What is Spastic Cerebral Palsy?


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Women who are expecting a baby put their trust in the doctors, nurses, and other medical staff who treat them. They trust that they will be cared for properly, their unborn children will be cared for properly, and that the medical professionals will make the best decisions about how to accomplish that. Unfortunately, things don’t always go as planned. As with any medical condition, pregnancy and childbirth comes with certain risks to both mother and baby, and sometimes these risks result in adverse outcomes. When that happens, it may be due to medical mistakes or negligence. One such outcome is spastic quadriplegia.

If you discover that your child suffers from spastic quadriplegia that may have been caused by a medical mistake or negligence during pregnancy, labor, or delivery, you should have all medical records reviewed by an experienced birth injury attorney right away.

What is Spastic Quadriplegia?

Spastic quadriplegia is a specific type of cerebral palsy that affects the muscles and movements of the arms and legs. Children who are diagnosed with spastic quadriplegia cannot control movements in their limbs. The muscles in the arms and legs are not paralyzed, but rather have uncontrollable jerking movements that result from muscle stiffness.

While the name of this condition refers to the arms and legs, most people with spastic quadriplegia also have difficulty controlling their facial muscles and core body muscles as well. Spastic quadriplegia is considered to be the most severe form of spastic cerebral palsy. People suffering from it typically cannot walk and often have developmental disabilities such as seizures, problems with vision, speech, and hearing, as well as intellectual disabilities.

There are four main causes of spastic quadriplegia. The following can all occur even when there are no medical mistakes or negligence present, but they can all be caused by medical malpractice as well:

  • damage to the brain
  • bleeding in the brain
  • damage to the nervous system
  • lack of oxygen to the brain

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Spastic Quadriplegia in Infants?

Like general cerebral palsy, children with spastic quadriplegia will show signs and symptoms early in life, usually between the ages of three month and two years old. The main sign of any type of cerebral palsy in children is that they do not reach motor or movement milestones at the normal times, or at all. Below are some of the early signs to be aware of.

In babies under six months of age:

  • muscles may contract and relax quickly
  • head lags when picked up
  • feels floppy when picked up
  • legs get stiff or move in a scissor-like motion
  • seems to overextend neck and back (pushing away from you) when being cradled in your arms
  • difficulty drinking a bottle or sucking

In babies six to ten months of age:

  • doesn’t roll over
  • cannot bring hands together
  • reaches with only one hand, with the other one in a fist
  • has difficulty or cannot bring a hand to the mouth
  • general tautness in the muscles

In babies over ten months of age:


  • unable to crawl
  • unable to walk
  • difficulty or inability to speak


How Can a Birth Injury Attorney Help?

Mistakes are made in medical settings at a shocking rate. Anyone, adult or child, could end up being the victim of these mistakes or medical negligence. It happens far more than anyone would like to believe. Spastic quadriplegia, just like other forms of cerebral palsy, can be caused by the negligent actions (or inactions) of doctors, nurses, or other medical personnel. Because a healthcare provider may be at fault, it’s important that parents with children who have spastic quadriplegia seek legal help as soon as possible.

Caring for a child with spastic quadriplegia is challenging. The financial cost can be exorbitant and the medical and physical care can be emotionally overwhelming for parents. If your child’s spastic quadriplegia was caused by a medical mistake or medical negligence, a birth injury lawsuit can be filed to recover damages from the responsible parties, providing much-needed financial help to the family.

Ross Feller Casey has an unrivaled record of winning multi-million-dollar birth injury cases, including those involving spastic quadriplegia. The firm has a team of leading physicians right on staff to help litigate even the most complicated birth injury lawsuits. Ross Feller Casey handles all its cases, including spastic quadriplegia lawsuits, on a contingency basis so you will never pay a thing until a financial recovery is made in your case.

Contact our experienced spastic quadriplegia lawyers now for a free case evaluation.

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.