It is estimated that 1 in 400 babies in the UK have a type of cerebral palsy and that there may be as many as 1,700 new cases of cerebral palsy each year.
Not all of these cases of cerebral palsy will be due to medical negligence but a proportion of these children will have suffered avoidable injuries due to failings in the medical care received.
Babies’ brains are very fragile and can be easily damaged before, during and shortly after childbirth. The damage can be caused by the brain being starved of oxygen, a bleed within the baby’s brain, a premature or difficult birth or the mother suffering an infection whilst pregnant which is passed to the unborn child. Sometimes the damage will be temporary and the brain will recover but in other cases, permanent damage can be caused.
There may very well be circumstances were parents of children with cerebral palsy do not realise that their child’s injuries have been negligently caused and it is for this reason that it is important to investigate the circumstances of how the cerebral palsy occurred.
Babies’ brains are very fragile and can be easily damaged during childbirth, such as if the brain is starved of oxygen. This is why it is so important for babies to be born as soon as possible, particularly if they become distressed. If the brain is starved of oxygen, the tissues such damage happens, this can lead to the child suffering permanent damage to the brain and potentially from cerebral palsy.
There are different types of cerebral palsy and it affects each suffer differently in respect of the specific symptoms and also the severity of the symptoms. The symptoms are often not obvious initially and it can take maybe 2 or 3 years for symptoms to be noticeable.
Symptoms can include:
- delays in reaching development milestones – for example, not sitting by eight months or not walking by 18 months
- seeming too stiff or too floppy
- weak arms or legs
- fidgety, jerky or clumsy movements
- random, uncontrolled movements
- walking on tip-toes
- speech difficulties
- swallowing difficulties
- learning difficulties
There is no cure for cerebral palsy and so its effects will be lifelong. There are however a number of types of treatment that can help with managing the symptoms and maximising independence and quality of life. These include physiotherapy, speech and language therapy and even operations.
A diagnosis of cerebral palsy for your child will be incredibly daunting for any parents and you will almost certainly have worries for what the future will hold for your child, such as whether you will need to live in an adapted home or whether your child will be able to live an independent life.
If your child suffers from cerebral palsy which may have been negligently caused, you can bring a medical negligence claim on their behalf. By bringing such a claim, it is not just a matter of obtaining compensation but also ensuring rehabilitation and the best possible quality of life for your child, as well as providing support and assistance for the family.
If you would like assistance with investigating how your child’s cerebral palsy occurred, please contact our experienced Medical Negligence team on 01482 323697.