Mild cerebral palsy is sometimes difficult to diagnose since the symptoms tend to be subtle. In fact, many children with mild cerebral palsy may only experience an awkward gait (as a result of walking on tiptoes, for instance) or slight limb impairment. Oftentimes, mild cerebral palsy requires little or no treatment and children are able to live relatively normal lives.
Injury to the brain during prenatal or early development is the primary cause of cerebral palsy. In children with mild cerebral palsy, the brain damage is generally not very extensive which is why the symptoms tend to be less severe. However, even in cases of mild cerebral palsy, the damage is irreversible.
There are many ways brain injury can be sustained, including as a result of:
• Inadequate oxygen to the brain
• Birth injury or trauma
• Fetal infections or severe infections in the first year or so after birth
• Severe jaundice
Nevertheless, the majority of cases of cerebral palsy are due to unknown causes or a number of different causes.
Diagnosing mild cerebral palsy may be a challenge if the child’s symptoms are particularly subtle, but symptoms may include:
• Slight developmental delays
• Physical difficulties involving the use of one or more limbs
• Walking on tiptoes
• Balance or coordination issues
Parents who recognize any unusual symptoms in their child should always see a physician for a proper diagnosis. Doctors often rely on a battery of tests to diagnose cerebral palsy, including EEG, MRI, CT scan and various reflex tests.
Treating mild cerebral palsy may involve physical therapy and the use of orthopedic devices such as special boots to aid in walking. Additional treatments may be necessary or appropriate, depending on the child’s specific issues.
Though mild cerebral palsy does not result in severe disability, the condition can be frustrating for children and their families. For instance, children may develop self-esteem issues related to their impairment and parents should respond with sensitivity and encouragement.
Additionally, children with mild cerebral palsy may not qualify for the financial assistance provided to those with more severe forms of the condition and this can put extreme financial stress on families. However, if the child’s condition was caused by a preventable medical error, the family may be able to obtain compensation from responsible parties.
Medical malpractice is increasingly common in the United States, and when children are the victims, the consequences are all the more devastating. Brain injuries, in particular, can have lasting effects like cerebral palsy.
Not all instances of cerebral palsy are caused by medical negligence, but it’s in your best interest to consult with an experienced attorney if your child:
• Was diagnosed with a serious infection after birth
• Was born by way of C-section or with the help of a delivery device like forceps
• Suffered seizures after delivery
• Suffered a severe case of jaundice
• Was deprived of oxygen during the birthing process
At Burke & Eisner, we’ll evaluate your case free of charge and explain your legal options. Contact us today.
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