Cerebral palsy is a group of brain disorders. It can affect the development of movement abilities, muscle tone, posture and other parts of child growth. While cerebral palsy looks different for each person and can be caused by several different situations, diagnosis may happen at early ages and may have connection to medical malpractice.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of cerebral palsy show up at a very early age, likely through infancy and preschool, when movement abilities would normally be developing. Some will be recognizable when a child with cerebral palsy is young, but others are more apparent with age. Symptoms will vary for everyone with cerebral palsy, but can include:

  • Abnormal reflexes
  • Extreme rigidity or relaxation in limbs
  • Abnormal posture
  • Unsteadiness or difficulty walking
  • Issues swallowing
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Limited range of motion in joints
  • Eye muscle imbalance
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Epilepsy or seizures
  • Blindness
  • Deafness
  • Coordination issues
  • Tremors or involuntary movement
  • Slow movements
  • Speech development delays
  • Difficulty with fine motor skills
  • Oral diseases
  • Abnormal pain perceptions
  • Incontinence

How does cerebral palsy occur and how is it linked to malpractice?

Cerebral palsy occurs when the immature brain is damaged. While this can be the result of a gene mutation, it often also occurs before birth or in infancy. Maternal infections, fetal stroke, brain bleeds, infant infection, traumatic head injury and lack of oxygen are some other causes that can lead to brain development issues that result in cerebral palsy.

The condition may have links to medical malpractice because of a failure to diagnose or treat potentially dangerous situations during pregnancy, like infection, low fetal heart rate and an umbilical cord affecting the oxygen to the brain.