Hemiplegic cerebral palsy is a form of the condition that affects one side of the body, as opposed to both of them. It can result from a brain injury or a spinal cord injury and will cause your child to miss developmental milestones and struggle throughout their life.
In most cases, your child did not have to suffer this injury. Many children will develop cerebral palsy as a result of a birth injury. The cerebral palsy attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers can work with you to file a hemiplegic cerebral palsy lawsuit against the doctor responsible for your child’s injury, so your family can get financial compensation.
This Condition Is a Form of Spastic Cerebral Palsy
Hemiplegic cerebral palsy is a form of spastic cerebral palsy. It is a subset of this condition. Spastic cerebral palsy primarily results from muscle stiffness.
Overall, spastic cerebral palsy is the most common form of the condition. Over 80% of cerebral palsy cases are spastic CP.
Hemiplegic cerebral palsy results from an injury to the motor cortex. This is the region of the brain that directs signals to the rest of the body that controls movement.
How Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy Affects Your Child
Spastic hemiplegia is when the child has paralysis on one side of the body. For example, the left side or the right side could be impacted (but not both). Because your child has paralysis on one side of the body, they may drool or have difficulty speaking.
The opposite side of the body is largely unaffected since the injury is limited to one side of the body.
Cerebral Palsy Is a Form of Brain Damage
Like any form of brain injury, spastic cerebral palsy is incurable. Your child will need to build strength as best as they can and be taught to live their life with the injury.
To do so, they will both need a rigorous course of therapy to treat the symptoms of the condition. However, the effects of cerebral palsy will never fully go away.
Spastic Hemiplegia Compared to Hemiparetic Cerebral Palsy
Spastic hemiplegic cerebral palsy is a more serious form of the condition. The child suffers far more than just muscle weakness. They are paralyzed on one side in both the affected hand and leg. They cannot use that side of the body.
In hemiparetic cerebral palsy, the child is more able to use the parts of the body affected by the injury. They suffer more from general weakness, as opposed to complete paralysis. Still, hemiparetic cerebral palsy affects movement.
Risk Factors for Spastic Hemiplegia
Unlike other forms of cerebral palsy, the majority of spastic hemiplegia cases are congential as opposed to acquired. However, medical malpractice is responsible for 10-30% of cases of spastic hemiplegia. Doctors may miss some of the risk factors and fail to either provide the appropriate prenatal care or perform a c-section delivery as necessary.
Here are some of the risk factors for spastic hemiplegia:
- Premature birth
- Maternal infection
- Multiple births
- Use of fertility treatments
- Maternal health conditions
Doctors should closely monitor the health of both the mother and child and intervene when necessary when risk factors are high.
Infant Stroke Is the Most Common Cause of Spastic Hemiplegia
A stroke is responsible for roughly two-thirds of the cases of spastic hemiplegia. Oftentimes, the brain is damaged because the baby has been deprived of oxygen during the labor and delivery process.
Babies can also suffer a stroke inside the womb because of maternal infection or incompatibility between the mother’s and child’s blood. Even temporarily reduced oxygen can be enough to cause infant stroke.
In many cases, the child will suffer a seizure in the first few days of their life that will cause the actual injury.
In rare cases, the child will acquire spastic hemiplegia after they are born. For example, children who are exposed to botulinum toxin have a higher risk of developing cerebral palsy.
Diagnosis of Spastic Hemiplegia
Your child may not be diagnosed with cerebral palsy until they are between the age of 18-24 months. Parents will notice the symptoms, but doctors will wait to perform the tests, both to rule out other causes and to observe things such as the baby’s muscle tone and balance.
Doctors may perform the following tests to more conclusively diagnose spastic hemiplegia.
Treating Spastic Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy
Treating spastic cerebral palsy is a lifelong process that starts early in childhood. Early intervention is crucial to help the child live their life with as much function as possible.
Your child’s doctor will work with a treatment team to devise the best course of therapy and other interventions.
Treatment for spastic hemiplegic cerebral palsy can include:
- Physical therapy– the physical therapist will work to help strengthen the affected side of the body and hopefully strengthen the muscle weakness
- Speech therapy
- Occupational therapy– an occupational therapist will help the child with fine motor skills. Occupational therapists will help build motor control in children with cerebral palsy through exercises that help them better learn and manage the activities of daily living.
- Constraint-induced movement therapy– this is a form of therapy that works on upper extremity function in stroke and other central nervous system damage patients by increasing the use of their affected upper limb
Given the paralysis in the affected arm and leg, children will also need assistive devices to help them move and live their daily life.
Unfortunately, surgery has not been viewed as an option for children with spastic hemiplegia. However, a recent paper has suggested that a procedure called a Selective dorsal rhizotomy can relieve spasticity in both the upper limbs and lower limbs.
However, the cost of surgery is prohibitive, and your health insurance company may balk at covering a procedure that may not be widely used at this point.
Dealing With Other Effects of Spastic Hemiplegia
Spastic hemiplegia affects more than just the muscles on the affected side of the body. Your child may also have other symptoms that are consistent with brain damage, including:
- Mood swings
- Learning disabilities that will keep them from being able to attend traditional schools
- Anxiety and depression
- Trouble with speech
- Impaired vision and speech
It is also crucial to address your child’s emotional situation and teach them compensatory strategies to help them live their daily life.
The Costs of Spastic CP Will Be Prohibitive
Your child’s need for physical therapy and occupational therapy will be constant when they have spastic hemiplegia. Your child may even need surgery.
It is not uncommon for the lifetime costs associated with cerebral palsy to top $1 million. This figure does not even account for things like your child’s pain and suffering and the lost wages if they are unable to work.
In addition, you may face costs as a parent by being unable to work because you are caring for your child.
Cerebral Palsy Is Often an Avoidable Brain Injury
Although some cases of cerebral palsy are congenital, many are acquired. Doctors may not be able to prevent every case of spastic cerebral palsy, but they are to blame for some of the injuries.
Doctors must know the child’s risk factors and incorporate that into prenatal care. In some cases, the doctor should either not let the mother carry the baby to full term or should perform a c-section instead of allowing the mother to try to deliver the child through natural birth.
Filing a Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit
Your family may need to file a cerebral palsy lawsuit to recoup the prohibitive costs of treating your child. If the doctor was to blame for your child’s injury, they should be made to pay for it. A cerebral palsy lawsuit would both help your family recover financial compensation and get justice for what the doctor did.
Attorneys Helping Families of Children With Spastic Hemiplegia
If your child has been diagnosed with spastic cerebral palsy, or any other form of the condition, you may have a legal case against the doctor who may have been responsible. You can file a birth injury lawsuit to recover financial compensation for your child’s brain injury.
The birth injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers work with families like yours to get justice in the form of financial compensation. Call us today at (888) 424-5757 or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation. We are only paid if you win your case.