Hemiplegia: Was your baby’s paralysis caused by a medical error?


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Having a baby should be an exciting and joyous time. However, if your child suffers from paralysis right after birth, it can be scary looking ahead and getting ready to care for your new child.

First, you’ll want a better understanding if your baby has hemiplegia, which is half-body paralysis. Understanding if it happened because of an error during delivery or immediately after is the first step to learning what you can do next to help you move forward.

What is hemiplegia?

Hemiplegia is a neurological condition that causes paralysis of half of the body. If a person has hemiplegia, it is because one side, or half of the brain, has been damaged. The condition’s name “hemi” is from the Greek word for “half.” It can also be referred to as “hemiparesis,” or half paralyzed. 

For most patients, the main symptom of hemiplegia is the weakening or lack of control of one side of the body.

The side effects of hemiplegia can manifest in children differently, determined in part by which side of the brain is damaged. This is because the left and the right of the brain control different functions in the body.

Some children with hemiplegia are only mildly affected by paralysis, meaning sometimes they can control their limbs and other times they cannot.

Other children may have one limb they can control better than the other, such as lacking control of one’s right arm, but possessing better control of the right leg.

Often, those affected will feel muscle pain because their muscles may get stuck in a contracted position.

Unfortunately, hemiplegia is a permanent condition and cannot be cured. However, it does not get worse, either, once the damage is done.

How does hemiplegia happen?

Sometimes hemiplegia can develop in the womb, but it can also happen because of a doctor’s error during birth or immediately after.

Your child can be at risk for what’s called acquired hemiplegia. Acquired hemiplegia results from an aneurysm, stroke, traumatic brain injury, tumor or brain infection. All of these can also be brought on by doctor error.

How would medical malpractice cause hemiplegia?

Hemiplegia can be caused by medical malpractice due to one of the following errors during crucial times:

  • During childbirth: While some babies do suffer from hemiplegia before they are born, during delivery and after labor are critical times brain damage can occur. If your infant suffers any oxygen loss during child birth, that can also cause hemiplegia.
  • Surgery: If your infant needs surgery soon after birth, and a surgeon damages the spinal cord or brain during the procedure, it could cause hemiplegia.
  • Inaccurate diagnosis: If your doctor fails to diagnosis certain conditions swiftly enough, such as a stroke, brain injury, aneurysm, brain infection, or others, it can cause paralysis or even death in your child. Taking action quickly is a key element of success for these conditions.

Are there any other side effects of hemiplegia?

In addition to, and because of the damage to one side of the brain, certain children can suffer from specific learning difficulties and disorders, such as dyslexia. Some also have perceptual and concentration problems as well as emotional and behavioral issues.

Hemiplegia can also cause visual impairment, speech difficulties and even epilepsy.

Epilepsy is a condition where a person has chronic, unprovoked seizures. Since hemiplegia has damaged one side of the brain, this means that the electrical activity in one’s brain is limited to a certain area, which can cause focal seizures, or epilepsy. 

What should you do if your child has hemiplegia?

If you think you your child has hemiplegia, find a medical professional to help diagnosis your baby. If you believe the condition was caused by a medical error, you also need to find an attorney with the experience to successfully litigate the case and to get you the compensation your child deserve.

Ross Feller Casey, among the nation’s top personal injury law firms, has an unmatched record of winning multi-million-dollar recoveries in birth injury lawsuits, including those involving hemiplegia. Unlike other firms, Ross Feller Casey has a team of leading physicians and doctor-lawyers right on staff to help determine if you have a hemiplegia lawsuit.

The hemiplegia lawyers at Ross Feller Casey handle all cases on a contingency basis, so you will not be charged until a recovery is made in your case.

Disclaimer: Ross Feller Casey, LLP provides legal advice only after an attorney-client relationship is formed. Our website is an introduction to the firm and does not create a relationship between our attorneys and clients. An attorney-client relationship is formed only after a written agreement is signed by the client and the firm. Because every case is unique, the description of awards and summary of cases successfully handled are not intended to imply or guarantee that same success in other cases. Ross Feller Casey, LLP represents catastrophically injured persons and their families in injury and wrongful death cases, providing legal representation in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.