In the medical community, there are two types of common palsies that can hinder the growth and development of children everywhere; Cerebral Palsy and Erb’s Palsy. Cerebral Palsy is an incurable disorder where brain damage hinders an individual’s ability to successfully think, walk, speak or coordinate his or her muscles for accurate mobility and cognitive recognition.
At the Law Offices of Benson, Bertoldo, Baker & Carter, we understand that Cerebral Palsy can often be the cause of medical malpractice in infants. In fact, cerebral palsy affects one in every 278 children and is typically diagnosed in children under the age of two. Should the disorder occur mildly, diagnosis may take up to five years.
Cerebral Palsy Types
Cerebral palsy can manifest in different ways, depending on the part of the brain that is damaged. The different types of cerebral palsy include:
- Ataxic Cerebral Palsy: Affects five to ten percent of all cerebral palsy patients, and is characterized by poor muscle tone, difficulty walking and tremors.
- Athetoid Cerebral Palsy: Affects approximately ten percent of all cerebral palsy patients, characterized by involuntary, purposeless movements that complicate speech, eating, grasping or other movements requiring coordination.
- Spastic Cerebral Palsy: Affects approximately 80% of all cerebral palsy patients, and is caused by damage to the cerebral cortex (the outer lawyer of the brain).
- This malady is characterized by involuntary, jerky movements and muscle and joint deformities, which will significantly affect mobility and coordination.
- Mixed Cerebral Palsy: Affects between five and ten percent of all cerebral palsy patients and refers to a condition that is a mix of any of two cerebral palsies listed above.
Cerebral Palsy Symptoms
Symptoms will vary among Cerebral Palsy patients, depending on the severity of their condition. Among the most common symptoms of cerebral palsy are:
- Difficulty Speaking and/or Precise Movements, including Buttoning or Fastening Clothing or Writing
- Drooling, Problems Swallowing or Sucking
- Exaggerated Reflexes or Spasticity
- Lack of Coordination
- Mental Retardation
- Muscle Stiffness
- Poorly or Overly Toned Muscles
Erb’s Palsy and Birth Injuries
Erb’s Palsy, or Erb–Duchenne Palsy, is a paralysis of the arm caused by injury to the upper group of the arm’s main nerves. This is specifically the case when the upper trunk, C5-C6 nerves are severed. This injury is common during the birth process, and can be the result of a doctor, nurse, or another healthcare provider’s negligence during the delivery of a baby.
Erb’s Palsy Symptoms
A patient’s exact brachial plexus injury symptoms will depend on the severity of the injury and the actual location of the spinal injury itself. In the mildest cases, Erb’s palsy symptoms can involve stinging or burning sensations that shoot down the arm causing numbness and/or weakness.
More Severe Symptoms
- Complete Incapacitation of the Arm by Use or Feel
- Inability to Control Elbow & Should Muscles While Maintaining Simultaneous Control of the Fingers
- Inability to use Fingers, Despite Shoulder, Elbow and Arm Control
- Severe Pain
Erb’s Palsy Treatments
Often times, Erb’s Palsy will heal with time — as the body regenerates nerves. However, in some serious cases nerve transfers and grafting are necessary to recover movement. In addition, physical therapy, electrical nerve stimulation, continued care and pain medication are necessary to recover full mobility.