Possible treatment options and legal rights for internal bleeding birth injuries
Every parent wishes for their newborn baby to receive optimal care and to live a life devoid of any health concerns.
While modern medicine is far superior now than it was years ago, the risk of birth injuries is relatively high—with nearly 30 percent of them being preventable. Each year, approximately 28,000 babies suffer from long-term birth injuries that could have been avoided. Medical negligence at the hands of doctors, nurses and other medical faculty is often to blame.
During a surgical operation or delivery, all medical practitioners are expected to adhere to “standards of care,” which exist to ensure proper medical attention and protect patients from preventable injury. If you or a loved one’s baby has suffered a preventable birth injury at the hands of an irresponsible doctor, consider taking legal action.
Here at Brown Trial Firm, we provide expert representation to ensure your baby receives the justice they deserve.
Head injuries are a common birth injury
Most common birth injuries are a result of head trauma. During childbirth, a newborn’s head is sensitive to any form of physical trauma. As such, rough and negligent doctors can inflict damage during delivery.
Depending on the amount of force, the inflicted damage can be severe enough to rupture a few blood vessels, causing internal bleeding between the scalp and the baby’s skull. This form of preventable birth injury is known as “cephalohematoma” and is often caused by forceful pressure exertion onto a baby’s head during delivery.
This pressure can come from the repeated compression of the baby’s head against the mother’s pelvis during labor contractions. The other cause of external pressure onto a baby’s head stems from obstetric devices, such as forceps and vacuum extractors during delivery.
Blunt pressure from these devices or pelvis can damage a baby’s fragile periosteum blood vessels and veins, causing blood to accumulate near ligaments connecting the periosteum to the baby’s skull. The more blood collected, the further away the periosteum is pushed, causing a large and distinctive lump on your baby’s forehead.
Differences between cephalohematoma vs. caput succedaneum
Caput succedaneum is similar to cephalohematoma as it involves internal bleeding during childbirth. However, the main difference is where the blood pools are located. Caput succedaneum consists of blood pools beneath the scalp, a few inches away from the periosteum layer.
While the symptoms are nearly identical, caput succedaneum is not as severe as cephalohematoma. It doesn’t involve deep bone or tissue damage within the skull and is only limited to the scalp. Even though caput succedaneum alone isn’t something to worry about, if it doesn’t go away on its own, further complications such as jaundice and possibly infections may arise.
Caput succedaneum and cephalohematoma symptoms
Common symptoms of caput succedaneum include a soft swelling on the top of a baby’s head. The bump lies just beneath the scalp layer and looks puffy. The swelling occurs on the exact spot of the baby’s head that exited the birth canal. You may notice some discoloration or mild bruising but not as severe as in cephalohematoma symptoms.
A newborn baby suffering from cephalohematoma will exhibit the following common symptoms.
- Bulging soft head spots
- Dark bruised area on the baby’s injury site
Other signs of cephalohematoma birth injury include constant high pitch crying, difficulty feeding and varying head diameter and circumference structure. Newborns may exhibit hematoma symptoms immediately after the injury or even after a few days or weeks.
Caput succedaneum and cephalohematoma treatment
Despite its alarming appearance, caput succedaneum is not a severe medical emergency. The swelling will gradually subside after a few days without requiring any particular treatment. Any attempts to alleviate fluid build-up will only put the baby at risk of contracting infections and endanger them further. Left alone, the swelling will disappear and the baby’s condition will significantly improve.
Cephalohematoma can be treated via surgery to help drain excess blood or to extract any large clots within the skin. In extreme cases of completely severed veins, a doctor will be required to tie up any cut veins to prevent excessive internal bleeding. For milder symptoms, a few days of rest is enough to mitigate cephalohematoma.
When is a doctor or medical professional liable for a birth injury?
A doctor can be held directly accountable once you’ve determined medical malpractice is the reason for your baby’s birth injury. By profession, doctors are extensively trained to reduce the risk of infection and infant injury during birth.
During any potential risky situation, the doctor and supporting practitioners should do whatever it takes to help minimize the chances of injury. They should also put your child under constant surveillance while in search of any hematoma symptoms.
If your doctor fails to provide immediate medical intervention at the first signs of hematoma, they can be held accountable for medical negligence. Also, any misuse of medical equipment during vaginal delivery can be deemed as medical malpractice.
What to do if your baby suffered a birth injury
It can be heartbreaking seeing your baby suffer as a result of a preventable birth injury. As a concerned parent, you may need to take legal action in order to acquire financial compensation from those responsible.