HEMIPARESIS

What is Hemiparesis?

Hemiparesis is a medical condition in which a person experiences weakness or paralysis on one side of the body.  The term hemiparesis comes from two words:  “hemi” which means one-sided and “paresis” which means weakness.  The condition often affects a person’s hands, legs, arms and facial muscles.  While 80 percent of stroke survivors suffer from the condition, hemiparesis can also occur in people with brain damage and injuries.  People with hemiparesis often have difficulties performing daily tasks such as eating, dressing, grabbing objects and using the bathroom.

There are several types of hemiparesis.  Each type is determined by where an injury occurred in a person’s brain.  Right-sided hemiparesis is caused by an injury to the left side of the brain which controls language and speaking.  As a result, people with this type of injury have difficulty speaking, using facial muscles and understanding others who are speaking.  Left-sided hemiparesis is caused by an injury to the right side of the brain which controls learning, certain behaviors and nonverbal communication.  People with this type of injury may have difficulties with memory, attention span, sensation and spatial skills.  They may also talk excessively.  Damage to the cerebellum, the lower part of the brain, may affect a person’s posture, balance and coordination.  Damage to the brain stem, which controls swallowing, may lead to paralysis of the throat muscles.

Pure motor hemiparesis is the most common type of one-sided paralysis or weakness.  This condition affects the face, arms and/or legs.  Also known as atoxic hemiparesis syndrome, people with this condition may over or under-grab for objects.  They may have difficulty applying force to objects, and they may experience tremors and have problems with coordination.

How is Hemiparesis Treated?

People with hemiparesis may regain or increase movement of their paralyzed side if they receive immediate rehabilitation therapy from physiatrists, physical therapists and occupational therapists.  Such health care workers can help a person with strength, coordination, range of motion, balance and skills needed to perform everyday activities.  Therapists may even help patients learn to use assistive devices such as a walker or a wheelchair.

In addition to various exercises and therapies, people with hemiparesis may install various devices in their homes to assist them in performing various activities.  For instance, they may install grab bars or raised toilet seats in the bathrooms, which may require non-slip mats on the floors to prevent falls.  They may also require ramps to make it easier to use walkers, canes or wheelchairs.

How Gallivan & Gallivan Can Help If Your Child Was Diagnosed with Hemiparesis

If your child was diagnosed with hemiparesis as a result of a birth injury that caused brain damage, Gallivan & Gallivan may be able to help.  We will review your child’s medical records, including those pertaining to pregnancy, labor and after-care.  We will consult with pediatric neurologists and attempt to determine the cause of your child’s hemiparesis.  If his or her condition could have been prevented, we will recover compensation from those responsible.  Contact the attorneys at Gallivan & Gallivan for a free consultation.

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