A baby is in the hospital after suffering a stroke, possibly from medical malpractice.

Pediatric stroke is much more common than people think and the leading cause of cerebral palsy.

Do You Strokes Happen in Children?

Yes. While most people think that strokes only happen in adults, strokes happen in infants, children, teenagers, and unborn babies.

What are the Different Types of Pediatric Strokes?

There are generally two types of strokes.

One kind of stroke is called an ischemic stroke or “dry stroke” because it is caused by a blood clot that prevents blood from flowing to the brain.

The other kind of stroke is called a hemmorhagic stroke of “bleeding stroke.” Hemmorhagic strokes occur when a blood vessel has burst and has begun to deposit blood in the brain tissue or in the space outside of the brain.

What are the Different Categories of Pediatric Strokes?


Perinatal refers to the time period last from 18 weeks before childbirth to the first 30 days after birth. Other similar terms are also sometimes used to cover this time period. Those terms typically include in utero, prenatal, and fetal stroke and are limited to the time before birth. The terms newborn and neonatal stroke refer to strokes that occur during the first month of life.


Childhood stroke refers to a stroke that occurs after one month of life and before the 18th

Is Stroke in Children ever Delayed or Misdiagnosed?

Yes, stroke is often delayed or misdiagnosed in children. A misdiagnosis of stroke increases the risk of injury.

How common is pediatric stroke?

Pediatric stroke is more common that you might think. It is as common as brain tumors. Stroke is a leading cause of death in children.

What Percentage of Children Will Have Permanent Injuries from Stroke?

About 60% of children who survive a stroke will have permanent function limitations. These are called neurological deficits because they are caused by damage to the brain.

The most common types of limitations are hemiparesis or hemiplegia. Hemiplegia/hemiparesis (total or partial paralysis on one side of the body) is the most common form of cerebral palsy in children born at term. Cerebral palsy is caused by a lack of brain development. Stroke is the leading cause of cerebral palsy.

Hemiplegia / hemiparesis are not the only long-term disabilities caused by stroke. Other long-term disabilities caused by a stroke in childhood include cognitive and sensory impairments, epilepsy, speech or communication disorder, visual disturbances, poor attention, behavioral problems, and poor quality of life.

Facts About Perinatal Stroke

The majority of pediatric strokes occur in the perinatal period.

To many people’s surprise, the most focused period of risk for ischemic stroke in your lifetime is the week you are born.

In most perinatal strokes, a cause cannot be found.

For perinatal strokes, the overall risk for another stroke is extremely low, < 1%.

Showing a hand preference, or consistently reaching out with only one hand before 1 year of age may be an indication of an earlier perinatal stroke.

When stroke affects a newborn infant, symptoms may not appear until 4 to 8 months of age in the form of decreased movement or weakness of one side of the body.

Cerebral Palsy (CP) refers to a motor (physical movement) difficulty which results from an abnormality or injury to the brain before or around the time of birth. Therefore, for stroke, the term CP only applies to perinatal stroke. The term CP is not correct for childhood stroke though many children share similar neurological problems (i.e. weakness on one side).

Facts About Childhood Stroke

For children who have an initial stroke, the risk for recurrent strokes is between 15% and 18%.

Early recognition and treatment during the first hours and days after a stroke is critical in optimizing long-term functional outcomes and minimizing recurrence risk.

Many children with stroke symptoms are misdiagnosed with more common conditions that mimic stroke, such as migraines, epilepsy or viral illnesses.

Side view of brain CT to diagnose brain stem stroke

Strokes often require brain imaging to show the amount of damage or location of the injury.

What Groups Are At Risk for Pediatric Stroke?

