At Zimmet& Zimmet, we represent people with Down Syndrome who have been injured in accidents. People with Down Syndrome are injured in all of the same kinds of accidents that regularly injure the general population.
But some of the issues in lawsuits seeking compensation for injury and medical expenses can be significantly different because people with Down Syndrome express their pain differently than the general population.
In fact, because of the different way people with down syndrome express their pain, according to one study many parents incorrectly believe that their children with Down Syndrome are less sensitive to pain than their siblings. This study concluded that, “Children with Down syndrome will remain dependent on pain assessment by proxy, since self-reporting is not adequate.”
Literature suggests that people with Down Syndrome experience pain, both acute and chronic, with at least the same frequency as the rest of the population. Furthermore, the evidence suggests that although acute pain expression appears to be delayed, once pain is registered, there appears to be a magnified pain response. McGuire & Defrin, Pain Perception in People with Down Syndrome: a Synthesis of Clinical and Experimental Research, Front Behav Neurosci, 2015.
In an effort to help physicians understand how people with Down Syndrome express pain, a study was done to help doctors treat people with down syndrome. The study found that patients with Down Syndrome exhibited longer pain latencies and were less precise in their ability to locate cold stimuli for all sites tested. Despite these differences, the responses given by the patients with Down Syndrome were organized and recognizable and the study’s hypothesis of insensitivity to pain was rejected.
Some people with Down Syndrome are non-verbal. This creates challenges for family members and doctors in accurately evaluating when a person is experiencing pain and its source. The study authors developed a checklist to help doctors and family determine when their patient and family member is experiencing pain. The checklist can be found at:
People with Down Syndrome experience trauma and relive it differently. Dennis McGuire, PhD, with the Global Down Syndrome Foundation, determined that people with Down Syndrome experience traumatic memories intensely. Dr. McGuire has found that when people with Down Syndrome remember trauma, they can relive as if it were happening all over again. A link to one of Dr McGuire’s talks can be found here:
If you have a loved one with Down Syndrome who has been injured in an accident and you want a lawyer who understands, please do not hesitate to contact Zimmet & Zimmet. Our attorneys are experienced representing people with Down Syndrome. Please call us at 386-255-6400 or contact us online today at zimmetzimmet.com.
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