What are Infantile Spasms, and are They Caused by Birth Injuries?

Understanding Infantile Spasms: A Guide for Parents

Introduction: As joyful as the arrival of a new baby is, it’s essential for parents to stay vigilant about their child’s health. Infantile spasms, a rare but serious form of epilepsy, can be a cause for concern. In this article, we’ll delve into what infantile spasms are, their potential causes, and the importance of seeking legal assistance if they are linked to birth injuries.

Birth Injury

What Are Infantile Spasms?

Infantile spasms, also known as West Syndrome, are a type of seizure disorder that typically manifests in the first year of a child’s life. These seizures are characterized by sudden, repetitive movements and often involve a baby’s arms, legs, or face. Recognizing the signs early on is crucial for prompt medical intervention.

Causes of Infantile Spasms:

  • Birth Injuries:
    • Infantile spasms can be linked to birth injuries, which may occur during labor or delivery. Oxygen deprivation, trauma, or other complications during birth can contribute to the development of this seizure disorder.
  • Genetic Factors:
    • Some cases of infantile spasms may have a genetic component, with certain genetic mutations making a child more susceptible to this condition.
  • Neurological Abnormalities:
    • Structural abnormalities in the brain, which may be present at birth or develop shortly afterward, can contribute to the onset of infantile spasms.

Recognizing the Signs:

Parents should be vigilant and consult a healthcare professional if they observe the following signs in their child:

  • Sudden, jerking movements resembling a startle reflex
  • Stiffening of the body or limbs
  • Repetitive movements, such as nodding or twitching
  • Episodes occurring in clusters, often upon waking

Is it True that Infantile Spasms are Caused by Birth Injuries?

The root cause of infantile spasms may not be clear. There are a number of potential causes, including sclerosis or genetic abnormalities. Some infantile spasms have been linked with brain injuries.

It is worth noting that while genetic abnormalities are outside of anyone’s control, birth injuries may lead directly to sclerosis and head injuries. In some cases, infantile spasms have been linked directly with brain injuries caused by infections. These infections are often preventable, and they may be the result of medical malpractice.

Head injuries are relatively common examples of birth injuries, and these head injuries can lead to numerous negative consequences. One of these potential consequences is infantile spasms.

While many head injuries are caused by impacts to the cranium during birth, others are caused by a lack of oxygen. This can subsequently lead to long-term brain damage, and the child may develop infantile spasms as a result of this damage.

Seeking Legal Assistance:

If your child has been diagnosed with infantile spasms, and you suspect it may be linked to a birth injury, it’s crucial to explore your legal options. Birth injuries that result from medical negligence or malpractice can have lifelong consequences for the child and family.

  • Medical Records Review:
    • A birth injury law firm can help review medical records to determine if there were any deviations from the standard of care during labor and delivery.
  • Expert Consultation:
    • Experienced attorneys may consult with medical experts to establish a connection between the birth injury and the development of infantile spasms.
  • Legal Advocacy:
    • Legal professionals can advocate for families affected by birth injuries, seeking compensation to cover medical expenses, ongoing care, and the emotional toll on the family.

How Do I Prove That My Child’s Infantile Spasms Were Caused by Birth Injuries?

In order to conclusively prove that your child’s infantile spasms are the direct result of birth injuries, you may need to work alongside a qualified, experienced injury attorney. These legal professionals can look into your unique situation in more detail, potentially uncovering evidence of gross medical malpractice.

Note that minor mistakes may not be enough to successfully pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit. The standards are relatively low, meaning that doctors are able to get away with a serious amount of misconduct without experiencing any consequences whatsoever. This is why it is so important to work alongside a Grand Rapids lawyer who has specific experience with medical malpractice cases.

You might also rely on medical expert witnesses to back up your claims. For example, an independent doctor might examine your infant’s unique situation and determine that their infantile injuries are probably the result of a brain injury suffered during birth.

How Much Compensation Can I Get for an Infantile Spasm Lawsuit?

Your compensation depends on your total damages. If the baby’s infantile spasms continue past the age of four, there is a good chance that the issue is permanent – and your compensation should reflect these long-term consequences. If your infantile spasms end earlier, you should still receive compensation for the emotional distress and anxiety associated with these seizures. In addition, you should receive compensation for any medical expenses you have incurred while attempting to treat the infantile spasms.

Find a Qualified Birth Injury Lawyer in Grand Rapids

If you have been searching for a qualified birth injury lawyer in Grand Rapids, look no further than Hoffer & Sheremet, PLC. Over the years, we have helped numerous parents pursue legal action for various birth injuries – including infantile spasms. Ultimately, the medical community may be reluctant to admit that doctors have caused these spasms to occur. For an outside perspective, consider discussing your unique situation alongside a qualified injury attorney. Reach out today to determine the most appropriate course of action.


While infantile spasms are a challenging diagnosis for any family, understanding the potential causes and seeking legal assistance can help provide the necessary support for both the child and their caregivers. If you believe your child’s infantile spasms may be linked to a birth injury, consult with a birth injury law firm to explore your options and secure the best possible future for your child.