Approximately, one in 400 children born alive has cerebral palsy.
Cerebral palsy is a term used to describe a number of neurological conditions that affect a child's movement and coordination. It is caused by damage to the brain, which typically happens before, during or soon after birth.
Possible causes of cerebral palsy may be:
- A difficult or premature birth;
- Abnormal brain development in the baby;
- Bleeding in the baby's brain;
- Infection in early pregnancy.
TYPES OF CEREBRAL PALSY AND SYMPTOMS
The symptoms of cerebral palsy will usually occur during the first three years of a child's life. They may vary greatly from child to child and depend on the type of cerebral palsy:
ATAXIC CEREBRAL PALSY
- Balance and depth perception affected: child might appear clumsy and uncoordinated and have problems with activities that require precise movement (e.g. writing or tying a shoelace);
- Tremors in the hands: uncontrolled shaking e.g. when reaching for an object.
- Communication skills and intelligence: not affected.
ATHETOID (DYSKINETIC) CEREBRAL PALSY
- Increased and decreased muscle tone: usually making obviously random and involuntary body movements; typically problematic to maintain posture.
- Speech affected by difficulty in controlling tongue and vocal cords; also may have difficulties with eating and drooling.
- Intelligence: not affected.
- Muscle stiffness in legs: may cause difficulty to walking; child might need aids (e.g. leg braces or walking frame).
- Communication skills and intelligence: not affected.
- Spasticity: muscle stiffness on one side of the body; usually limited to the hand or arm, but sometimes may affect the leg.
- Scoliosis: abnormal curvature of the spine.
- Might cause speech problems but should not affect intelligence.
- Epileptic seizures.
SPASTIC QUADRIPLEGIA (THE MOST SEVERE TYPE)
- High degree of stiffness in all of the child's limbs caused by extensive damage to brain: child might be unable to walk.
- Extremely loose neck muscles: child may have problems supporting their head;
- Speech difficulties.
- Learning difficulties.
- Epileptic seizures.
Cerebral palsy is incurable. However, a variety of treatments may help relieve symptoms and increase a child's sense of independence and self-esteem. These treatments will be conducted by a team of medical specialists, e.g.:
- A health visitor;
- A paediatrician;
- A physiotherapist;
- A social worker;
- A speech and language therapist;
- An educational psychologist;
- An incontinence advisor;
- An occupational therapist.
An individual care plan will be created and reassessed as the child's needs and situation change. A key worker will be assigned as a first point of contact between you and the various support services available.
Some of treatments your child may need include:
- Physiotherapy: one of the crucial ways of helping your child to manage their condition which usually starts as soon as diagnose of cerebral palsy is given. It aims to:
- Prevent the weakening of muscles which are not normally used by your child;
- Prevent muscles getting stuck in a stiff position (contracture).
Your child will be taught various physical exercises that they can perform daily to strengthen and stretch their muscles. Special arm or leg braces may be used to help in stretching their muscles.
- Speech therapy: help for children with communication difficulties by teaching them a number of exercises which can enhance their ability to speak clearly. An alternative method of communication may be taught where necessary. Special equipment (e.g. computer connected to a voice synthesizer) may be used.
- Occupational therapy: aims to improve a child's posture and optimise the mobility which they already have. Advice is provided on the best way of going about daily tasks (e.g. going to the toilet, getting dressed). Especially effective in improving a child's independence and self-esteem.
- Medicines: medication may be used to help relax a child's muscles where necessary.
- Treating feeding and drooling problems: problems with swallowing food or controlling the production of saliva typically arise where children have difficulties controlling their mouth.
- Dysphagia (problems swallowing food) may cause pieces of food to enter the child's breathing tubes and lungs, thus damaging the lungs and triggering an infection (pneumonia). This may be treated by teaching feeding techniques, modifying the child's diet using soft goods, or using a feeding tube where necessary.
- Drooling problems may irritate the skin around the mouth, chin and neck, and, moreover, they may cause the top layer of skin to break down and thus trigger an infection. This may be treated through a number of ways (e.g.: drugs, surgery, intraoral devices, and biofeedback training.
- Orthopaedic surgery: aims to correct problems with bones and joints. It may be used where the child's condition is causing them pain when they walk or move around. A surgery can also improve posture and mobility, thus enhancing the child's confidence and self-esteem.
- Selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR): a surgical procedure which is typically only recommended where other treatments in relation to muscle stiffness and overactivity have been unsuccessful. The operation treats lower limp spasticity by having cut some of the sensory nerves in the lower spinal column. Following the operation, extensive physiotherapy will be required. Furthermore, some complications may occur (e.g.: an unpleasant tingling sensation, constipation, problems urinating).
HOW DOES CEREBRAL PALSY AFFECT YOU?
Cerebral palsy is a devastating condition and is caused by injury to the brain before, during, or shortly after birth. The most common causes of the condition are a failure of the brain to develop properly or neurological damage to the child's developing brain.Cerebral palsy is not a progressive condition, nevertheless, it may cause immense pressure to the body, which can cause problems in later life. Cerebral palsy is incurable. However, a variety of treatments may help relieve symptoms and increase a child's sense of independence and self-esteem. Such an extreme condition has severe impact on the whole of the child's life and the life of his/her family.
EXPERT LEGAL REPRESENTATION:
Cerebral palsy cases are usually extremely complex. Thus, they require a particular expertise and experience from the solicitors who undertake such claims. Compensation Solicitors Online is a well-established specialist in the area of cerebral palsy claims with yearsâ€™ of experience. Our professionals are fully equipped to lead you all the way to the compensation which you deserve in this difficult time of your life. Furthermore, we understand that you need more than just money: we will advise you and support you all the way through your claim.
Compensation for cerebral palsy may be claimed on the basis of medical negligence. This means that the medical professional who has treated the child has not applied the required standard of care and has fallen below the professional standard of care of a qualified professional. In simple words, to succeed in claiming compensation, it must be shown that a competent medical professional in the same field of expertise and in the same position would have acted in a different way.
Our expert solicitors have experience in successfully establishing medical negligence, thus ensuring that you get the best compensation which you deserve.
In cases of cerebral palsy, it is our priority to ensure that you get expert advice on the child's care plan and receive the right treatment as quickly as possible. This can make a real difference in your and your child's lives.
There are a variety of funding options open to you. We will discuss these options with you in more detail and where appropriate represent you on a no win no fee basis (also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement).
A cerebral palsy claim can take years rather than months to finalise. The specialist solicitors from Compensation Solicitors Online always aim to establish a balance between the need to allow time for medical experts to examine and evaluate the full extent of the condition, and the child's interest of concluding the claim and moving on with their life.
There are two parts to any compensation claim, consisting of two types of damages:
General damages are calculated as a part of the compensation based on the type of injury and are designed to compensate for pain and suffering and the impact on the claimant's enjoyment of life.
Special damages are the more variable part of the compensation and depend on individual circumstances. The claimant may be able to recover:
- Expenses relating to the cost of living with any disability;
- Expenses to cover services provided by other people;
- Increased accommodation costs;
- Loss of earnings;
- Medical expenses;
- The cost of buying in care.
Establishing the level of special damages to be paid is a crucial part of a compensation claim. Compensation Solicitors Online have experience in compensation claims in cases of serious injury.
Generally, personal injury claims have a three year time limit i.e. court proceedings have to be issued at least one day before the third anniversary of the accident , otherwise they will be time barred and you will no longer be able to pursue your claim. (There are a few exceptions to this rule and the court does have some very limited discretion to extend the various time limits). You can still pursue a claim for personal injury after the third anniversary of the accident, you just have to make sure court proceedings have been issued before that third anniversary in order to do so. We will be happy to discuss this further with you.
If you are a minor at the time of the accident, i.e. under 18 then the 3 year limitation date period starts to run after you have turned 18. Furthermore, there also a complicated set of rules that allows the 3 years limitation date period to run from the date of knowledge of the incident/accident. These rules normally apply to clinical/medical negligence cases or industrial disease claims, where they may be a long latency period between the incident giving rise to your claim and you first suffering any symptoms and becoming aware of it. The rules on this are technical and we will, once again, be happy to discuss this in detail with you.
MAKE A CLAIM
If you would like to speak directly to a solicitor for a free and without obligation chat about your case call us on 0203 380 9406 or send us your details, with brief outline, by email to [email protected] and you will receive a prompt response.