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Tag Archive: Cerebral Palsy

Does my baby have signs of cerebral palsy?

It’s not unusual for parents to have concerns about whether their child is developing at the expected rate in their formative years.

Of course, in the vast majority of cases there is no cause for concern, as all children progress at different speeds and they naturally develop at their own rate.

However, it is important for parents to be aware of the expected developmental stages their child should be reaching at certain ages, and to ask questions of a medical professional if they have any concerns.

Almost 80 per cent of all child disabilities are detected by their parents. They see their children every day and are naturally best placed to detect intellectual and developmental delays.

Asking questions and seeking expert advice over such concerns can lead to an early diagnosis – and most importantly the support you and your child need.

We know from our work that children with cerebral palsy benefit hugely from highly specialised intervention at an early stage and careful monitoring throughout their early years.

Cerebral palsy is usually diagnosed between the age of 18 and 24 months, but the signs and symptoms are often present much earlier.

Quite rightly, parental concerns are often amplified if they experienced a pregnancy or labour which was traumatic or which may have exposed your baby to oxygen deprivation or a brain bleed.

But not all cerebral palsy symptoms are visible at birth and they can become more obvious as children develop.

Sadly, some children may never reach certain milestones because of a permanent brain injury which may have occurred during pregnancy, delivery or the neonatal period immediately after birth.

If you believe your child might be showing cerebral palsy characteristics or suffering from developmental delay, here are a few pointers to help decide if you should be seeing extra advice.

Possible signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy at 2-4 months

  • Cannot control their head when picked up
  • Difficulty sucking and feeding
  • Stiff legs that cross and look like scissors
  • Stiff or shaky arms or legs


Possible signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy at 4-6 months

  • Display poor head control
  • Won’t watch objects as they move
  • Don’t smile at people
  • Won’t bring items to their mouth
  • Can’t push up with feet when placed on a hard surface
  • Have difficulty moving one or both eyes in all directions


Possible signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy at 6-9 months

  • Lack of affection for parents or caregivers
  • Not trying to touch things within reach
  • Reaching for items with only one hand while other is in a fist
  • Not responding to close sounds
  • Difficulty getting things to their mouth
  • Doesn’t laugh or make squealing noises
  • Seems stiff and has tight muscles
  • Seems very floppy and/or have problems eating and drinking
  • Not able to roll over


Possible signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy at 9-12 months

  • Doesn’t move toys back and forth between hands
  • Won’t look where parent is pointing
  • Cannot bear weight on legs while using support
  • Drags a hand and leg while crawling
  • Cannot sit by themselves
  • Doesn’t babble


Possible signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy at 12-18 months

  • Not learning gestures like waving
  • Does not point at objects or people
  • Won’t search for items they see hidden
  • Can’t stand with support
  • Doesn’t crawl


Possible signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy at 18 months to 2 years

  • Throwing head back and severely arching back in response to stimulation
  • Not responding to touch, sounds or sights
  • Feeding problems and excessive drooling
  • Cannot sit, walk, or crawl
  • Doesn’t point to objects or people
  • Doesn’t know purpose of familiar items
  • Cannot copy other people
  • Not learning new words or babbling
  • Cannot grasp items with thumb and index finger
  • Cannot drink from cup without help
  • Cannot feed themselves finger foods
  • Cannot put blocks in and out of a bucket
  • Has jerky or stiff arms and legs
  • Displays floppy arms or legs
  • Walks in a scissor pattern
  • Lack of affection or fear


Possible signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy at 2-3 years

  • Does not show any affection towards parents
  • Does not lift arms to show a desire to be picked up
  • Won’t copy the actions of others or follow simple instructions
  • Does not know what to do with common items
  • Fails to develop a heel-toe walking pattern after months of walking
  • Has legs that cross like scissors when walking
  • Cannot walk steadily
  • Walks only on their toes
  • Cannot use two-word sentences


Free help and legal advice for concerned parents

If your child displays any of the above, or a combination, and you have concerns, we would advise seeking expert opinion as to whether they are indicative of a medical condition such as cerebral palsy as soon as possible.

There are many types of cerebral palsy and other developmental disorders. An on-line article can only refer to some general pointers but cannot give you the guidance that a qualified medical professional who has met you, and your child, is able to offer.

Similarly, medical professionals can give peace of mind if something is transitory and not to be concerned over.

Sometimes, although maybe in only one in ten cases, this birth injury is caused as a result of medical negligence by a midwife, doctor, or medical team either during pregnancy or birth, resulting in a life-long impact on your child and family.

At Hudgell Solicitors, we help many parents question the care provided and ensure people are held responsible when it is established that life-changing errors were made.

We have helped many families who have children with cerebral palsy enjoy a much better quality of life, securing interim damages payments to secure specialist treatment, home adaptations, essential equipment, accommodation and care.

Our work is dedicated to ensuring your child has all the support they need to maximise their potential, and that families have a network of support around them as they look to adapt to a completely new, and challenging, way of life.

Long term we will seek to secure the best compensation settlement package possible to ensure your child has life-long care and support.

For free help or advice about how to start a cerebral palsy compensation claim, please get in touch – our expert solicitors will treat you with kindness and compassion.

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25/06/2019 No Comments

Q&A on Cerebral Palsy cases with Rosamund Rhodes – Kemp

Rosamund Rhodes Kemp

The heart-warming story of US-born Matthew Walzer is a fantastic example of how those live with Cerebral Palsy can live an independent life.

