Florida Torticollis Birth Injury Malpractice Attorneys
Torticollis is a condition where the neck muscles are twisted and cause a baby’s head to tilt in one direction. The face may appear misshapen due to the forehead going in one direction and the chin in another. This condition may be noticed immediately after birth, but in other situations, it may not be noticed until the baby is a few weeks old and begins having more control of its head movement.
There are two types of torticollis. Acquired torticollis is one that develops later in life and is generally not related to a birth injury. Congenital torticollis is present at birth and may be caused by the baby being in an abnormal position in the womb. It also may be due to a preventable birth injury to the neck muscles.
If your child suffers from torticollis due to damage to the neck muscles that occurred during the birthing process, medical negligence may have been a critical factor in the injury. If so, you may be entitled to file a claim for medical malpractice and hold the negligent health care provider(s) liable for the damages the injury has caused.
The experienced Florida birth injury malpractice attorneys at Paul Knopf Bigger can answer the questions you may have and handle some of the challenges you may be facing. We want to help you and will be glad to explain your legal rights, the compensation to which you may be entitled, and how to get justice for your child’s birth injury.
What Problems Does Torticollis Cause?
Birth injuries typically cause problems for both the mother and the baby. Some problems resolve within a short period of time, but some mothers and babies have lifelong medical issues and struggles.
Torticollis due to a birth injury may result in problems for the mother, such as those that occur with the use of forceps or a vacuum extractor, or when the baby is too large for the birth canal or when there are multiple births. Some of those problems are:
- Pain in the perineum, the area between the vagina and the anus
- Genital tears in the lower birth canal
- Damage to the urethra and/or bladder
- Difficulty in urinating or moving the bowels
- Uterine rupture if the uterine wall is torn and the baby or placenta are pushed into the abdominal cavity
- Pelvic organic prolapse, a condition where pelvic organs drop lower into the pelvis.
Problems for the baby might include:
- Limited range of motion of the neck, so the baby cannot turn its head to one side
- A distorted appearance of the face, since the head tilts to one side while the chin tilts to the other
- A pea-shaped lump on the sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle
- An asymmetrical head
- Other musculoskeletal problems, such as hip dysplasia and problems with muscles, bones, and joints in general.
What are the Risk Factors for Torticollis?
It may be difficult to predict torticollis, but there are some risk factors that should put health care practitioners on alert that the baby may be born with torticollis. These risk factors include:
- The baby is large, may not have enough room and may be in a cramped position
- Twins or other multiple births in situations where the babies may be cramped and the muscles and tendons shrink on one side and expand on the other to accommodate the position
- Use of forceps or vacuum extractors during delivery
- Failure to promptly perform a cesarean section when it is discovered the baby is too big for the birth canal.
How Is Torticollis Treated?
Treatment for torticollis depends on many factors, including the severity of the condition and the overall health of the baby. One possible treatment is stretching exercises, including such activities as putting toys out of the baby’s reach so it has to stretch to reach them or holding the baby in a way that necessitates turning its head to look at you.
If non-surgical treatments do not correct the problem, surgery on the sternocleidomastoid muscle may be necessary. Unfortunately, if the problem is not fixed, the child will not be able to turn his head normally and may have permanent muscle tightening and uneven development of the neck and face.
When is a Torticollis Birth Injury Considered Medical Malpractice?
When health care practitioners fail to provide an acceptable standard of care during the birthing process, and that failure results in a birth injury, they may be held liable for medical negligence or malpractice. This may occur relevant to torticollis when there has been a failure to provide appropriate interventions when problems are identified either prior to labor and delivery or during the actual birthing process.
Some examples of medical negligence related to torticollis are:
- Failure to consider the size of the baby in relation to the birth canal
- Failure to consider scheduling a cesarean section or delaying doing a cesarean section delivery
- Improper use of birthing tools, such as forceps or a vacuum extractor
When a child is injured due to medical negligence, Florida law provides for a medical malpractice claim to be filed against the negligent health care practitioner(s) to hold them liable for damages. To do so, you must be able to demonstrate that the following elements are met:
- Duty — The negligent health care practitioner(s) had a duty to provide you and your baby the standard of care accepted by other health care practitioners in a similar field of practice.
- Breach — The health care practitioner(s) breached the duty of care by providing care that fell below the acceptable standard.
- Cause — The health care practitioners’ breach of the duty of care caused harm to your baby.
- Damages — The harm your child suffered due to the medical malpractice caused damages.
If you can prove all four elements were met, you can pursue a medical malpractice claim for damages. Under Florida law, you must bring your medical malpractice claim within a certain period of time after the injury or discovery of medical negligence (typically two years but up to a child’s eighth birthday in cases where you would not have been expected to know medical negligence occurred), so it is important not to delay in contacting an experienced Florida medical malpractice attorney if you suspect medical negligence.
What Compensation Is Available for Victims of Torticollis?
In cases where medical malpractice resulted in birth-injury-related torticollis, Florida law allows you and your baby to take action against the negligent parties to recover financial compensation for both economic and non-economic damages you both suffered. This compensation may include:
- All medical expenses, past, present, and future that are due to the birth injury
- Rehabilitation and therapy costs
- Mental anguish
- Your child’s pain and suffering
- Your pain and suffering watching your child suffer
- Diminished earning capacity your child will experience in the future
- Other damages unique to your situation and recoverable under Florida law
Proving medical malpractice and collecting for your damages can be a complex, arduous process. The experienced Florida medical malpractice attorneys at Paul Knopf Bigger understand how devastating birth injuries can be and want to help you handle some of the difficulties and obtain the compensation you deserve.
Proven and Trusted Florida Torticollis Medical Malpractice Attorneys Can Help
The Paul Knopf Bigger medical malpractice attorneys have the skill, knowledge and experience you need during this difficult time. We are committed to achieving justice and will put our extensive experience and resources to work to win your child’s torticollis medical malpractice claim.
Our Florida medical malpractice attorneys have won numerous multi-million-dollar settlements and awards for families who have suffered due to preventable birth injuries and other medical accidents. In fact, because of our track record of success, other attorneys throughout the U.S. trust us to handle their clients’ complex Florida medical malpractice claims.
If your child was injured due to medical negligence, you too can trust us to provide the outstanding legal representation, top quality personal service and strong commitment to achieving justice you deserve. Submit our Free Case Evaluation form online or call us at 800-673-9585 to discuss your case with an experienced Florida medical malpractice attorney.
- Boston Children’s Hospital. (2005 – 2021). Torticollus/symptoms and causes.
- Stanford Children’s Health. (2021). Congenital muscular torticollus.