According to the American Medical Association (AMA), hemiplegia is paralysis that affects one half of the body, either right or left side. Hemiplegic cerebral palsy is usually caused by a stroke before, during or soon after birth. Sixty percent of children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy have specific symptoms such as recurrent focal seizures in the first three days of life. In others, stroke is not recognized until weeks, months or even years later.
About Pediatric Stroke
Children's Hemiplegia and Stroke Association, CHASA, an international informational and support organization, describes signs and symptoms of hemiplegic cerebral palsy. If you notice the following signs, you should seek medical advice:
- Delay in reaching expected milestones such as rolling over, sitting up, crawling, or smiling
- Difficulty with fine motor tasks, using fingers, hands, and wrists
- Difficulty walking
- Keeping one hand in a fist
- Balance problems
- Stiffness and weakness in muscles on one side of the body
- Using only one hand during play or favoring one hand before the age of three years
Ongoing Symptoms of Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy
Hemiplegic cerebral palsy can cause some, but not necessarily all, of these ongoing symptoms:
- Attention and Concentration - Your child may be unable to filter out distractions in the classroom. She may have trouble switching from one activity to another.
- Behavior - Hemiplegic cerebral palsy can cause agitation, irritability, mood swings, hyperactivity, apathy or outbursts.
- Memory - Difficulty with encoding, storing and retrieving new information.
- Seizures - May develop immediately or years later. In many cases, the seizures can be controlled through medication.
- Sensory Effects - Difficulty with vision and impaired coordination of both eyes. The brain’s visual processing area may be injured, resulting in visual field cuts (partial losses of vision). Hearing may also be affected.
- Social Communication - Your child may have difficulty following shifting topics, interpretation of social cues, organization of ideas, and application of rules of social behavior.
- Speech and Language - Depending on the age and cause of injury, the child may have problems with speech, such as lack of speech or extremely slow speech. These may improve with time. Children who have a stroke at or near birth may have delays in talking, but not in understanding.
Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy and Medical Negligence
If you believe your child has hemiplegic cerebral palsy that may have been caused by negligent medical care, one of our birth injury lawyers may be able to help. We have over 30 years of experience representing families like yours in birth injury cases resulting from substandard care. Our team of skilled nurse case managers are available to listen to your concerns and help get your questions answered.