Torticollis is a painful and incurable condition in which neck muscles contract involuntarily, causing the victim’s head to twist or turn to one side, or to uncontrollably tilt forward or backward. Its primary cause is a head, neck or shoulder injury. Some cases of torticollis result from birth injuries that babies suffer during an incorrectly handled delivery.
The doctor and other medical professionals who assist in the delivery are expected to provide an accepted standard of medical care. When their failure to do so causes a birth injury, they may be held liable. A medical malpractice claim for a child with torticollis may seek money to help the child’s family pay for medical and other expenses due to the child’s birth injury, as well as for pain and suffering.
If you believe your child suffered a torticollis injury – also called “spasmodic torticollis” or “cervical dystonia” – because of a medical error, The Abelson Personal Injury Law Firm, can review your claim and discuss your legal options at no charge. Our birth injury lawyer assist families like yours throughout Washington DC, and surrounding areas.
What is Torticollis?
Torticollis is a muscle disorder in which opposing muscles contract simultaneously as if they are competing for control of a body part, the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation says. The victim’s involuntary muscle contractions force the body into repetitive and often twisting movements, as well as awkward, irregular postures.
A cervical dystonia victim’s head may involuntarily twist in a variety of directions, the Mayo Clinic says, including:
- Chin toward shoulder.
- Ear toward shoulder.
- Chin straight up.
- Chin straight down.
Most often, the victim’s chin is pulled toward the shoulder. Some people experience a combination of abnormal head postures. A jerking motion of the head may also occur.
Babies are susceptible to the head, neck and shoulder injuries that cause torticollis. In a condition known as “shoulder dystocia,” the baby’s shoulder becomes stuck against the mother’s pubic bone or tailbone during delivery. If the obstetrician, midwife or other medical provider applies excessive force to the infant’s head or neck, such as by pulling on an arm or shoulder, this can cause an injury.
A common birth injury called “brachial plexus injury,” or BPI, is damage to the network of nerves in the neck and shoulder that control the muscles of the fingers, hands, arms and shoulders. The United Brachial Plexus Network (UBPN) says “torticollis” is a term sometimes used in conjunction with brachial plexus injuries.
Torticollis or cervical dystonia causes chronic pain and disability that can range from mild to severe. In children, dystonia can spread widely across the body. It cannot be cured, but it can be treated with varying degrees of success, according to the Mayo Clinic.
The Dystonia Medical Research Foundation says treatment of dystonia generally consists of several approaches combined:
- Physical therapy, including speech therapy and occupational therapy.
- Complementary therapy, such as exercise regimes, biofeedback or acupuncture.
For some, enduring the disability and pain of cervical dystonia leads to depression.
A baby burdened by torticollis from a birth injury will likely face developmental difficulties and delay, despite undergoing painful medical treatment and therapy. Depending on the severity, the growing child may face physical and social challenges and may ultimately be left out of many activities typical of childhood and youth. This often has an adverse psychological effect.
In addition to money for the costs of dealing with torticollis, the child may be eligible for compensation for the pain and suffering related to torticollis resulting from medical error or negligence during birth.
Discuss Your Child’s Torticollis Case with a Birth Injury Lawyer in Washington
If your child has torticollis, and a medical error or negligence during birth caused the injury, you may be eligible for financial compensation. The Abelson Personal Injury Law Firm, has substantial experience handling birth injury claims, including those that involve torticollis. We can help your child and your family.
Medical malpractice claims for birth injuries like torticollis are usually technical and complex, and require sophisticated analysis of medical reports. This is time-consuming, and malpractice claims also have a statute of limitations (the time limit for filing a case). This is why it is crucial to start work on your case as soon as possible.
We are ready. For a free claim review and initial consultation, call us now or fill out our online contact form.