UK medical negligence solicitors deal with cerebral palsy compensation claims using either legal aid or the no win no fee scheme. UK medical negligence solicitors who have a legal aid franchise will almost certainly be able to arrange public finance for your childs compensation claim and those that do not have a franchise can use the no win no fee scheme. UK medical negligence solicitors who deal with infant claims are usually highly experienced in this complex and difficult area of law.
Cerebral palsy (CP) is also called spastic paralysis but can be called spastic hemiplegia, spastic diplegia or spastic quadriplegia, depending on the type of symptoms a person has. It is a movement disorder that affects the movement centers of the brain but can also affect hearing, sight, and thought. The main categories of CP are spastic cerebral palsy, ataxic cerebral palsy, athetoid (hypotonic) cerebral palsy, dyskinetic cerebral palsy and mixed cerebral palsy.
Spastic Cerebral Palsy
The most common type of cerebral palsy is spastic cerebral palsy which is characterised by tight muscles that don’t stretch. The knees can cross or can make scissor actions, the arms can be tucked into the sides or the child can walk on his or her toes. The joints become too stiff, so the child fails at developmental stages like sitting, crawling, walking or rolling from back to front and from front to back. The muscles, while spastic, are weak and do not hold the body up.
The causes of cerebral palsy include injury to the brain from birth trauma, trauma before birth, including hypoxia, and problems with hypoxia after birth that affect the areas of the brain controlling movement. A child can develop cerebral palsy shortly after the injury but it usually occurs several months after the incident. This can make it difficult to establish causality.
Preterm infants are at higher risk of developing cerebral palsy. Things that can happen to a preterm infant include heavy bleeding in the brain from prematurity, infections of the brain, injuries to the head, infections in the pregnant mother, and severe jaundice made worse by prematurity. In some cases, it can be impossible to find out the cause of cerebral palsy.
There are several symptoms of cerebral palsy to consider. Each child with cerebral palsy has his or her own set of symptoms. The symptoms can be very mild or can be very severe, depending on the insult to the brain. It can involve one side of the body or it can involve both sides of the body (both arms, both legs and all extremities).
Other symptoms can include abnormal movements such as athetoid movements, jerking motions, and twisting motions, especially of the hands, feet, legs or arms—movements that get worse when the child is under distress. Tremors are common as is an unsteady gait. There is poor coordination, muscles that are floppy at rest and joints that are hyper extendable (if no spasticity is present). Intelligence is affected in some cases and there can be abnormalities of speech, visual defects and hearing defects. Some kids get seizures and intractable pain.
Infants who have cerebral palsy have problems with poor suck and with feeding in general. Swallowing can be difficult, even as the child ages. Constipation and vomiting are sometimes present. Babies often drool and have slower than average growth rates. Urinary incontinence is common as are irregular breathing patterns.
There is no specific cure for cerebral palsy which is caused by permanent brain damage. Some children have physical therapy, regular dental care, social services assistance, and speech or occupational therapists.
Ultimately the real goal is to prevent cerebral palsy by having good prenatal care and by avoiding situations such as birth trauma or shaken baby syndrome that are often ultimately the cause of the disease. Mothers and doctors need to do whatever they can so that they don’t have a preterm baby and when a preterm baby is born, every effort must be made in order to prevent the complications of preterm birth.