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 has come a long way and the risk of birth injuries is low, this knowledge does little to comfort you if your baby suffered a birth injury—nearly 30 percent of which are 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 sometimes 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.
How head trauma birth injuries happen
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 labor and 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 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 the mother’s 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.
What is cephalohematoma and caput succedaneum?
There are 2 types of medical conditions commonly associated with damage from delivery forceps, vaccum extractors and the mother’s pelvis. Neither condition is serious or indicates any trauma to the baby’s brain, despite the fact that parents are often concerned by what they see.
These conditions are:
- Cephalohematoma. This refers to a collection of blood between the baby’s scalp and skull, commonly caused by blood vessels that were damaged during labor and delivery. This condition can occur during or after birth, and typically is not serious. An estimated 1 to 2 percent of all babies develop cephalohematoma. Common signs include a soft, irregular bump on the back of a baby’s head. A vast majority of cases heal on their own in a few months or less.
- Caput succedaneum. This is the medical term referring to swelling of the scalp during labor and shortly after delivery. Externally, it may look very similar to cephalohematoma; however, this condition is caused prolonged pressure being exerted on the infant’s head during delivery by a dialated cervix or vaginal walls. Use of forceps and vaccum extractors can also cause caput succedaneum.
Differences between cephalohematoma vs. caput succedaneum
Caput succedaneum is similar to cephalohematoma as both involve unusual bumps or swelling on the newborn’s head. However, the main difference is that lumps caused by bleeding under the scalp is cephalohematoma, whereas lumps caused by scalp swelling due to pressure is known as caput succedaneum.
It’s important to understand that while neither cephalohematoma nor caput succedaneum are serious in a vast majority of cases, they can lead to other complications such as jaundice and infections if not properly handled. For instance, attempting to drain excess fluid from a baby’s scalp can lead to infection, which is why the general recommendation is to allow the condition to clear up on its own.
Caput succedaneum and cephalohematoma symptoms
Common symptoms of caput succedaneum include a soft swelling on the top of a baby’s head. The bump often 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, or more severe discoloration in some cephalohematoma cases.
A newborn baby with cephalohematoma or caput succedaneum may exhibit the following common symptoms:
- Bulging soft head spot
- Puffiness under the skin of the scalp
- Baby’s head is slightly pointed
- Discoloration and bruising
- Anemia (low blood cell count)
Other signs of cephalohematoma or caput succedaneum include constant high pitch crying, difficulty feeding and varying head diameter and circumference structure. Newborns may exhibit symptoms immediately after the injury and up to a few months, but it should naturally go away on its own.
Caput succedaneum and cephalohematoma treatment
Once again, despite its alarming appearance, cephalohematoma and caput succedaneum are not a severe medical emergency. The swelling should 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 should disappear.
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. If your doctor fails to provide immediate medical intervention or puts you baby at further risk by incorrectly treating the signs of cephalohematoma or caput succedaneum, they can be held accountable for any birth injuries that result. Also, any misuse of medical equipment during vaginal delivery can be deemed as medical malpractice, and they may be liable if this results in permanent brain damage.
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.
If you’re looking for an experienced and trustworthy law firm, then look no further than Brown Trial Firm. Book an appointment with Laura Brown, a deeply knowledgeable birth injury lawyer, and you will receive the professional legal representation you and your baby deserve.
- Cerebral Palsy
- Caput Succedaneum and Cephalohematoma
- Neonatal Intracranial Hemorrhage (Childbirth Brain Bleeds)
- Hydrocephalus (Extra Fluid in the Brain Cavity)
- Cervical Dystonia
- Hemiplegia (Brain or Spinal Cord Injury)
- Hemorrhagic Stroke
- Neonatal Stroke
- Periventricular Leukomalacia (PVL) Brain Injury
- Infant Seizures
- Spastic Diplegia (Spasticity in the Legs)
- Top Risks for Birth Injuries
- G-Tubes for Newborns
- Medical Errors
- Cesarean Section & Birth Injury
- Negligence in Brain Cooling Treatment
- Craniosacral Therapy
- Fetal Intolerance to Labor
- Jaundice (Kernicterus)
- Breech Position
- Placental Complications
- Placental Problems
- Umbilical Cord Problems
- Uterine Rupture
- Cervical Incompetence (Insufficiency)
- Blighted Ovum
- Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) - Intestinal Inflammation
- Cephalopelvic Disproportion
- Meconium Aspiration Syndrome
- Amniotic Fluid Embolism
- Birth Injury from Premature Delivery
- Developmental Delays
- Abnormal Cord Insertion
- Infections at Birth
- Chorioamnionitis Bacterial Infection
- Premature birth
- Oxygen Deprivation
- Birth-Acquired Herpes
- Obesity Related Birth Injuries
- Intrauterine Growth Restriction
- Blood Clots During Pregnancy
- Ectopic Pregnancy Misdiagnosis
- Myths & Facts About Birth Injuries
- Bacterial Vaginosis
- Gestational Diabetes
- Maternal Mortality Risk
- Oligohydramnios (Low Amniotic Fluid)
- Infections During Pregnancy