Cerebral palsy is a condition caused by damage to a developing brain, often before or during birth. It is marked by issues with movement, muscle tone, or posture, including unusual reflexes, limb rigidity, abnormal posture, and involuntary movement.
Although cerebral palsy can develop before birth, there is evidence that a traumatic head injury or a lack of oxygen to the brain during delivery can also cause cerebral palsy birth injury.
Cerebral palsy might affect one limb or one side of the body, or it might affect the entire body. Cerebral palsy itself does not get worse with age, but issues such as muscle rigidity might worsen without proper treatment.
Cerebral Palsy Symptoms
Symptoms of cerebral palsy include:
- Muscle tone issues (stiffness or floppiness)
- Involuntary movements
- Delays in motor skills milestones
- Lack of muscle coordination
- Difficulty walking
- Delays in speech
- Excessive drooling
Cerebral Palsy Treatment
Treatment for cerebral palsy depends on the severity of the disorder. Individuals with mild cerebral palsy may not need full-time, permanent care, though they may require ongoing treatment to ensure symptoms don’t worsen.
Individuals with severe cerebral palsy, however, could require a lifetime of medical care and permanent, full-time caregivers. Some may also require additional medical assistance such as wheelchairs or braces.
In some cases, orthopedic surgery can help with cerebral palsy symptoms, such as movement disorders. Occupational therapy can help the child become more independent. Medications including anti-inflammatories, anti-spastics, and anticonvulsants may be prescribed as needed.
Erb’s Palsy Birth Injury
Erb’s palsy is a brachial plexus injury in which an infant’s upper nerves are damaged, causing paralysis to the upper arm. It is often caused by delivery issues including breech birth or extended labor. Typically, Erb’s palsy is caused when the infant’s shoulders become stuck in the birth canal or when the infant’s neck is stretched.
Erb’s palsy is not considered life-threatening but it can have a long-term effect on the child. Because nerves affect growth, the arm affected by an Erb’s palsy birth injury could be noticeably smaller than the other arm.
Erb’s Palsy Causes
Erb’s palsy is caused by trauma during birth, typically in one of three ways:
- When the neck is stretched at an awkward angle
- When the shoulders are pulled on forcefully
- When the baby is delivered in breech birth and the shoulder’s become stuck in the birth canal.
Erb’s Palsy Symptoms
Symptoms of Erb’s palsy include:
- Weakness in one arm
- Loss of feeling in one arm
- Partial or full paralysis of the arm
Erb’s Palsy Treatment
Although Erb’s palsy patients can fully recover, recovery can take a few years and may require surgery on the damaged nerves. Treatment can be costly and there is no guarantee the infant will recover full use of the arm. Among the treatments for Erb’s palsy are daily physical therapy, range-of-motion exercises, surgical nerve graft, and surgical nerve transfer.
Erb’s Palsy and Cerebral Palsy Lawyers
At Cutter Law, we understand the devastation and heartbreak that can be caused by a birth injury. We’re committed to helping our clients get the justice they deserve for any birth injuries that are caused by medical malpractice.
Our lawyers are available to discuss the circumstances of your child’s birth injury and advise you of your rights and options. If your doctor failed to notice warning signs of cerebral palsy or Erb’s palsy, failed to react properly to distress during labor, or failed to adequately monitor the mother for signs of birth trauma—such as high blood pressure—you could be entitled to compensation.
Contact an Erb’s palsy attorney at Cutter Law today for a no-obligation consultation.