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Cerebral palsy is a general term covering a number of neurological conditions which affect a child's movement, coordination, and sensation, and sometimes their cognitive function.
Symptoms and signs change with age. There might be a psychological impact, there may or may not be an effect upon intellect and there is likely to be a shorter life expectancy. The incidence of cerebral palsy is about 2.5 for every thousand live births which has not changed in the last 30 years.
Diplegia: The main features of this are spasticity of both legs, cognitive problems and the possibility of the arms being affected.
Hemiplegia: The spasticity affects one side of the body, with the right side of the body being affected more often. Incidences of this are about 1 in every 5000 births.
Athetoid cerebral palsy: Writhing movements are symptomatic of this cerebral palsy, as is difficulty in speaking/swallowing. The cause of this is acute profound asphyxia, which involves a shortage of oxygen (Hypoxaemia) and reduced blood flow (Ischaemia).
Tetraplegia: There is spasticity in all four limbs; the arms are equal to or worse than legs; and there are often cognitive problems. The cause of this may be chronic partial asphyxia, although many forms of cerebral palsy are not usually caused by birth asphyxia.
The answer to this question will depend on the type of cerebral palsy. If poor care at birth is suspect, then your medical negligence solicitor would look at whether your midwife may have given a poor standard of care, which could have avoided a low Apgar score, a method used to summarily assess the health of a newborn. The negligence may have stemmed from a failure to perform electronic foetal monitoring (EFM); an adequate assessment of a CTG or take appropriate action for a CTG category. There should also be documentation each hour in the records.
Other potential errors in diagnosis can be: delayed recognition of foetal distress; delayed instrumental delivery of the baby; gross physical trauma to the baby's nervous system; delayed resuscitation or grossly incompetent resuscitation; failure to give or offer vitamin K at birth; along with failure to recognise and correct prolonged symptomatic hypoglycaemia.
It is an unfortunate fact that clinical errors occur during labour and in the delivery of a child, and standards are sometime less than what they should be. If your labour and delivery were badly managed, or your baby was not properly cared for after birth, then our specialist cerebral palsy claim solicitors are here to support you. Experienced in helping those who have had children with cerebral palsy, if you have had child with cerebral palsy due to poor medical treatment contact Clare Langford or give us a call on 0800 073 0988 to see how we can help you.
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