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How is Cerebral Palsy Diagnosed?

Doctors diagnose cerebral palsy by testing an infant’s motor skills and looking carefully at the infant’s medical history. In addition to checking for symptoms — slow development, abnormal muscle tone, and unusual posture — a physician also tests the infant’s reflexes and looks for early development of hand preference.

Free Cerebral Palsy Case Evaluation: If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, brachial plexus palsy or Erb’s palsy, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a lawsuit and we can help.

Cerebral Palsy Diagnosis

When an infant or child has brain damage, a variety of symptoms can lead doctors and parents to suspect that something is wrong. In the first few months of life, an infant with brain damage may demonstrate some or all of the following symptoms that can indicate cerebral palsy:

  • Lethargy, or lack of alertness
  • Irritability or fussiness
  • Abnormal, high-pitched cry
  • Trembling of the arms and legs
  • Poor feeding abilities secondary to problems sucking and swallowing
  • Low muscle tone
  • Abnormal posture, such as the child favoring one side of the body
  • Seizures, staring spells, eye fluttering, body twitching
  • Abnormal reflexes

Medical History

When diagnosing cerebral palsy, the doctor will carefully examine the child’s medical history for signs that cerebral palsy is the root of developmental problems. These signs include:

  • Breech birth
  • Complicated labor and/or delivery
  • Low Apgar score: An Apgar score is determined by monitoring the infant’s condition. Babies are rated according to heart rate, breathing, muscle tone, reflexes, and skin color in the first 10-20 minutes after birth
  • Premature birth or low birth weight
  • Multiple births
  • Nervous system defects
  • Other physical defects
  • Maternal bleeding in the last three months of pregnancy

Identifying these accompanying conditions is important and is becoming more accurate as ongoing research yields advances that make diagnosis easier. Many of these conditions can then be addressed through specific treatments, improving the long-term outlook for those with cerebral palsy.

Do I have a Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit?

The Birth Injury Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus exclusively on the representation of plaintiffs in cerebral palsy, brachial plexus palsy, and Erb’s palsy lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new cases in all 50 states.

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