Recognising the symptoms of Cerebral Palsy

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Recognising the symptoms of Cerebral Palsy

 March is Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month. This non-progressive condition affects a lot of families in the UK, and worldwide, and impacts the whole family.

No two people experience cerebral palsy in the same way. Some cannot walk while others can run, some may be able to talk for England, others will find communicating difficult.

Each affected individual will face their own unique challenges. CP occurs when the brain suffers an injury before, during or soon after birth interfering with the messages between the brain and the body making movement and muscle co-ordination difficult.

Recognising the symptoms of cerebral palsy isn’t always obvious until a child reaches the age of two or three and may include some of the following symptoms:

·         Missing developmental milestones

·         Body is too stiff / too floppy

·         Weak arms or legs

·         Fidgety or clumsy

·         Random, uncontrollable movements

·         Walking on tiptoes

·         Problems with speech, vision or learning

The time before, during and shortly after birth is critical. If mother and baby are not carefully monitored during this time, cerebral palsy can occur if the baby’s brain suffers a bleed or deprivation of oxygen, if an infection is caught during pregnancy and is not appropriately treated, and if meningitis or a serious head injury is suffered during this sensitive period.

A small number of CP cases are caused by avoidable medical negligence. This can happen if one of the following medical errors take place:

·         Giving the wrong medication

·         Inadequate monitoring of the baby

·         No response or non-timely response to changes in foetal statistics or signs of distress

·         Failure to carry out appropriate tests

·         Deprivation of oxygen

Cerebral palsy is a lifelong condition with no cure and we understand that living with CP has an impact on the whole family. We specialise in working with families affected by CP and understand the impact that this has both now, and in the future.

We understand the specialist needs from finding and funding the right therapies, to buying the right equipment and making necessary home adaptations to make life easier.

Compensation can be sought if your child’s CP has been caused as a result of avoidable medical negligence. We have a strong track record of securing significant settlements to help families living with cerebral palsy get the support they need and cover the costs of the following:

·         Future medical care

·         Therapies including speech, language, physiotherapy and hydrotherapy

·         Home adaptations

·         Equipment such as sensory equipment or wheelchairs

·         Carers and other special arrangements

If you believe that your child has cerebral palsy due to avoidable medical negligence, contact a member of our specialist cerebral palsy medical negligence team for a free initial consultation on 01253 766 559.

Read more about the families that we have helped here.

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Time to open up about traumatic births, says Blackpool lawyer

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Time to open up about traumatic births, says Blackpool lawyer

Opening up about traumatic childbirth breaks the taboo, helps heal emotional wounds, and lets people know they are not alone.

That’s according to a Blackpool medical negligence solicitor who has praised tennis star Serena Williams for talking about her experiences. “Raising awareness both among professionals and the general public, helps to reduce risk,” said Diane Rostron.

“Women who have suffered traumatic deliveries often feel very alone. Simply knowing they are not the only person who has been through such an experience can be very helpful.” In an interview with Vogue, Williams said she had undergone a series of operations following the birth of her daughter, who was delivered by emergency caesarean section.

The 36-year-old, 23-time Grand Slam champion was in hospital for more than a week, after blood clots in her lungs led to a coughing fit that reopened her C-section wound. “Sometimes I get really down and feel like, man, I can’t do this,” she told the fashion magazine. "I’ve broken down I don’t know how many times. Or I’ll get angry about the crying, then sad about being angry, and then guilty, like, ‘Why do I feel so sad when I have a beautiful baby?’ The emotions are insane.”

Diane said this kind of thinking was quite common, and that breaking the taboo was key to helping women realising they are not alone. Knowing what to expect also helps, which is another reason people should speak about their experiences. “Minor degrees of trauma to the baby and to mum are actually quite common,” said Diane, adding this might include cuts and bruises, and forceps and ventouse marks to the baby, or cuts and bruises to the perineum in women.

“Many babies recover without any lasting problems. Some who lose a lot of blood become anaemic and may require blood transfusions.” Serious birth trauma, however, is rare, and the risk can be minimized, she went on. “The risk of it can be minimized by mums making sure that they attend antenatal appointments and when they go into labour, seeking advice early. “Never feel intimidated about asking midwives and obstetricians for advice.”

According to the charity the Birth Trauma Association, traumatic births can lead to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This can lead to the persistent re-experiencing of the event, through memories, flashbacks and/or nightmares, as well as difficulties sleeping or concentrating. Sufferers may also feel angry, irritable, jumpy or ‘on their guard’ all the time.

“It is important to remember that PTSD is a normal response to a traumatic experience. The re-experiencing of the event with flashbacks accompanied by genuine anxiety and fear are beyond the sufferer's control. “They are the mind's way of trying to make sense of an extremely scary experience and are not a sign individual 'weakness' or inability to cope,” said the charity.

Diane agreed, and said anyone worried that mistakes were made during the birth of their child should seek professional advice and complain to the hospital “Mistakes do sometimes happen, especially when maternity units were understaffed. “Try to find out exactly what happened and put together a diary of events as they unfolded,” she said. 

If your family has suffered a significant injury as a result of medical negligence, contact our friendly team on 01253 766 559.

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