The term “hemiplegia” refers to a paralysis of one half of the body. It is often used to describe a specific type of cerebral palsy that causes a baby or child to lose functioning of an arm and leg on the same side of the body. Unfortunately, many cases of hemiplegic cerebral palsy occur due to medical negligence on the part of doctors, nurses, or other medical professionals. When this is the case, parents may be able to seek compensation legally for the medical expenses, rehabilitative treatments, and pain and suffering that the condition has caused.
What is the Difference between Hemiplegia and Hemiparesis?
Both hemiplegia and hemiparesis refer to conditions that happen to just one side of the body. Hemiplegia is when there is a total loss of function on a single side (vertically) of the body. It is a type of paralysis that is mot commonly caused by cerebral palsy.
Hemiparesis, like hemiplegia, affects one half of the body, but rather than a complete loss of function, there is weakness on that side of the body. The extent of the weakness can change over time, either from day to day, or declining gradually over time. Frequently, hemiparesis is eventually followed by hemiplegia at some point.
What is Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy?
Sometimes the term “hemiplegia” is used interchangeably with “hemiplegic cerebral palsy.” It’s a form of cerebral palsy that affects movement and control of one entire side of the body, making the individual paralyzed on that side. This type of cerebral palsy is usually caused by a serious birth injury that occurred during or shortly after delivery.
How Does Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy Happen?
It’s important that parents determine how the injury that caused hemiplegia or hemiparesis happened in the first place, so that if negligence is a factor, they can proceed with a medical malpractice claim. There are various situations that can result in hemiplegic cerebral palsy, but they all involve an injury to one side of the brain. The area of the body that is affected is on the opposite side of the injured area. For example, if the left side of the brain is injured, then the right side of the body will be affected.
Some of the most common causes of hemiplegic cerebral palsy include:
- Perinatal injuries – These are injuries that are sustained prior to birth, typically in the weeks leading up to labor and delivery. The weeks just before and after birth have an increased impact on injuries causing trauma and brain damage. Injuries during this time can cause conditions like and including cerebral palsy.
- Hemorrhaging – There is a condition known as intraventricular hemorrhaging that has been linked to hemiplegic cerebral palsy and frequently occurs in babies born prematurely. The bleeding happens when it finds its way into the fluid-filled areas of the brain causing swelling.
- Traumatic brain injury – The misuse of delivery instruments, like forceps and vacuum extractors, can place a lot of pressure on the baby’s head during delivery. This can result in traumatic brain injuries due to the swelling, bleeding, and increase bilirubin levels that all contribute to developing cerebral palsy.
- Vasculitis – This is a medical condition in which there is inflammation of major blood vessels. The swelling can lead to pressure inside the brain that affects the parts of the brain responsible for balance and motor functions.
- Infections – There are some types of infections that can affect the baby’s brain shortly after birth that can lead to hemiplegic cerebral palsy. Some of the most common are meningitis, subdural empyema, and encephalitis.
Let Our Attorneys Help You with Your Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy Case
If your child has been diagnosed with hemiplegic cerebral palsy, you are likely drowning in a sea of emotions, questions, and financial burdens. Could your child’s condition have been prevented? Perhaps it could have been. Many cases of hemiplegic cerebral palsy result from negligence on the part of medical professionals, not from a simple negative outcome of a difficult delivery. When a medical professional fails to diagnose conditions or infections in a mother that result in injury to the baby, or when doctors or nurses make mistakes that harm babies, they can be found to be responsible for the injuries and held accountable.
However, proving that in birth injury claims can be very complicated and time-consuming. These types of cases require extensive legal and medical knowledge to prove, as well as the resources to investigate and research the claims. At Ross Feller Casey, we have the knowledge and the resources to help you with your birth injury case.
Our attorneys have an unrivaled track record of winning birth injury lawsuits, including those involving hemiplegic cerebral palsy. Ross Feller Casey has recovered more than $600 million for its clients over the past three years alone. Let us help you explore your legal options related to hemiplegic cerebral palsy or any other birth injury. Contact our office to schedule your free case review.