The different types of cerebral palsy and how they affect the body

The Different Types of Cerebral Palsy and how They Affect the Body

Did you know that Cerebral Palsy isn’t just a genetic disorder, as some experts would have you believe? While it can be caused by genetics, it can also be caused by negligence at any time during pregnancy, labour, and delivery. 

In this article, we will discuss the different types of Cerebral Palsy, how the body is affected, and determine when the cause is related to negligence.

What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral Palsy (also abbreviated to CP) affects muscle tone, movements, and coordination. It is a neurological disorder and can differ with each child. The degree of severity will depend on the type and extent of the condition. Four types of CP exist, affecting different brain regions. Each type will result in varying symptoms.

The Four Types of Cerebral Palsy

CP takes on a number forms depending on the amount of damage. Symptoms can range from mild and manageable to severe. The four main types of Cerebral Palsy include the following:

1. Spastic Cerebral Palsy

This type of CP is the most common form. Furthermore, the National Institutes of Health cites that prenatal events generate 80% of cases. Spastic CP contains three subtypes:

Spastic Quadriplegia

Spastic Quadriplegia results in poor motor function all over the person’s body. This type is the most severe form of the disorder. With this kind of CP, a person cannot coordinate or control their leg and/or arm muscles. They have a heightened propensity to develop spinal deformities, seizures, feeding and language disorders, cognitive issues, and muscle contractions.  

Spastic Hemiplegia 

Spastic Hemiplegia occurs when primarily one side of the body exhibits symptoms. Challenges with movement exist in the arm on the affected side. Most children can adapt and may eventually learn to walk. 

Spastic Diplegia

Spastic Diplegia generates muscle stiffness predominantly in the legs. However, arms can be mildly affected and may cause walking challenges. General symptoms include the following:

  • Walking on one’s toes.

  • Tight leg and hip muscles. This causes the legs to cross at the child’s knees and to pull inwards. The appearance is of a scissoring effect.

  • Abnormal motor skill development.

  • Challenges to walking, or is unable to walk unassisted.

  • Balance and coordination problems.

2. Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy

This type is the second most common. The person affected exhibits abnormal movements in the hands, arms, and legs. This makes it challenging to control coordination and body movements. 

Children with Dyskinetic CP exhibit writhing, slow, or jerking, quick movements. Sitting down and walking are challenging for a child with this condition. Muscle tone will vary daily from loose to tight. Some have difficulty controlling their tongue and facial movements, causing speech difficulties. 

3. Ataxic Cerebral Palsy

Children who have Ataxic CP show jerky, uncoordinated movements. This type is the least common form of the disorder. 

Movements require voluntary effort that can become uncontrolled and interrupted. It can cause challenges with coordination or balance. Children with this condition have problems with writing and walking. Ataxic CP also influences swallowing and speech.

4. Mixed Cerebral Palsy

Mixes of CP can also occur. Combinations of Spastic and Dyskinetic CP are the most frequent. However, some children can show a blend of any of the types mentioned above. 

The symptoms can range in severity, based on the types of CP the person has. Mixed CP can create other associated medical disorders and issues. The common ones include:

  • Combinations of floppy and spastic movement

  • Stiff muscles and involuntary movement

  • Cognitive difficulties

  • Seizures

  • Problems with swallowing and speaking

  • Drooling/facial grimaces

  • Hearing difficulties

  • Vision issues like cortical blindness and lazy eye

What if I Suspect That Negligence was the Cause?

Children experiencing CP need ongoing treatments like speech therapy, physiotherapy, specially designed housing, special equipment, financial support, and personal care. This burden takes its toll on caregivers emotionally and financially. 

It would be one thing if the cause was random or unknown, and another if it was due to medical malpractice.

In a malpractice case, plaintiffs must prove the following:

  • The injury was the direct cause of negligence.

  • A violation of the standard of care existed and caused harm.

  • The injured plaintiff experienced significant damages, which could have been avoided.

Regrettably, injuries sustained from medical malpractice may result in neurological and developmental disorders like Cerebral Palsy. Missteps resulting in CP can occur at any time in pregnancy, labour, and delivery. 

If you think that your doctor, medical facility, or nurse fell below a reasonable standard of care, you can begin a lawsuit. Examples of malpractice resulting in CP include:

  • Not detecting fetal distress due to a lack of oxygen

  • Failure to find and treat infection

  • Not performing or scheduling a necessary C-section

  • Improper usage of delivery tools like forceps or extractors

  • Not noting a prolapsed umbilical cord

Proving Cerebral Palsy Negligence

Caregivers can file a medical malpractice lawsuit against a hospital or physician. In the case of hospital negligence, this type of suit directly holds the hospital liable for neglect. 

The law expects hospitals to initiate policies and procedures to prevent patient neglect. They must provide a sterile and safe environment to patients. They must hire staff with the appropriate education, licensing, and training level. They can be legally accountable if one of their staff doesn’t meet practice requirements.

Hospitals are responsible for birth injuries generated by a deficiency of on-duty medical professionals to maintain good patient care. They must ensure enough staff is always present to make certain that patients are safe. 

Case Evaluations

At Sommers Roth & Elmaleh, we will conduct a case evaluation to examine the details and determine whether you can file a negligence claim. We are an experienced Cerebral Palsy firm and we will strive to get you financial compensation for treatments. 

Filing the Claim

Once you go through our free consultation, we can assist you in formally filing your malpractice claim. A birth injury lawyer helps with the paperwork and legal work in filing the claim, thus allowing you to care for your child. 

We will collect medical bills, birth and prenatal records, imaging test results, and other documentation forms to prove your case. Our firm will search for enough evidence to build a strong case.

Do I have a Case?

Regarding Cerebral Palsy negligence, you can find out if you are entitled to compensation by contacting our office for your free evaluation. 

Negligent professionals must be held accountable. Our experienced law firm will ensure that experts in medical malpractice assess your case. 

To book your appointment, don’t hesitate to contact Sommers Roth & Elmaleh at 1-855-940-2386 or visit us on our website here.

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    If you have been affected by medical malpractice anywhere in Canada contact us for a free consultation.
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