Sandifer’s syndrome in infants is a disorder that occurs alongside gastroesophageal reflux and related conditions. Sandifer’s syndrome is characterized by dystonic movements that may resemble seizures, cerebral palsy, or other movement disorders. Symptoms generally disappear with the treatment of the baby’s gastroesophageal reflux.
While the prognosis for babies with Sandifer’s syndrome is generally good, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) notes that the baby’s response to treatment and overall prognosis may be worse if their diagnosis comes later because of a missed diagnosis or misdiagnosis. With ongoing, untreated gastroesophageal concerns, babies may not grow as they normally would.
For a free legal consultation, call 1-800-222-9529
Symptoms of Sandifer’s Syndrome
The first thing most parents notice about their child with Sandifer’s syndrome is how they arch their backs. They also notice specific, involuntary movements of the child’s neck and the child moving in twisting motions. These movements are known as torticollis and dystonia, respectively. Both occur as a result of muscle contractions that occur outside of the child’s control.
Some doctors may see these symptoms and diagnose a movement disorder or epilepsy. A closer look, however, will uncover symptoms that point to gastroesophageal reflux and the related discomfort, which may include:
- Problems sleeping
- Trouble gaining weight
- Choking frequently
- Coughing frequently, especially while lying down
- Noticeably slow to eat
- Recurrent pneumonia, especially aspiration pneumonia
- Head bobbing
- Obvious pain and discomfort following meals
If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important that you discuss your concerns with your doctor. This step is especially true if your doctor has already diagnosed your child with epilepsy or another condition, but medication is not working to stop their symptoms.
Birth Injury Lawyer Near Me 1-800-222-9529
The Danger of Misdiagnosing Sandifer’s Syndrome
Sandifer’s syndrome in infants is commonly confused with a neurological disorder or injury. Because of the unique movements and arched back common with Sandifer’s syndrome, doctors may misdiagnose them with a seizure disorder, cerebral palsy, or another condition that might cause similar movements.
When babies receive these incorrect diagnoses, they may be given medications to try to stop seizures, trembling, or other movements thought to be tied to their diagnosis. These medications will not help with Sandifer’s syndrome because they do not address the underlying cause.
Taking unnecessary medications can lead to negative reactions, side effects, and more. Many seizure medications have serious side effects. Throughout this process, the baby continues to struggle with the underlying gastroesophageal reflux because it has not been diagnosed and addressed.
While there is no definitive research that points to why some babies develop Sandifer’s syndrome, it is almost always associated with gastroesophageal reflux. In other rare cases, it occurs alongside other issues with the lower esophagus, such as hiatal hernia.
While gastroesophageal reflux is generally not as serious as epilepsy, cerebral palsy, or other conditions commonly confused with it, babies with gastroesophageal reflux continue to suffer the pain and discomfort caused by their untreated condition. The movements themselves show the child is suffering from chest pressure, throat pain, and other discomforts.
Building a Birth Injury Case Based on a Missed Diagnosis or Misdiagnosis
Your child’s Sandifer’s syndrome diagnosis requires quick treatment to reduce their pain and discomfort. If they did not get this treatment initially, you may have a birth injury case. This situation may be true if:
- Your child’s doctor missed their Sandifer’s syndrome diagnosis, and this delayed treatment.
- Your child’s doctor misdiagnosed the baby’s condition, and they underwent unnecessary treatment.
Your lawyer can help you build a case to show what happened, how the doctor’s medical negligence affected your child’s treatment, and how your child and your family suffered as a result. A lawyer in your state will be able to explain the necessary steps and the applicable timelines, as these differ from state to state.
Most states require an expert review of your case, including your child’s relevant medical records, medical evidence, and other documents. They will want to know the symptoms the doctor and care team saw, the tests they ran, and how they came to the incorrect diagnosis. You may not be able to move forward with filing a birth injury medical malpractice case unless you have a medical expert willing to testify that you qualify to take legal action.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form now
Get Help with Your Birth Injury Case Today from the Birth Injury Lawyers Group
If your child’s doctor missed their Sandifer’s syndrome diagnosis, and your child suffered ill effects, call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group to get help today. We can review your case during a complimentary consultation. We understand how these cases work in your state, and what is required to hold the doctor or medical clinic responsible for your family’s damages.
Call (800) 222-9529 today.