Horner’s syndrome is not life-threatening, but it may indicate a condition that is life-threatening in some cases. Horner’s syndrome occurs as a result of damage to the nerves that connect the brain to the eye and one side of the face. This damage may occur as a result of trauma, certain medical conditions, or a cancerous tumor.
When a baby is born with Horner’s syndrome, it most likely occurred as a result of an issue in the womb or an injury during delivery. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), about one baby in every 6,250 live births receives a Horner’s syndrome diagnosis.
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The Four Classic Signs of Horner’s Syndrome
Horner’s syndrome is not life-threatening on its own, but it does have several signs that can cause relatively minor concerns and alter the child’s physical appearance. Sometimes treatment may be necessary to treat symptoms if there is not a treatable cause of the condition. The four classic symptoms of Horner’s syndrome include the following:
- Ptosis: A drooping upper eyelid
- Miosis: A smaller pupil in the affected eye, caused by dilation lag
- Enophthalmos: An apparent sinking in of the eyeball into the socket, although this only appears to be the case and there is no measurable difference between the eyes
- Anhidrosis: Limited ability to sweat on the affected side of the child’s face
Both ptosis and the perceived enophthalmos are generally cosmetic only, although a drooping upper eyelid can cause vision issues when it is severe. Miosis occurs as a result of dilation lag and can make it difficult to focus, especially in dark areas when severe. Anhidrosis can be dangerous and lead to overheating, but with only one side of the face affected in Horner’s syndrome, it is generally not a serious concern.
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Understanding the Causes of Horner’s Syndrome in Babies
It is important to understand what caused your child’s Horner’s syndrome, because the cause may be more dangerous than the Horner’s syndrome itself. In many cases, there is no specific cause found, or there was an injury that occurred before or during delivery.
However, other causes need to be ruled out. Possible causes of Horner’s syndrome include:
- Traumatic injuries during gestation or during delivery, often affecting the neck, shoulder, or upper part of the spinal cord.
- A stroke or brain bleed that affects the brainstem.
- Injury, stroke, or other issue related to the carotid artery.
- A tumor in the brainstem, brain, eye, or another area where these nerve pathways run, most commonly neuroblastoma.
Neuroblastoma is a type of cancer that is incredibly important to rule out in young children because it is one of the most common causes of Horner’s syndrome in babies and young children. Infants with neuroblastoma may have a good chance of survival when they get a quick diagnosis and effective treatment.
There is no specific treatment for Horner’s syndrome, although there may be a treatment for individual symptoms, or it may go away when the underlying cause is treated.
Horner’s Syndrome May Support a Birth Injury Claim for Compensation
You may be able to file a claim and recover compensation for your child’s medical care, ongoing treatment and support, and intangible damages. Most birth injury medical malpractice attorneys will review these cases for free to determine if:
- A doctor or another medical professional caused your child’s injuries.
- A medical care provider failed to prevent your child’s injuries.
- A doctor failed to diagnose your child’s underlying condition.
- There was another type of medical negligence that affected your child’s health and wellness.
Proving medical malpractice generally requires that you and your attorney work to obtain your child’s complete medical records and other evidence. It may also entail working with a medical expert who agrees that your child was a victim of malpractice.
Every state generally has its own time limits for filing a lawsuit, as well. You should discuss your case with a birth injury attorney working in your state as soon as you can to learn more.
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Speak with a Representative From the Birth Injury Lawyers Group Today
Get help today by calling the Birth Injury Lawyers Group about your child’s diagnosis and needs. An attorney who handles these cases in your state can help you understand the deadlines, criteria, and process required to seek compensation in your area. You may be able to build a case and recover money for your child’s care, support, and mental anguish.
We want to discuss your case with you today for free to help you learn more. Call us at (800) 222-9529 today for your free consultation with someone from the Birth Injury Lawyers Group.