Spastic Quadriplegia Cerebral Palsy
Spastic quadriplegia is the most severe form of cerebral palsy. It involves marked motor impairment of all four limbs, dysfunction of the muscles of the mouth and tongue, and in many cases, mental retardation and seizures. This tragic condition is generally caused by damage to the brain before, during, or shortly after birth.
Symptoms of Spastic Quadriplegia
A child with spastic quadriplegia has uncontrolled movements in the arms and the legs. Although each child with this condition experiences symptoms differently, common symptoms include:
- Muscle weakness;
- Muscle tremors;
- Muscles that contract and release rapidly;
- Poor motor control and stiffness (spasticity) of the arms and legs;
- Clenched fists;
- Walking on tiptoes;
- Walking with a scissored gait;
- Inability to walk;
- Joints that cannot stretch or move;
- Speech impediments and language disorders;
- Cognitive issues; and
- Seizures (which sometimes occur within the first six months of life).
Complications of Spastic Quadriplegia
Spastic quadriplegia is a form of cerebral palsy that affects the child’s entire body. A child with this condition is at risk of developing:
- Contractures and deformities of the limbs;
- Scoliosis (curvature of the spine);
- Ankle equinus (limited ankle flexibility);
- Drop foot (difficulty raising the front of the foot);
- Difficulty swallowing (which can lead to respiratory issues when food is aspirated);
- Nutritional deficiencies (resulting from swallowing difficulties); and
- Bowel and bladder problems.
Causes of Spastic Quadriplegia
All forms of cerebral palsy are caused by injury to or malformation of the brain. Spastic cerebral palsy (which includes spastic quadriplegia) is caused by damage to the motor cortex of the brain and the pyramidal tracts of the brain that connect the motor cortex to the spinal cord.
The motor cortex, located in the cerebral cortex (the largest part of the brain), regulates voluntary movement. Damage to this area can make voluntary movements more difficult to control, or spastic. The pyramidal tracts are the communication links between the cerebral cortex and the nerves of the spinal cord. When they are damaged, the spinal cord cannot receive the proper signals from the motor cortex.
Damage to the motor cortex and pyramidal tracts may be caused by:
- Lack of oxygen to the brain during labor and delivery birth;
- Trauma to the brain or infection after before or after birth;
- Brain bleeding or hemorrhage.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Spastic Quadriplegia
Generally, spastic quadriplegia is diagnosed during infancy, when significant developmental delays are detected. Treatment varies from child to child, depending on the severity of the condition. Traditional treatment options for children with spastic quadriplegia include:
Medications: Benzodiazepines (such as Librium and Valium) or injected medications may be prescribed to treat muscle stiffness. Secondary conditions, such as ADHD or epilepsy, may be treated with medications. A child with spastic quadriplegia may be prescribed medications to control and reduce the frequency of seizures.
Surgery: Although surgery is often prescribed as a last resort for children with spastic quadriplegia, surgical procedures may be recommended to correct dislocated joints, shortened muscles, and other issues that lead to pain and impairment. Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) is a type of spinal surgery that may be performed to help relax muscles and increase mobility in certain areas of the body.
Physical therapy: This is the first line of treatment for children with spastic cerebral palsy. It includes stretching, flexibility exercises, and range-of-motion activities to help children become as independent as possible. Physical therapists use games and toys to help make the therapy more enjoyable for children.
Speech therapy: Children with spastic quadriplegia may be prone to drooling and have difficulty with swallowing and speaking. Speech therapists teach them exercises to help improve their oral and cognitive abilities, so they can communicate more clearly and better socialize. Speech therapy can also improve literacy and help with chewing, swallowing, and breathing difficulties.
Occupational therapy: The purpose of occupational therapy is to help children develop skills that make it possible to perform daily tasks independently, which will ultimately help them in every area of life. Much of the occupational therapy focus for children with spastic quadriplegia is on strengthening the fingers and hands.
Why Seek Compensation for Spastic Quadriplegia Birth Injuries?
A child with spastic quadriplegia often requires extensive medical treatment, physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy for many years. Surgery may be required to correct problems with joints and muscles causing pain and impairment. As a parent, you want to provide the best medical treatment and therapy available to help improve your child’s quality of life.
If your child’s brain injuries were caused by medical negligence, you and your child have legal rights. You have the right to seek compensation from the parties responsible for your child’s injury. A child with spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy will need special accommodations and long-term care. A full and fair recovery from the negligent healthcare providers who caused your child’s injuries can help you provide for your child’s needs, now and in the future.
At Birth Injury Safety, we are passionate about helping families who have suffered birth injuries caused by medical negligence. Laura Brown is a Texas birth injury attorney with years of experience, who has been awarded membership in the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for recovering major compensation for her clients. You can rely on us for passionate representation and dedicated legal advocacy if your child has spastic quadriplegia caused by a negligent medical provider. Call (214) 974-4121 for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Birth Injury Case Results
Gross Settlement/Verdict: $3,250,000.00
Injury: Oxygen Deprivation During Labor & Delivery Resulting in Brain Injury & Cerebral Palsy
- A contingent (%) fee charged on the successful recovery resulted in a fee of $1,300,000 and $81,511.14 in litigation expenses which were reimbursed by the client out of the gross settlement amount.
Gross Settlement/Verdict: $5,800,000.00
Injury: Oxygen Deprivation During Labor & Delivery Resulting in Brain Damage & Cerebral Palsy
- A contingent (%) fee charged on the successful recovery resulted in a fee of $1,441,584 and $33,666.12 in litigation expenses which were reimbursed by the client out of the gross settlement amount.
Note: If any of the cases listed here had been unsuccessful, the law firm would have paid all of the expenses for the case without being reimbursed by the client and would have received $0 dollars in attorney's fees.