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The 4 Types of Cerebral Palsy Explained

Dec 4th, 2023  |  Legal Team  |  Firm News

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a complex neurological disorder that impacts motor function and coordination, often originating from damage to the developing brain. While various factors contribute to the occurrence of cerebral palsy, medical malpractice during pregnancy and childbirth can be significant catalysts in some cases. Here are the four primary types of CP and how medical negligence can play a role in its development.

Spastic Cerebral Palsy

Spastic CP is the most common type, affecting approximately 70-80% of individuals with cerebral palsy. This form is characterized by increased muscle tone, leading to stiffness and difficulty with movement. Spastic CP can further be classified based on the parts of the body affected, such as spastic diplegia (lower extremities), spastic hemiplegia (one side of the body), and spastic quadriplegia (all four limbs).

Oxygen deprivation, often due to complications like a delayed C-section or improper use of birthing tools, may lead to brain damage and the development of spastic cerebral palsy.

Dyskinetic (Athetoid) Cerebral Palsy

Dyskinetic CP is characterized by involuntary and uncontrolled movements, making it challenging for affected individuals to maintain posture and control their limbs. These movements can be slow and writhing or rapid and jerky. Dyskinetic CP often involves both the upper and lower extremities and may impact facial muscles, affecting speech and communication

Factors such as maternal infections, medication errors, or asphyxia during birth may contribute to the brain damage underlying dyskinetic CP.

Ataxic Cerebral Palsy

Individuals with ataxic CP may experience tremors, shaky movements, and difficulties with precise motor tasks, such as writing or buttoning a shirt. This form is less common than spastic and dyskinetic CP but presents unique challenges related to coordination and fine motor skills.

Inadequate monitoring of the mother’s health, mishandling of delivery complications, or failure to address conditions like jaundice in newborns can contribute to ataxic CP.

Mixed Type Cerebral Palsy

Some individuals may exhibit a combination of symptoms from more than one type of cerebral palsy. This is referred to as mixed type or mixed CP. For example, a person may have features of both spastic and dyskinetic CP. The specific combination of symptoms can vary widely.

Multiple instances of negligence, such as failure to monitor fetal distress or improper use of medical interventions during labor, may contribute to the complex nature of mixed-type cerebral palsy.

Legal Recourse for Families

While not all cases of cerebral palsy result from negligence, recognizing the signs and seeking legal advice when medical malpractice in Atlanta is suspected is essential. Families impacted by cerebral palsy due to medical negligence have the right to seek legal recourse. A medical malpractice lawsuit can help hold healthcare providers accountable for their actions or lack thereof, providing compensation for medical expenses, ongoing care, the emotional toll on the affected child and family, and more.

If you believe your child developed cerebral palsy before or during birth due to a medical provider’s negligence, speak to a trusted Atlanta cerebral palsy lawyer today. They can help you assess your legal options, build your case, and recover the compensation your family deserves.