Though cervical dystonia very rarely occurs as a birth injury, when it does Cooper Schall & Levy is the place to call. If you reside in the greater Philadelphia area and your newborn is suffering the awful consequences of cervical dystonia resulting from birth trauma, get in touch with our experienced medical malpractice legal team as soon as possible.
We are prepared to consult with you at no cost to determine whether your newborn’s serious injuries can be traced to the negligence of your obstetrician and/or the hospital in which the birth took place. Though dystonia may be a result of genetic mutation, stroke, brain tumor, infection or drug reaction, most of the time when it manifests in infancy, it stems from a birth injury. If this is true in your case, you may well have a valid claim of medical malpractice and be entitled to receive substantial damages.
What is cervical dystonia?
First, it is helpful to understand that in this context the word “cervical” refers to the newborn’s neck, not the mother’s cervix. Cervical dystonia, also known as cervical or spasmodic torticollis, is a painful condition in which the neck muscles contract involuntarily, causing the baby’s head to twist or turn to one side. The condition can also cause the infant’s head to tilt forward or backward uncontrollably.
Although the disorder sometimes resolves without treatment, it is generally incurable. Some relief of symptoms has been provided by injections of botulinum toxin into the affected muscles and in a few cases, surgery may be helpful.
How Your Doctor May Have Caused Your Baby’s Cervical Dystonia
There are several ways in which a doctor’s actions can lead to this tragic condition, including by:
- Failing to prepare for a necessary Cesarean section if the baby is in a breech position and cannot be easily turned
- Using forceps or vacuum extraction, either of which may apply too much nerve-damaging pressure to the baby’s head, neck or shoulders
- Delaying intervention when the infant’s shoulder becomes stuck behind the mother’s pelvic bone during delivery, possibly leading to asphyxiation
- Applying excessive manual pressure to the brachial nerves (that run between the spinal cord and the arms) during a complicated delivery
It should be remembered that during a particularly grueling birth, things are difficult for all involved. Even so, the doctor is supposed to be prepared to handle emergencies in a calm and rational manner in order to provide his patients with the high standard of care required of professionals. If your doctor made a tactical error or panicked and pulled your baby too hard during the birthing process, she or he may be guilty of medical malpractice.
What Our Skilled Birth Injury Attorneys Can Do To Help Lift Your Burden
Our birth injury lawyers are determined to fight for the compensation you need to give your child the very best care possible to minimize pain and make her or his life satisfying and joyful. To this end, we will:
- Examine all medical records pertaining to the pregnancy and birth thoroughly, looking for any missteps taken by your doctor or the hospital in terms of procedure and protocol
- Consult with medical experts who can testify on your behalf if our case goes to trial
- Handle communications & negotiations with opposing attorneys and insurance adjusters
- Negotiate and litigate to recover the damages you and your child need and deserve
Our cervical dystonia attorneys work on a contingency basis, so until we win your case, you will owe us nothing.
Symptoms of Cervical Dystonia in Infants
Babies suffering from cervical dystonia may make uncontrollable movements that may include:
- Twisting or tilting the head to the side
- Tipping the head forward or backward
- Leaning the ear towards the shoulder
- Shifting the neck from its normally central position
- Jerking the head
These involuntary movements may also include hand tremors and usually result in pain, fatigue, and, in time, enlarged neck muscles. To the relief of some frantic parents, there are conditions that mimic cervical dystonia but are benign and will resolve on their own or through surgery, such as benign paroxysmal torticollis, congenital muscular torticollis, and paroxysmal tonic upgaze.
Possible Treatments for Cervical Dystonia
Though in most cases, cervical dystonia is incurable, there are several options to alleviate the symptoms, such as:
- Botulinum toxin injections every 3 to 4 months
- Administration of muscle relaxants on a regular basis
- Some oral medications that act on neurotransmitters
- Anti-convulsant medications, like those used to treat epilepsy
- “Sensory tricks,” such as touching the chin, face, or back of the head that sometimes cause temporary improvement
With or without these treatments, patients with cervical dystonia may go into periods of remission, or worsen but then stabilize. Taking pain relievers and wearing a neck brace may also be useful. As with other medical mysteries, scientists are working hard to cure this condition, a syndrome that can never be statistically rare enough for those who live with it.
Complications of Cervical Dystonia
As if the typical symptoms of cervical dystonia weren’t troubling enough, in some cases the involuntary muscle contractions may spread to the face, jaw, arms, and trunk of the patient’s body. Patients may also develop bone spurs in the spine that result in spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal). This in turn can result in tingling, numbness, and weakness in the arms, legs, hands, and feet.
Cooper Schall & Levy Will Fight Aggressively for a Successful Outcome to Your Case
During our decades in practice, we have mastered strategies to win birth injury cases like yours, and have a strong record of doing so, both through negotiated settlements and courtroom verdicts. We will fight tirelessly to recover damages for:
- Medical and rehabilitation costs
- Lost income while you take time to tend your child
- Pain and suffering
- Psychological counseling
- Permanent disability
- Extended nursing care
- Loss of normal childhood activities
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Specialized childcare services
We want to provide you with the funds you need to protect your child and his or her future.
Contact Our Cervical Dystonia Attorneys for Responsive, Responsible Service
No matter how overwhelmed you feel about your child’s birth injury and disturbing prognosis, our compassionate, efficient lawyers are here to support you in any way we can. We will make your cause our cause and work tirelessly in your child’s best interests. Contact our office today to schedule a free initial consultation.
Cooper Schall & Levy medical malpractice lawyers serve Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as well as neighboring counties such as Montgomery County and Delaware County and cover neighborhoods such as Norristown and Drexel Hill.