of the body
- Poor visual attention
Symptoms of cerebral palsy can vary hugely, from being so mild as to be barely noticeable, to severe and disabling. If you suspect that your child may have symptoms, you should record their developmental progress and seek medical attention.
What are the causes of cerebral palsy?
Cerebral palsy can be caused before, during or after delivery of the baby, sometimes as a direct result of medical malpractice. Potential causes include:
- The baby was left too long in the birth canal and deprived of oxygen
- The baby was dropped or pulled forcibly
- The baby was injured by a birthing instrument such as forceps
- The labour lasted longer than 18 hours, leading to oxygen deprivation or physical trauma
If it can be proven that your baby’s cerebral palsy was caused because of the negligence of a medical professional, you will be in a position to make a claim.