Ataxic Cerebral Palsy Explained
Ataxic cerebral palsy is defined by tremors and speech and oral problems. Ataxia means “lacking coordination and order.”
Ataxic cerebral palsy is the least common of the four types of cerebral palsy, occurring in only 10% of cerebral palsy cases. However, its rarity doesn’t mean a child afflicted with it is not going to have tremendous difficulties to face throughout his or her lifetime.
What Causes Ataxic Cerebral Palsy?
Ataxic cerebral palsy is the result of abnormal development or injury to the cerebellum, the portion of the brain devoted to motor control. This can occur prenatally if the mother is exposed to certain toxins or suffers infections like pelvic inflammatory disease. Cerebellum damage can also be caused by high blood pressure during pregnancy, which increases the risk of fetal stroke, and thus, brain damage. Ataxic cerebral palsy can also be caused by oxygen deprivation during birth, often due to damage to the uterus, placenta, or umbilical cord; or if the infant becomes stuck in the birth canal. Doctors and other medical professionals are supposed to be on the lookout for signs of fetal distress during the birthing process so that they can promptly order a Cesarean section if needed.
What Are the Characteristics of Ataxic Cerebral Palsy?
Ataxic cerebral palsy can cause the following symptoms:
- Speaking problems
- Difficulty swallowing
- Weak muscles and the inability to control muscles
- Poor coordination
- Nystagmus (inability to control eye movement)
- Difficulties with balance
Compensation in an Ataxic Cerebral Palsy Claim
While extensive physical therapy can improve some characteristics of ataxic cerebral palsy, there is no real cure. Depending on the severity of your child’s condition, you may seek compensation for any of the following losses and damages in a medical malpractice claim:
- Current medical bills
- Future medical bills (most ataxic cerebral palsy patients will require some type of medical treatment throughout their lives)
- Costs of physical therapy
- Household and vehicle modifications (wheelchair ramps, wheelchair lifts for vehicles, handrails, etc.)
- Pain and suffering
- Costs of special education
- Costs of in-home care if needed
- Lost wages if a family member must quit work or work reduced hours to provide care
- Costs of speech therapy and occupational therapy
- Estimated costs of future care
- Punitive damages
- And more
If your child has shown signs of ataxic cerebral palsy, get him or her to a medical specialist for a diagnosis, then call a qualified birth injury attorney. Because the statute of limitations can vary from state to state, it’s extremely important to take legal action sooner rather than later. For instance, in the state of Texas, the statute of limitations in a medical malpractice claim is just two years from the date of the injury.