Newborns, especially full-term infants

Older children with sickle cell anemia, congenital heart defects, immune disorders or problems with blood clotting

Previously healthy children who are found to have hidden disorders such as narrow blood vessels or a tendency to form blood clots easily

Signs and Symptoms of Pediatric Stroke

Strokes have different signs and symptoms depending on the age of the stroke patient. The most common signs and symptoms of stroke include the sudden appearance of:

Signs and Symptoms of Stroke In Children and Teenagers

Weakness or numbness of the face, arm or leg, usually on one side of the body

Trouble walking due to weakness or trouble moving one side of the body, or due to loss of coordination

Problems speaking or understanding language, including slurred speech, trouble trying to speak, inability to speak at all, or difficulty in understanding simple directions

Severe headache especially with vomiting and sleepiness

Trouble seeing clearly in one or both eyes

Severe dizziness or loss of coordination that may lead to losing balance or falling

New appearance of seizures, especially if affecting one side of the body and followed by paralysis on the side of the seizure activity

Combination of progressively worsening non-stop headache, drowsiness and repetitive vomiting, lasting days without relief

Complaint of sudden onset of the “worst headache of my life”

Signs and Symptoms of Stroke In Newborns and Infants


Extreme sleepiness

A tendency to use only one side of their body

An checklist to help doctors avoid medical negligence related to stroke misdiagnosis and delayed.

The American Stroke Association published an infographic to assist in the detection of strokes in children.

What Specialists Treat Pediatric Stroke


A pediatrician is a primary care physician who specializes in the treatment of infants and children. Pediatricians can often help coordinate multiple issues with child’s general health

Rehabilitation Specialists

Rehabilitation specialists include doctors such as physiatrists (also called Physical Medician and Rehabilitation Specialists) and developmental pediatricians with expertise in child rehabilitation

Speech Language Pathologist

Speech language pathologists are part of the stroke team for assessment and help with speech or language challenges that often occur after stroke.


Neuropsychologists evaluate patients and help with learning and education needs.


There is a tremendous amount of stress that is involved in being a child who has experienced a stroke or in having a child who has had a stroke. Psychologists can help with the stress that is associated with this psychological stress.

Orthopedic Surgeon

Orthopedic surgeons are often involved in helping what are called the “mechanical” complications of stroke. These include issues such as tightness in the arm or leg that might be helped by surgery


A hematologist is a blood specialist. A hematologist tests the blood for rare clotting disorders called “hypercoagulable states” and rare diseases that can cause pediatric stroke.


A neonatologist is a pediatrician who specializes in the care of newborn babies. They are usually involved in the care of acute neonatal strokes.


Sometimes neurosurgeons are involved in the treatment of strokes that can be treated with brain surgery. These tend to include hemorrhagic strokes caused by aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations (AVM).

Can I File A Medical Malpractice Lawsuit for a Pediatric Stroke?

Yes. A lawsuit for an ischemic or “dry” stroke just is like any other medical condition. If you think that a doctor or hospital was negligent in diagnosing, treating, or preventing a stroke in an infant, a child, or an adolescent and it caused an injury, a medical malpractice or negligence lawsuit should be investigated. If you would like us to investigate your stroke medical malpractice lawsuit, you will need to act quickly. There are short time restrictions for filing a lawsuit for medical malpractice or negligence, including for a stroke involving an infant, a child, or an adolescent patient.

How do I Hire You to Be My Pediatric Stroke Malpractice Lawyer?

The first thing you should do is complete the contact information form, which will allow us to begin investigating your case. You can call us at 216-777-8856 and we will begin gathering the information needed to begin investigating your medical malpractice and negligence lawsuit related to a stroke in an infant, a child, or an adolescent.

Once we’ve investigated, we’ll candidly tell you what we think about what happened, whether the medical provider is to blame, and what we think about the strength of the case.

Which means when we do take on a case, our reputation tells the other side this is a serious case we believe in.

If for whatever reason we do not take on the case, and we think there is some merit to the case, we’ll try and help you find a lawyer who might take it on.

If you would like more information about us, you can visit us at Eadie Hill Trial Lawyers.

Michael Hill

Michael Hill

Trial Lawyer at Eadie Hill Trial Lawyers
Michael Hill is an accomplished trial lawyer focusing on representing individuals who have suffered life changing injuries due to stroke. While Michael resides in Cleveland, Ohio, he handles stroke medical malpractice cases throughout the United States.

Michael Hill has recorded several seven figure verdicts and settlements.Michael is a regular speaker for lawyers concerning litigation and trial practice.Michael is a member of The National Trial Lawyers Top 40 under 40, Top 10 Nursing Homes Lawyers, Top 25 Medical Malpractice Lawyers, Super Lawyers: Rising Star, and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum.

Michael Hill is a founder of Eadie Hill Trial Lawyers.
Michael Hill