Local mother thankful for community’s help with her son’s cranial helmet

Ezechiel Carreon was born with torticollis and has plagiocephaly

Ezechiel Carreon is now a one-year-old whose future is looking a little brighter thanks to the help of the San Antonio community.

Ezechiel’s mother, Miranda Hernandez told his story back in August. Her son was in desperate need of a cranial helmet, and time was running out.

Ezechiel was born with a condition called torticollis, which The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons describes as a condition where an infant holds their head tilted to one side and has difficulty turning their head to the other side.

Due to Ezechiel’s torticollis, he only lays on the right side of his head. This is causing that part of his skull to become flat. The flatness of his head is known as plagiocephaly.

After telling her son’s story about how the family’s Medicaid insurance would not cover the helmet, donations poured in and Miranda was able to get one for her son. Ezechiel got his helmet on September 18. He will have to wear it for about 14 weeks. During those 14 weeks, he will visit a specialist every three weeks to make sure his skull is forming correctly.

She says she is already noticing a difference.

“It’s crazy because he got like a boost of confidence, his head, his tilt is now doing so much better. It’s just crazy what a little helmet can do to his confidence,” said Hernandez.

Clinical Director of the UT Health San Antonio Cranial Remolding Program, Darren Poidevin says cranial helmets are crucial for infants who need them.

Medicaid said the helmet is a cosmetic, but Poidevin says the American Board of Certification defines the term “cosmetic” as when you take something and beautify it.

“We’re not beautifying something. We’re taking something that’s abnormal and bringing it back into normalcy,” Poidevin said.

Poidevin says a cranial helmet works two ways:

  • Holds onto the areas that are sticking out
  • Build void spaces into the areas where the skull needs to grow into

In the time that Ezechiel had to wait for his helmet, his mother said she was seeing issues.

His ears are becoming lopsided, one eye is beginning to close shut and he will need to get hearing tubes put in.

Hernandez says Ezechiel is a twin, and she was starting to see his sister develop faster than him.

“Seeing him try to be as active as his sister and he can’t, it kind of hurts. It breaks my heart because I know he wants to,” said Hernandez.

Hernandez is not seen by a specialist at UT Health San Antonio, but Poidevin says UTHSA will work with its patients who run into these issues through its Care Credit Program.

The Care Credit Program allows families to finance the helmet over 12 months, with interest deferred.

Poidevin says getting a baby into a cranial helmet when one is needed is crucial.

As babies get older, the brain grows slower and the skull thickens. After 18 months, the skull fuses and a cranial helmet can no longer help.

“Eighty percent of the skull grows in that first year. All this lower part takes about 10 years to develop. We want to get all of this inline, so this follows,” Poidevin said.

Last year, a bill was filed that would have required Medicaid and child health plan program coverage and reimbursement for cranial remolding helmets. The bill passed the House but didn’t pass out of the Senate Committee.

About the Author

Halee Powers is a KSAT producer primarily focused on digital newscasts and events.

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