Matthew wrote an open letter to the CEO of Nike, Mark Parker, explaining that a lack of flexibility in his hand muscles led to difficulty in tying his shoe laces. Common symptoms of CP in babies and children include difficulty swallowing, lack of co-ordination, slow speech, a curved spine, and a lack of muscle control.

Matthew suggested that Nike create a brand new trainer that can benefit those with CP and similar disabilities. Amazingly, over a three-year period, Nike created a series of shoes with a revolutionary strap system. Matthew chose not only to accept the challenges of his condition, but to face them too, and find a way to make life easier for himself and others with similar disabilities.

In the UK, an estimated 30,000 children live with CP, and approximately 1 ,800 are diagnosed every year. Of those diagnosed, 20% are due to negligence, whilst the remaining 80% are due to congenital factors or difficulties during pregnancy.

Rosamund Rhodes-Kemp, Head of Clinical Negligence and Personal Injury at Hudgell Solicitors in London, specialises in CP cases including children. She has represented families in many high-profile CP cases and spoke of her experiences in the field:

Q. What made you interested in pursuing complex claimant cases, in particular cerebral palsy?

Rosamund: I nursed children in my previous career and had applied for, and been accepted on, a midwifery course at the John Radcliffe Hospital, when I opted for law instead. I have also been a special needs governor at a primary school for 15 years.As a nurse, you are used to dealing with a multidisciplinary team, and that is exactly what you do with cerebral palsy or other maximum severity cases. If you have a great legal and health professional team, it is often possible to secure an admission of responsibility and then apply for an interim payment, so that the injured person receives compensation before the final settlement and can start to rebuild their lives. Frankly, there is little that is as satisfying in the work that we do.

Q. Do you feel that your experience as a former nurse has given you an insight into these types of medical cases?

Rosamunnd: Undoubtedly. Not least is the knowledge and understanding of medical records and, in cerebral palsy cases particularly, the midwifery and nursing records. It is obviously vital to understand what has been the cause, but equally important to understand what has been missed out and the significance of both. But also understanding complex medical terminology, anatomy, and physiology, and the interaction of drugs. Most importantly though, is how mistakes can happen in any given situation. Picturing yourself in the scene at the time and then working backwards to see what could have been done differently, or what would have avoided the mistake.

These cases are also incredibly stressful and you carry a huge emotional burden for the family throughout the lifetime of the case, and nursing prepares you for that, because you carry the burden of the patient’s anxieties, illness, and recovery when you are looking after them, because they are at their lowest ebb.

Q. What was the most remarkable case related to CP that you have worked on and why?

Rosamund: I am still actually working on my most memorable case! it is memorable for lots of reasons. Firstly, because when it first came into the department I was working in at the time, a colleague of mine put it in the discarded cases pile. I got it out and had a look and thought there was something in it. A few months later, having obtained the records and an expert report, we received full admissions of responsibility from the Trust. It is also memorable because of the complex family dynamics – these have made it particularly challenging and tested every possible area of knowledge, expertise, and diplomacy.

Q. What needs to change regarding prevention and support?

Rosamund: The most common reason for negligently caused cerebral palsy is the misinterpretation of CTG traces, and so priority should be given to regular and high quality teaching on the interpretation of CTGs. Also poor staffing levels and lack of consultant cover.

Moves have been taken to ensure there is 24-hour consultant cover in obstetric units and proper staffing levels, but there is a shortage of midwives and a shortage of funds, and it is going to be difficult to change because training, consultant cover, and staff shortages are all going to necessitate additional funds being made available at a time when NHS resources are stretched to the limit.

However, what I would say is that prevention is far better than trying to deal with the problem when it occurs. The cost of looking after a child with profound cerebral palsy is enormous to society, to the family, and to the NHS. So it is surely better to invest more funds in preventing these tragedies occurring in the first place.

With greater technology and advances in medicine, it is getting easier to detect problems during pregnancy, so that steps can be taken to minimise the risks of labour. But you will still need competent staff and enough of them or risks will still materialise. It also makes economic sense to invest heavily in these children when they are tiny, because they do far better if they are surrounded by a multidisciplinary team, providing support and therapy for all of their needs. So, for example, a team for a profoundly affected child would include:

  • Speech and Language therapy
  • Physiotherapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Community Nurse
  • Social Services regarding adaptations to housing
  • Paediatrician

The top of the wish list would have to be that every child with cerebral palsy would get some compensation, rather than the lottery, which means that some children, who have been affected by negligence, will get a substantial award, whereas other children get nothing.


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11/12/2015 No Comments

Making quality of life as good as it can be is the key focus of World Cerebral Palsy Day

Rosamund Rhodes -Kemp

By Rosamund Rhodes-Kemp, head of clinical negligence at Hudgell Solicitors, London

When reflecting upon the impact I’ve had as a medical negligence solicitor representing a family or client in a case, I never judge my own performance or success on the amount of compensation I have secured.

Yes, the figures can sometimes make for headlines in newspapers, particularly when such payments reach six, or perhaps seven figures, but the true test of any settlement is the difference it makes to a client’s quality of life.

“Nottingham family win multi-million pound High Court payout for brain-damaged son” read the headline in a local newspaper when Hudgell Solicitors supported the family of George Muir.

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07/10/2015 No Comments

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