Cervical Dystonia Birth Injuries due to Oregon Medical Malpractice

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Medical Malpractice Causing Cervical Dystonia Birth Injuries in Oregon

While many babies are born every day without any complications, there are some babies that are sadly not as fortunate. There are many complications that can occur during the labor and delivery of a baby. A baby may become lodged in the birth canal, or there may be a problem with the umbilical cord, placenta or uterus to name a few. However, there is a different type of complication that can occur during labor and delivery, and that is a cervical dystonia birth injuries.

 Birth injuries are injuries the newborn sustains as a result of something that occurred during labor and delivery. These can be injuries such as broken bones, brachial plexus injuries, brain injuries, cerebral palsy, or hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) to name a few. Another example of a an injury that can occur as a result of something that happened during the labor and delivery process is cervical dystonia. While not all birth injuries are due to medical malpractice ,some of these birth injuries can be the result of medical malpractice, meaning the injury was preventable with proper care.

Cervical Dystonia Explained

Dystonia is a type of neurological disorder that causes involuntary muscle contractions as well as abnormal posturing or positioning of a body part. While dystonia can affect any part of the body and most often affects all or most of the body, cervical dystonia is a form of dystonia that only affects the neck, shoulders, and head. Cervical dystonia can be a painful disorder, due to the lack of control of these movements. While cervical dystonia can occur at any age, when an infant suffers from cervical dystonia, it is likely due to physical trauma that occurred during pregnancy, labor or birth. 

Symptoms of Cervical Dystonia in an Infant

If a baby has cervical dystonia, it will often be quite obvious that something is not quite right when the baby is born. A newborn with cervical dystonia birth injury may exhibit the following signs and symptoms that are indicative of the condition:

  • The baby has a jerking head motion
  • Hand tremors are present
  • The baby’s head may tip backward or forward
  • The baby may tilt or twist his or her head to the sides
  • Head leans towards the shoulder
  • Head movements that are spastic

For some babies, their head may remain in an abnormal position, while for other babies they may have jerky movements, leading to abnormal positioning. 

How Birth Injuries Can Cause Cervical Dystonia

There are some birth injuries that can cause cervical dystonia, including the following:

  • Brachial plexus injuries – Brachial plexus injuries occur when one or more of the brachial plexus nerves becomes damages, affecting movement of the shoulders, arms, and hands.
  • Inappropriate use of tools used during delivery – Sometimes, tools such as a vacuum extractor or forceps are used to assist in delivery if the mother is having difficulty pushing the newborn out. While they can be effective, they carry significant risks, especially if they are improperly used
  • Shoulder dystocia – Shoulder dystocia refers to a condition in which the baby’s shoulders are trapped above the mother’s pubic bone. This is a very dangerous complication, and can result in juries such as brachial plexus injuries or cervical dystonia

Diagnosis of Cervical Dystonia

The diagnosis of cervical dystonia is typically made based on the way the person is presenting (i.e. the abnormal movements they are making, position of their head, etc.). There is no form of imaging or blood work that can diagnose dystonia, rather it is a diagnosis based on signs and symptoms. It is important to note that not all cases of cervical dystonia in infancy are due to a birth injury, or a mistake a healthcare provider has made. Regardless of this, it’s important for your newborn’s case to be fully investigated to determine if it is due to a genetic condition, is idiopathic, or is due to a birth injury

Additional Needs Your Child May Have Due to Cervical Dystonia

As cervical dystonia is a lifelong condition, your child will have additional needs due to having this condition. Examples of services and additional needs they may require include the following:

  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Specialized equipment
  • Special education
  • Rehabilitation services
  • More frequent doctors visits
  • Pain management

How an Experienced Attorney Can Assist With Your Child’s Case of Cervical Dystonia

Sadly, there is no cure for cervical dystonia, and your child will suffer with this for the rest of their lives. While there are some idiopathic cases of cervical dystonia as well as genetic cases, often times if a baby is born with the condition, it is thought to be due to a birth injury. While it may not be apparent what type of birth injury has occurred, an experienced attorney will be able to review your newborn’s medical records to gather evidence, discuss your child’s case with medical experts, and identify potential witnesses as well as at-fault parties

Cervical Dystonia Due to Medical Malpractice

As mentioned above, that while not all cases of cervical dystonia are due to birth injuries or medical malpractice, infant cervical dystonia is a condition that in some cases could be prevented entirely, meaning that the physician or other healthcare provider breached the standard of care, resulting in the injury. Examples of medical malpractice related causes of cervical dystonia include the following:

  • Excessive force and improper handling during delivery
  • Improper use of extraction tools (i.e. forceps or vacuum extraction)
  • Failure to recognize that there is cephalopelvic disproportion prior to labor and delivery, resulting in shoulder dystocia which can lead to cervical dystocia
  • Failure to recognize that a c-section is indicated due to cephalopelvic disproportion, macrosomia, or other conditions, leading to a birth injury causing the infant cervical dystonia

These are just a few of the many ways that infant cervical dystonia can be caused by medical malpractice. 

Cervical Dystonia Birth Injuries Due to Oregon Medical Malpractice

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or killed as a result of medical malpractice contact the Oregon Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Kuhlman Law at our number below or fill out the intake form.  We offer a free initial case evaluation and handle cases on a contingency fee which means that you pay no money unless we recover.

Our law firm handles cases throughout the state including Bend and Portland Oregon, Redmond, Central Oregon, Sisters, Madras, Multnomah County, Deschutes County, Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, Lane County, Medford, Gresham, La Grande, Albany, Medford, Beaverton, Umatilla, Pendleton,  Cottage Grove, Florence, Oregon City, Springfield, Keizer, Grants Pass, McMinnville, Tualatin, West Linn, Forest Grove, Wilsonville, Newberg, Roseburg, Lake Oswego, Klamath Falls, Happy Valley, Tigard, Ashland, Milwakie, Coos Bay, The Dalles,  St. Helens, Sherwood, Central Point, Canby, Troutdale, Hermiston, Silverton, Hood River, Newport, Prineville, Astoria, Tillamook, Lincoln City, Hillsboro, and Vancouver, Washington.

We also have an office in Minneapolis, Minnesota and take medical malpractice cases throughout the Twin Cities, including St. Paul, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Dakota County, Washington County, Anoka County, Scott County, Blaine, Stillwater, and Saint Paul Minnesota.

For a free case evaluation


(541) 385-1999 in Bend, Oregon
(503) 479-3646 in Portland, Oregon
(612) 444-3374 in Minnesota

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