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Athetosis is a motor dysfunction ranging from mild to severe. Athetoid movements include involuntary convoluted, writing movements of the fingers, arms, legs, and neck. Symptoms of this nature are caused by lesions to the brain and are accompanied by the symptoms of cerebral palsy.

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Symptoms and Causes

Athetosis can appear as soon as 18 months of age. First signed of the disease include difficulty feeding, hypotonia, spasm, and involuntary writhing of the digits and face. As the child ages these symptoms typically worsen especially during times of emotional distress. Due to the developmental age during which athetosis occurs, children could also acquire cognitive deficits such as speech impairment, hearing loss, and failure to develop balance while sitting. Current treatments for athetosis are not particularly effective and for the most part are aimed at helping control movement rather than curing the disease itself. Common causes of athetosis involve birthing complications and rarely later in life due to a stroke or other form of trauma.

Social Difficulties

Unfortunately athetosis affects body movement coordination in much the same way cerebral palsy does. Children with this disease often exhibit difficulties with social communication, in association with poor coordination of tongue and mouth muscles. Patients often have trouble engaging in daily activities including eating, walking, dressing, and eventually living on their own. Typically those with athetosis are reluctant to involve themselves in a variety of social activities or romantic relationships. Poor self-esteem and self-image are often reported in relation to their physical limitations and cognitive disabilities.

Legal Assistance

Some cases of athetosis could be related to a difficult birthing process which could have been the fault of the medical professional overseeing the delivery. Cases of medical malpractice and negligence in these types of situations can include misuse of forceps and vacuums, or delay in ordering a cesarean during a particularly difficult labor. These are just a couple of examples of medical malpractice that can occur during delivery. An attorney experienced in medical malpractice claims will be knowledgeable concerning particular circumstances, as well as be up to date on state specific statute of limitations and filing procedures.

Those who feel their child’s athetosis was caused by difficulties or malpractice during labor and delivery are encouraged to contact an attorney specializing in these types of claims. Attorneys in this field of practice can assist their clients in filing their claim in a timely manner, as well as obtaining the necessary evidence and expert testimony.