In order to know if your baby has torticollis, you will want to look out for the symptoms of this condition and speak with your baby’s doctor about them. The physician may diagnose a baby with torticollis based on the following symptoms:
- An unusual and consistent tilt of the head to one side
- Reluctance to turn the head or move it from this position
- Difficulty breastfeeding on one side because of the head position
- Obvious difficulty turning toward stimuli, such as noises or lights
- Other signs of pain and stiffness in the neck
In some cases, babies with torticollis will develop a flat spot on the head known as positional plagiocephaly from laying in one position. While there are no known statistics on torticollis—sometimes called “wry neck” —Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital calls it “relatively common” in newborns.
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Possible Causes of Torticollis
Torticollis is not always preventable. Sometimes it occurs naturally, because of an unusual birth position or a multiple pregnancy. Both of these situations can prevent the baby from positioning its head normally, possibly forcing the neck into an uncomfortable position during delivery. This is very similar to how sleeping wrong can cause neck pain and a limited range of motion the following day.
In other cases, however, an act of medical negligence can force the baby’s neck into an unusual position. This could include when a doctor uses inappropriate force or poor technique during delivery, particularly when utilizing forceps or a vacuum device.
When a baby receives a torticollis diagnosis, it is generally referred to as congenital torticollis or acquired torticollis, defined as follows:
- Congenital torticollis occurs when the condition is present at birth.
- Acquired torticollis occurs as a result of something that happened after birth, shortly before symptoms developed.
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Diagnosis and Treatment of Torticollis
The only way you can know if your baby has torticollis is to see a trusted physician who can examine your child and offer an accurate diagnosis. To reduce the risk of complications and end your child’s discomfort, you want to seek a diagnosis promptly.
Your child’s doctor should recognize the characteristic head tilt and other symptoms to initiate an exam of your child for diagnosis. In some cases, medical imaging may help to rule out other injuries.
Once your baby receives a diagnosis, physical therapy and other treatments can provide support and pain relief. Surgery may be necessary in some severe cases. Without treatment, your child could develop temporary complications or permanent injuries as a result.
Torticollis and Birth Injury Malpractice Damages
A congenital torticollis diagnosis could support a medical malpractice case in two different ways. First, a doctor or another medical care provider’s medical negligence could have caused an injury during delivery, by:
- Forcing the child’s head into an unnatural position.
- Using forceps or a vacuum device incorrectly or unnecessarily to assist with the birth.
- Using another type of improper birthing technique.
When a doctor misses a torticollis diagnosis or offers an incorrect diagnosis, it can delay treatment and even lead to more serious complications. If your child did not receive a prompt diagnosis, this could support a medical malpractice claim in some situations as well.
To learn if you may have a viable medical malpractice case based on your child’s torticollis, a birth injury attorney in your state can review your case. If it is possible to identify the liable party or parties and hold them responsible, a lawyer may be able to help you build and defend your case.
If you want to seek compensation through a lawsuit based on your child’s torticollis diagnosis, you will need to meet your state’s applicable timeline to do so. Your attorney can explain the deadlines and ensure you meet them with all the necessary evidence and paperwork.
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Get Help Today from the Birth Injury Lawyers Group
You can reach a team member from the Birth Injury Lawyers Group to discuss your possible medical malpractice case for free. We will review your child’s diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, and other facts of your case. If you decide to hire us, we can offer advice about your legal options and begin collecting evidence.
Reaching out to our team may be the first step in holding the at-fault parties liable and recovering money to pay for your child’s care and suffering. Call (800) 222-9529 now to get started.