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Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy Caused by Medical Malpractice

Quadriplegic cerebral palsy is typically also spastic quadriplegia. This serious condition may be caused by a medical provider making a mistake that leads to brain damage before, during or after childbirth. It affects the entire body. The word spastic refers to a muscle stiffness accompanying the condition. Quadri is derived from the Latin word for four.

When people suffer from quadriplegic cerebral palsy, all four quadrants of the body are affected. Children with spastic CP may suffer muscle stiffness in one arm, both legs or one full side of their body.

When only the legs are affected, the condition is called spastic diplegia. Spastic hemiplegia is a type of cerebral palsy in which one side of the body is affected.

Spastic quadriplegia is a form of CP in which all four of child’s limbs are affected as well as the face and torso. The child may have related disorders like epilepsy.

The most common cause of quadriplegic cerebral palsy is brain damage either before a birth, during it or shortly afterward. Mistakes by doctors and other medical providers are a significant cause of this very serious condition.

The Unborn Infant is Vulnerable to Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy

The infant is at his or her most vulnerable during 26 to 34 weeks gestation when the white matter of an infant’s brain can be easily damaged.

Damage to the brain impacts the whole body, causing spastic quadriplegia because the white matter sends messages to the rest of the unborn child’s body.

Fetal strokes are another cause of this condition. Fetal strokes may be caused by placental blood clots and placenta previa. They can also be caused by poorly-formed blood vessels in the brain.

Maternal high blood pressure during a pregnancy poses a heightened risk of fetal stroke. This is a danger medical providers should be well aware of. It is the responsibility of doctors to monitor expectant mothers carefully and to diagnose and treat issues like high blood pressure that can damage an infant.

Many factors can have an adverse impact on the brain of an infant and increase the likelihood of the baby developing quadriplegic cerebral palsy

What Are The Factors Impacting the Development of Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy?

  • Maternal infections
  • Fetal infections
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals
  • Medical malpractice


Symptoms of Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy (Spastic Quad)

An inability to stretch or move joints

  • Muscles that rapidly contract and release
  • Muscle tightness
  • Tremors in the muscles
  • Language and speech disorders
  • Inability to walk
  • Seizures as early as the first six months of life
  • Cognitive issues


Identifying the Early Signs of Cerebral Palsy

The initial signs of cerebral palsy vary greatly. There are many different types and levels of disability. An early sign of CP is a when a child experiences a delay in reaching motor or movement milestones like sitting, rolling over, standing, or walking.

A baby under six-months-old may feel stiff or floppy and his head lags when he is lying on his back. An infant who overextends his back and neck may have CP. When you pick up the infant, his legs often get stiff and cross or scissor.

Given its severity, quadriplegic cerebral palsy can usually be identified at an early stage.

Complications from Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy

Infants who suffer spastic quadriplegia are at a greater risk of developing limb deformities because the condition affects the child’s entire body.

When children have spastic muscles that are constantly pulling, serious issues can develop over time. About a quarter of patients with the condition develop a curvature of the spine known as scoliosis. Children diagnosed with spastic quadriplegia frequently develop scoliosis.

Foot deformities are another common complication. Ankle equinus in which ankle flexibility is limited, is a potential complication of spastic quad. Another complication is foot drop or “drop foot,” in which it is difficult for a child to raise the front of his or her foot.

Respiratory difficulties are a further complication from spastic quadriplegia. The sufferer experiences difficulty swallowing resulting in respiratory difficulties if food is aspirated. The problems a child with quadriplegic cerebral palsy experiences swallowing means nutrition or the lack of it is a real concern while the child may be prone to bowel and bladder difficulties.

Treatment Options for Children with Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy

A number of treatments are available for children with quadriplegic cerebral palsy. Medications may have side-effects and surgery can be costly and invasive. The traditional options are:

  • Occupational therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Medication
  • Surgery


Physical therapy is usually the first line of treatment for quadriplegic cerebral palsy and spastic quad. Surgery is usually a last resort.

Hire an Experienced Lawyer if Your Child is Diagnosed with Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy

Medical malpractice is a major cause of quadriplegic cerebral palsy/ spastic quad. There are other causes of this condition, but if your child is diagnosed with this serious condition around the time of birth, you should not rule out the possibility that a medical professional made a mistake.

Quadriplegic cerebral palsy is a permanent condition. If your child was diagnosed with this condition, he or she will face lifelong medical needs.

The Smith Law Center has been fighting for the injured since 1949. We have achieved multi-million dollar medical malpractice verdicts and settlements. Call our experienced Hampton-based lawyers at 757-344-7000.



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