Signs of Cerebral Palsy in Newborn Babies
Cerebral palsy is not always discovered right away when a child is born. Part of the reason for this is that infants are only just developing their muscular system, and cerebral palsy is primarily noted for the problems it causes with muscular control.
Sometimes, the first sign that there may be a problem is when the infant’s body seems rigid or floppy. In other cases, the infant may fail to reach certain developmental milestones that are expected of most children as a part of a normal development.
Some infants may develop cerebral palsy simply due to natural causes (such as gene mutation) which leads to brain damage, but the vast amount of cases are caused by negligence on the part of doctors, nurses or healthcare providers during labor.
Cerebral palsy is a neurological condition caused by brain damage, most-frequently due to a child’s blood supply (oxygen) being cut off for several minutes during a difficult delivery. This may occur due to a mishap in the birthing process (e.g., fetal asphyxia), or due to the medical staff not providing the level of care required.
When an infant develops such a disorder, the results are lifelong and the treatments may be expensive. In severe cases, lifetime care may be required. See more on what to expect.
Can Cerebral Palsy Be Diagnosed Shortly after Birth?
If the child is deprived of oxygen during the birthing process or at some point during their development in the womb, it is likely that doctors will order a range of scans, lab tests and other investigative procedures to determine whether or not the child has a neurological condition such as cerebral palsy. These will include scanning the child’s brain to see if there is an injury, performing lab work, and taking a look at the child’s medical history and the circumstances of your pregnancy. These things, combined with observation, will help doctors make an accurate diagnosis.
There are some cases when a child develops cerebral palsy, but when there was nothing that happened during the pregnancy or delivery that would’ve hinted at such an issue. Many times, parents are the first to notice things like an uneven muscle tone, excessive drooling, crossed eyes, or other indicators of cerebral palsy.
Other signs of cerebral palsy in newborn children include multiple seizures, a tendency to use one side of their body more than the other, an unusual posture, or a tendency to cross their legs. If a newborn baby has a pale bluish skin tone immediately after birth, it could be an indication of oxygen deprivation during delivery. The the child’s skin and the whites of their eyes has a yellowish tint, this could be an indication of jaundice, which can also lead to cerebral palsy if not properly treated.
The thing to remember is that there are some aspects of CP that cannot be measured in terms of severity until the child is older. Learning disabilities, for instance, may not be measurable until the child is old enough to start speaking and undertaking other activities that provide some insight into their overall condition.
Because of today’s medical technology, it is unlikely that a case of cerebral palsy will go unnoticed. It does happen, however, and you should always speak to a physician if you believe that your child may be suffering from any neurological condition.
Finding Treatment & Legal Help
The treatment of cerebral palsy, as you may have guessed, can be exceptionally expensive. First and foremost, there will be the primary medical care given in the hospital. Following that, various types of therapy and ongoing treatment are usually required. Add to this the fact that the child will generally need assistive devices, such as hearing aids and wheelchairs, and it becomes apparent how expensive treating this condition can be.
In many cases, people who suffer CP have significant learning disabilities. This is not always the case, however, and some people who suffer with CP are fully developed mentally and only need assistance with the physical issues that come along with cerebral palsy.
Cerebral palsy oftentimes results from a birth injury. Though this condition can also occur because of circumstances that could not have been avoided, there are cases where medical negligence is to blame. When this is the case, an attorney may be able to help you.
If you’re considering pursuing a medical malpractice claim in order to recover the money necessary to care for your child, we urge you to speak with a qualified attorney as soon as possible. This type of case can be very complex, but there are many attorneys who specialize in this area of law.
Because this disorder is not always caused by medical malpractice, your attorney will have to establish that the doctors or nurses were to blame. This will involve investigating the circumstances of the birth and consulting with experts. Your child’s medical history will need to be explored and visits to doctors may be required. Free consultations are offered for these types of cases, and you can find an attorney to handle your claim on a no-win, no-fee basis.
Find an attorney who has an impressive track records of winning these claims; obviously you want someone like that on your side when you have to face down a jury.