A movement disorder, infant dystonia involves muscles contracting involuntarily. The movements often manifest as twisting or repetitive motions. Your infant’s body may be only partially affected or affected in two or more adjacent areas, or the entire body may be affected. The muscle contractions that the baby suffers can be painful, ranging from mild to severe. The symptoms could actually prevent your baby from conducting common tasks they encounter later in daily life.
Although scientists have yet to determine what causes infant dystonia, the disorder can be genetic, or it might be a symptom of some other existing condition. Basically, the condition results from a neurological problem in your infant, wherein their brain does not effectively handle messages about muscle contractions.
If your infant was diagnosed with dystonia disorder, it is possible that your doctors played a role in this development. In this case, you may be entitled to receive compensation. The Birth Injury Lawyers Group can review your case free of charge and inform you of your legal options. Call 1-800-222-9529.
Infant Dystonia Disorder Lawsuits & Injury Cases
If your baby suffers from some form of acquired dystonia disorder, it is quite possible that the healthcare providers involved in your pregnancy, labor, and/or delivery played a role in the development of this condition. This could make them liable for a medical malpractice birth injury lawsuit.
In order to prove this liability, we will need to establish:
- The standard of care that your medical provider had a duty to uphold – The level of care and skill that a medical practitioner in the same field of specialty and with similar training would have exhibited in a similar situation.
- Breach – Your health care provider failed to meet the medical standard of care.
- Causation and Injury – This breach of duty caused your infant to develop dystonia.
We will support the above claims with opinions from other medical practitioners in the same field as the defendant to establish the core elements of medical malpractice.
Our legal team will also tap the expertise of professionals in the fields of economics, medicine, life-care planning, and vocational therapy to support the types and amounts of damages we will seek to recover in your legal efforts.
Some of the compensation you receive for your infant’s dystonia disorder might include the following types of damages:
- Medical care (past, present, future, and ongoing)
- Doctors’ fees (past, present, future)
- Surgeon’s fees (past, present, future)
- Specialized equipment
- Physical therapy
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
- Income lost due to your being occupied with caring for a disabled child
If your child were to suffer death because of their infant dystonia disorder, you could pursue a wrongful death action. One of our wrongful death attorneys can walk you through this process and champion your case to a judge and/or jury.
Infant Dystonia Types
Dystonia is classified according to which parts or how much of the body is impacted by the symptoms of the disorder.
- Hemidystonia dystonia affects one side of the body’s arm and leg.
- Segmental dystonia affects at least two parts of the body that are adjacent.
- Multifocal dystonia affects at least two body parts that are unrelated.
- Focal dystonia centers on a specific body part.
- Generalized dystonia affects either all or most of the body.
Beyond these classifications, several forms of dystonia can develop in different situations:
- Cervical dystonia – (the most common form of focal dystonia) affects muscles in the neck that control head movement and position
- Blepharospasm – (the second most common form of focal dystonia) affects muscles that control blinking of the eyes, sometimes causing “functional blindness”
- Cranio-facial dystonia – affects muscles in the face, head, and neck and can influence the individual’s ability to swallow and speak normally
- Task-specific dystonias – manifest during the course of specific, repetitive activities, including writing and playing musical instruments
Infant Dystonia Disorder Causes
When infant dystonia disorder results from an external variable—something other than genetics—it is referred to acquired dystonia (or secondary dystonia). Many of these environmental factors would have fallen within a physician’s responsibility to avoid, diagnose, treat, and so on. Some of these risk factors include:
- Neonatal brain damage
- Some infections
- Bad reaction to specific drugs
- Carbon monoxide or metal poisoning
Other forms of infant dystonia are genetic.
Infant Dystonia Disorder Symptoms
The symptoms of infant dystonia can be exacerbated by fatigue, stress, or anxiety. They also tend to become more apparent as your baby gets older. Every person’s experience with symptoms is slightly different. Some areas of the body that might show signs of the disorder include:
- Eyelids – Involuntary spasms, rapid blinking, dry eyes
- Voicebox and vocal cords – whispering or tight voice
- Neck – head turns or twists or pulls backward or forward
- Tongue/jaw – problems swallowing or chewing, slurred speech, drooling
- Hand/forearm – presents itself during repetitive activities like writing or playing an instrument
Infant Dystonia Disorder Diagnosis and Treatment
Neurological disorders like infant dystonia disorder are typically diagnosed with an MRI, CT scan, or electromyography (EMG).
Although there is no cure for infant dystonia disorder, nor can the disorder be slowed, some treatments can make the symptoms more manageable for the patient. These treatments include:
- Medications that influence neurotransmitters
- Botulinum toxin injections for focal dystonias to decrease muscle spasms
- Deep brain stimulation (DBS) using implanted electrodes to affect the part of the brain that controls movement
- Physical therapies and/or speech/voice therapy
- Surgeries focused on blocking the pathways of the nervous system that lead to abnormal movements
Infant Dystonia Disorder Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if my baby has Infant Dystonia Disorder?
Be aware of involuntary muscle contractions in your baby that cause them to twist, assume abnormal postures, or generate repetitive movements. Sometimes the symptoms can increase or decrease depending upon your infant’s emotions, body position, certain tasks, or whether they are asleep or awake.
Can Infant Dystonia Disorder Be Fatal?
According to the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation, infant dystonia disorder itself is not fatal. However, in severe cases, the effects might lead to a life-threatening condition. Also, if the dystonia is linked to a degenerative disease, that disease might be fatal.
Who is Liable for Infant Dystonia Disorder?
Liability would be assigned to whomever had a duty to provide a certain level of medical care, but failed in that duty, and this failure caused your child’s infant dystonia disorder. This could be a doctor who failed to treat an infection, a healthcare provider involved in the delivery if your infant was deprived of oxygen, or perhaps a member of the medical team who caused some sort of trauma that resulted in the disorder.
Our legal team can review all the medical records of your pregnancy, labor, and delivery to determine whether a medical provider could be liable for your baby’s infant dystonia disorder.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Infant Dystonia Disorder?
Because statutes of limitations vary from state to state, your attorney will have to inform you of the limitations that apply in the state of your residence.
In addition, your medical malpractice birth injury lawyer will incorporate into your case knowledge of your state’s statutes of repose. These laws let the statute of limitations start to run, regardless of whether your infant has shown any signs of injury. States also tend to factor age into a case like this via tolling, which extends the statutes of limitations for minors.
Infant Dystonia Disorder Glossary Terms
- Myoclonus: a jerky, involuntary muscle movement
- Blepharospasm: a form of dystonia that causes prolonged eye closure, twitching, or repetitive movements
- Hypoxia: deprivation of adequate oxygen supply in your body’s tissues
The Birth Injury Lawyers Group Can Help Connect You With a Lawyer
The infant dystonia disorder legal team at the Birth Injury Lawyers Group can review your and your baby’s medical records to determine whether you might be eligible to file a medical malpractice claim in response to your child’s infant dystonia disorder.
We can work to get you the compensation you deserve. Call us at 1-800-222-9529 for a free case review.