Cerebral palsy is a term that refers to a collection of various permanent, non-progressive disorders that impair an individual’s motor skills. Together, these various disorders affect roughly one in every 300 children born in the United States, making cerebral palsy the most common cause of motor disability among young Americans.
One of the most prevalent types of cerebral palsy is called “spastic hemiplegic cerebral palsy.” Like other types of cerebral palsy, spastic hemiplegic cerebral palsy is a congenital disorder, meaning it is caused by brain damage occurring either during gestation or during/shortly after birth. Where spastic hemiplegic cerebral palsy differs, however, is in its scope. While other types of cerebral palsy can affect one specific body part or another, spastic hemiplegic cerebral palsy causes one-half of a child’s body to be afflicted with weakness. While this weakness does not reach the severity of paralysis, a child with spastic hemiplegic cerebral palsy may experience difficult crawling, sitting up, walking, and various other tasks that would otherwise come naturally.
It addition to its physical complications, spastic hemiplegic cerebral palsy can significantly affect a child’s cognitive development. Of those children afflicted with spastic hemiplegic cerebral palsy, roughly 25% possess an IQ of 70 or less. This statistic is particularly significant, as individuals registering an IQ of 70 or below are widely considered to be mentally retarded.
All things considered, however, the single most troubling aspect of spastic hemiplegic cerebral palsy might be its preventability. Each year, countless numbers of children are afflicted with this debilitating condition because of negligent medical care. When medical malpractice can be linked to cerebral palsy, common causes often include:
failure to diagnose and treat gestational infections (e.g., meningitis)
failure to monitor baby’s vital signs during gestation
failure to administer a C-section when the baby’s size warrants such a procedure
negligent or improper delivery of the baby
If you’re child is afflicted with spastic hemiplegic cerebral palsy, it is imperative that you contact a qualified personal injury attorney. While not all instances of cerebral palsy can be traced to medical malpractice, an experience attorney is in the best position to determine whether your child’s condition is the result of negligent medical care.