“Spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy” is a form of spastic cerebral palsy that affects both arms and legs. People suffering from this condition display jerky, stiff movements with hypertonia (stiffness) of the muscles. Thus, it involves spasticity of the limbs rather than absolute inability to move.
Unfortunately, the stress on the body created by spasticity also often causes other complications for the child with spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy. Those complications may include painful joint deformities resulting from constant contracting of muscles, scoliosis, limb deformities and hip dislocation.
Moreover, it is common with spastic quadriplegia that the child’s trunk along with the muscles that control the mouth, tongue, and windpipe are also affected. Thus, babies with this condition may have problems sucking and swallowing and require placement of a feeding tube and periodic suctioning to remove mucus and other fluid buildup in the throat and mouth, and they may never be able to talk normally.
Extensive brain damage or congenital malformations of the brain is the cause of spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy. In the context of physician negligence, brain damage that results in spastic quadriplegia typically arises due to lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain arising from compression of the umbilical cord, damage to the placenta, a stoke causing bleeding in the baby’s brain, or rupture of the womb.
This is why health care providers are trained and expected to look for signs and symptoms that a baby may be experiencing oxygen deprivation in the womb, so that interventions are employed to resolve the situation promptly before brain damage occurs. Some of those interventions include turning and repositioning the mother, giving the mother oxygen and IV fluids, stopping any uterine contraction medications (such as Pitocin), asking the mother to stop pushing. When these measures fail to resolve the situation, or if a rupture of the womb is suspected, a caesarean section delivery often is required under the standard of care.
Likewise, health care providers are trained to look for signs that the womb may be tearing or the placenta may be pulling away from the womb, and if so, intervene immediately to rescue the baby.
Since bleeding strokes are known to cause oxygen deprivation to a child in the womb, it is standard of care for health care providers who are treating women prenatally to monitor closely and manage a pregnant woman’s high blood pressure to reduce the risk of stroke both for the mother’s sake and for the sake her baby.