Torticollis, sometimes referred to as “wry neck,” can occur naturally in the womb. This is most common with twins and breech births when the baby’s neck is forced into an unusual position. However, it can also occur because of birth trauma caused by a negligent, inexpert, or inappropriate action from a doctor or other medical care provider.
If your infant has torticollis and you believe a preventable birth injury may be to blame, you may be eligible to pursue damages. Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at 1-800-222-9529 to connect with a birth injury attorney in your state.
Infant Torticollis Lawsuits & Injury Cases
To prove medical malpractice caused your infant’s torticollis, you will need evidence to prove:
- The doctor had a duty to provide an acceptable standard of care;
- The doctor failed to provide this standard of care, often by not following best practices or protocols and committing medical negligence; and
- This negligence caused your child to suffer preventable injuries, in this case, torticollis.
While the medical records pertaining to your delivery and your baby’s neonatal records will provide some of this evidence, most medical malpractice cases rely on medical expert testimony to prove negligence. Your attorney can identify a doctor who will testify on your behalf. Some states even require this before you can file a torticollis birth injury lawsuit. This expert witness will:
- Review the facts of your case and determine if your doctor acted negligently
- Explain the acceptable standard of care based on the facts of your case
- Explain how the doctor’s negligence affected your baby and talk about the necessary treatment and prognosis
While torticollis does not usually leave any lasting impairments, your infant may need additional medical care and therapy. In some cases, surgery is necessary. The damages you may be able to recover in a birth injury medical malpractice case can cover these care costs, as well as other damages such as:
- Out-of-pocket costs
- Pain and suffering damages
- Emotional distress
Reach out to us today to talk to an attorney about your case. You may only have a limited time to file a lawsuit and hold the doctor or hospital liable.
Infant Torticollis Types
Two types of torticollis exist:
- Congenital torticollis, which is present at birth or occurs during birth or immediately after
- Acquired torticollis, which occurs after birth
Infant Torticollis Causes
Abnormal positioning, often breech position, can cause torticollis in the womb. However, birth injuries can also cause this condition. When a negligent doctor causes torticollis, it is usually through:
- Forcing the head into an unnatural position
- Incorrect or inappropriate use of forceps or a vacuum device
- Another improper delivery technique
Treating torticollis relies on a quick and accurate diagnosis. If a doctor does not diagnose the condition, this could also support a medical malpractice lawsuit. By identifying torticollis early and beginning treatment, it is possible to avoid most permanent injuries and reduce the need for surgery.
Infant Torticollis Symptoms
Infants with torticollis tilt their head to one side, pointing their chin to the opposite shoulder. They hold this position almost constantly and will likely refuse to turn their head the other way. This position is indicative of torticollis and often easy to recognize when you know what to look for. The newborn may also have trouble breastfeeding from one breast because it is uncomfortable to turn their head in that direction.
Some infants with torticollis develop plagiocephaly, a condition where their head is flat on one side. This occurs because they cannot turn their head completely the opposite way because of the pain and stiffness in their neck.
Infant Torticollis Diagnosis and Treatment
Infant torticollis is diagnosable by the exam and does not usually require any medical imaging to diagnose. Treatment, according to Cleveland Clinic, usually centers on learning how to position your baby and helping them relax and stretch their neck. In more severe cases, the doctor may prescribe physical therapy.
If the symptoms of torticollis do not get better, and the baby’s range of motion does not improve with physical therapy, medication or muscle relaxing surgery may be necessary.
Infant Torticollis Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if my baby has Infant Torticollis?
If your infant seems reluctant to turn their head or if you have trouble feeding on one side because your baby cannot seem to completely turn their head toward you, discuss the possibility of torticollis with a trusted doctor.
Can Infant Torticollis be fatal?
Torticollis is not fatal. This condition that causes a stiff neck usually gets better on its own with help from stretching, position changes, and other physical therapy exercises.
Who is liable for Infant Torticollis?
If you can show the doctor or another health care practitioner acted negligently, you may be able to hold the doctor or hospital liable for your child’s torticollis.
What is the statute of limitations for Infant Torticollis?
There is not a universal deadline for filing a torticollis birth injury case. Instead, each state sets its own deadlines for all medical malpractice cases. They may also have rules such as tolling for minors and a statute of repose that affect how long you have to act. The best way to learn about the statute of limitations that applies in your case is to discuss it with a birth injury attorney from your state.
Infant Torticollis Glossary Terms
- What is Plagiocephaly? Plagiocephaly is a common condition in infants where they develop a flat spot or another asymmetry on their head or face. It is easily treatable.
- What is Congenital Torticollis? Congenital torticollis is present at birth or in the first weeks following birth.
- What is Acquired Torticollis? Acquired torticollis occurs later in infancy or later in life, after the neonatal period.
Talk to a Birth Injury Lawyer in Your State About Your Infant Torticollis Case
If your newborn suffered from infant torticollis and you believe a birth injury was to blame, or if the doctor failed to recognize and diagnose your newborn’s torticollis, you may have a viable medical malpractice case. Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at 1-800-222-9529 to connect with a birth injury attorney near you.