The day your baby girl was born was both the best and worst day of your life. Your water broke two weeks early, you were in labor for approximately 20 hours, and in the 19th hour, the monitors strapped to your belly indicated that your daughter was under duress. Although you begged your doctor to do a C-section, he told you that a natural vaginal birth was the safest option.
Another 20 minutes went by before you began to push. Finally, 30 whole minutes after the first warning of stress, your baby girl was safely in your arms. After a cursory examination, your doctor assured you that she was perfectly healthy and the half hour of stress had no effect on her. That was 10 months ago to the day, and you can safely say that he had no idea what he was talking about.
As a protective mother, you have kept your eye on your little girl and have monitored her movements—and lack thereof—practically every second of her life. She appears to have difficulty moving her hands and arms, and she periodically has tremors in her feet. Lately she has begun drooling excessively. You knew something was wrong, no matter what your doctor said. But what could it be? Could these all be signs of some sort of internal damage resulting from the delayed delivery?
Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cerebral palsy, a neurological conditions that affect motor function, is the most common motor function disability for children. It affects nearly 10,000 newborns every year within the United States. Due to its prevalence, it is important for you to be able to recognize and understand the symptoms of the disorder, so that you can get the treatment your baby needs–as soon as possible.
The Mayo Clinic suggests that new parents, especially those who experienced difficult pregnancies, labors, or deliveries should be aware of the following symptoms in their children, as they may be indicative of cerebral palsy:
- Variations in muscle elasticity, such as being either too stiff or too floppy
- Stiff muscles and exaggerated reflexes (spasticity)
- Lack of muscle coordination (ataxia)
- Tremors, spasms, or involuntary movements
- Overly exaggerated and slow movements (athetosis)
- Motor skill delays such as pushing up on arms, sitting up alone, or crawling
- Favoring the use of one side of the body, such as reaching with only one hand, or dragging a leg and arm while crawling
- Difficulty walking
- Excessive drooling or problems with swallowing
- Difficulty with sucking or eating
- Delays in speech development or difficulty speaking
- Difficulty with precise motions, such as picking up a crayon or spoon
- Hearing and vision impairments
- Abnormal touch or pain perceptions
- Mental health (psychiatric) conditions
- Urinary incontinence
Treatment and Peace of Mind
If your baby shows signs of seizures, impaired motor functions, or any of the above symptoms, contact your pediatrician immediately. Cerebral palsy is a devastating disorder, but treatments are available to help ease the anxiety for your baby as well as yourself.
Do you think that your baby’s injury was a direct result of malpractice during your delivery? During fetal distress, your doctor’s first priority is to deliver a healthy baby as quickly as possible. If he is impatient, rushed, or mistaken about any aspect of the delivery, the consequences for you or your child could be disastrous. Contact us today to discuss your case, and see if you and your child have a valid medical malpractice claim. Remember, it’s our job to make sure your family gets the justice you deserve—and we take our job extremely seriously.