Cerebral palsy (CP) usually stems from developmental issues, lack of oxygen, or damage to a baby’s brain. Often, the root cause of these issues comes from medical malpractice or other accidental injuries during childbirth. Identifying mild cerebral palsy symptoms early allows parents to adapt to their child’s needs, and it allows them to identify potential negligence and seek damages for the harm done to their child.
Often, cerebral palsy symptoms in babies and infants include physical, observable symptoms like “floppy” or “stiff” muscles. Although infants develop at different rates to begin with, serious delays in a baby’s ability to crawl, walk, sit, or stand could also be signs of CP, as can posture issues. If you suspect your child has cerebral palsy, speak with a doctor.
Then, call our Baltimore birth injury attorneys for a free review of your case. You could potentially be entitled to sue the doctors that injured your child. For your free case review, call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291.
Signs That Your Baby Might Have Mild Cerebral Palsy
According to the CDC, cerebral palsy symptoms generally include spasticity, dyskinesia, and ataxia. Put more simply, muscle stiffness, movements you cannot control, and issues balancing or coordinating your movements. Cerebral palsy can fall into different types, but the differences tend to come down to the severity of the symptoms and where in the body the symptoms are located (e.g., on one side, just in the legs). Mild CP is generally characterized by these same symptoms but to a lesser degree.
Identifying mild CP symptoms can be difficult, especially in a baby or toddler. However, the CDC and the NICHD both have resources on early detection, with breakdowns on what symptoms to look for at various ages.
If you notice these warning signs, contact a doctor for a full assessment.
Throughout any age, some of the core symptoms these institutions recognize are muscle stiffness or floppiness. If your child holds their arm in the same position all the time and the muscles in their arm feel like they are flexing, this stiffness could indicate CP. Additionally, many babies with CP have floppiness in their legs, arms, or neck – but it can be harder to tell when this is a sign of cerebral palsy because babies, in general, might not have much control over their muscles to begin with.
Under 6 Months
This is where looking at a child’s typical milestones in development is important. According to these organizations, babies under 6 months old can often hold their head up when lying down and should be able to move their arms and legs of their own accord. If your baby’s head, arms, and legs are floppy and the baby does not appear to be able to move them, then that could be an early sign of CP. In more mild CP cases, their movements might be slow or jerky.
6-10 Months Old
Babies over 6 months old should begin to do things like clap, wave their hands, put their hands to their mouth, and roll over when placed flat. If you notice your child struggling with these movements, it could be a sign of CP. If they are not able to do these things with both hands and instead keep the other hand in a tight fist, that is also a potential sign of CP.
Over 10 Months Old
Again, according to the CDC and NICHD, older infants (over 10 months) should be starting to crawl. If your baby’s crawling is lopsided, that could be a potential sign of cerebral palsy. If your baby “scoots” instead of crawling and never seems to be able to properly crawl on both hands and both knees, that could also be a warning sign. Lastly, babies begin standing on their own around this age, so the constant need for support to help with balance could be a sign of issues.
Proving Your Child Has Mild Cerebral Palsy
Some of these signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy can also come from many other medical conditions. If you are considering filing a lawsuit against the doctors who delivered your baby on the grounds that they caused your baby’s birth injuries, it is important to make sure that you have the evidence to prove that your child has CP and to prove that it came from your doctor’s negligence.
Proving CP Symptoms
Some cerebral palsy symptoms overlap with symptoms of other medical conditions – some of which are actually other common birth injuries. For example, an injury to the brachial plexus – a bundle of nerves in the shoulder – can lead to weakness, lack of control, and stiffness in the arm. These symptoms could be confused for CP, so it is important to have a doctor assess your baby and give them a proper diagnosis.
Evidence of what symptoms your child has and how they affect their development, abilities, and future abilities will all be necessary if you are considering a birth injury lawsuit. Talk to our birth injury attorneys about how to gather this info and prepare it for court.
Proving Medical Negligence
While your doctor will be instrumental in proving that your baby’s injuries are indeed cerebral palsy, your birth injury attorneys will be instrumental in proving that those symptoms were caused by birth injuries. To hold a doctor responsible for a birth injury, you must prove that it occurred through negligence and not by random chance.
Often, this means subpoenaing records and evidence from the hospital. It also means interviewing doctors, nurses, and other witnesses to the birth and going over any complications that occurred and whether the actions taken were appropriate. If there are problems with the doctor’s performance, your birth injury attorneys can hire additional medical experts to review these materials and present them in court as evidence of your doctor’s malpractice.
For a Free Review of Your Mild Cerebral Palsy and Birth Injury Case, Call Our Attorneys
If you suspect that your child has mild cerebral palsy because of a birth injury, call our Maryland personal injury attorneys right away. Contact Rice, Murtha & Psoras by calling (410) 694-7291 for a free review of your potential case.