San Antonio Birth Injury Lawyers
Cephalohematoma Birth Injury
Newborn cephalohematoma is one of many types of birth injuries that can occur during a difficult labor and delivery. This injury occurs when blood pools between the baby’s scalp and skull. The most common newborn cephalohematoma symptom is a large, soft bulge on the head. While this birth injury may sound (and look) terrifying, it’s actually considered fairly minor by most medical professionals. However, a cephalohematoma can come with potential complications, especially when medical negligence is involved. Below, San Antonio birth injury lawyers at Janicek Law explain the basics of cephalohematomas and whether or not you have grounds to sue for this injury.
If you or your baby have suffered any kind of birth injury due to medical malpractice, it’s crucial that you speak with an experienced lawyer at Janicek Law. We can review the facts of your case, defend your legal rights, and help you determine the best course of action. Call 210-366-4949 to schedule a free consultation today.
What is a Cephalohematoma?
Newborn cephalohematoma is a type of birth injury characterized by a collection of blood under the scalp but on top of the skull. “Cephalo” refers to the baby’s head, and “hematoma” refers to pooled blood from ruptured blood vessels.
Newborn Cephalohematoma Symptoms
The most common symptom of infant cephalohematoma is an obvious collection of blood under the baby’s scalp. This pooled blood may create a large soft bulge on the infant’s head. Other symptoms that may accompany newborn cephalohematomas include:
- Anemia, which means that the baby has low red blood cell count
- Jaundice which is yellowing of the skin
- Head swelling
- Difficulty feeding
- General fussiness and crying
Types of Newborn Hematomas
There are two main types of newborn hematomas, and they include:
- Acute Infant Hematoma develops immediately after birth or very soon after birth.
- Chronic Infant Hematoma develops within several days or weeks after birth.
How Common is Cephalohematoma?
An infant cephalohematoma is one of the most common birth injuries out there. In fact, the Cleveland Clinic claims that a cephalohematoma occurs in approximately 2.5% of stressful vaginal deliveries. The chances of a cephalohematoma occurring is even higher with assisted delivery techniques, such as vacuum extraction. In cases like this, the Cleveland Clinic claims that newborn cephalohematoma occurs in 1 out of every 10 babies delivered like this.
Causes of a Cephalohematoma
Newborn cephalohematomas happen during the birthing process. Labor and delivery is very physically traumatic for both the newborn and the mother. It’s very easy for the baby’s head to sustain so much pressure in the birth canal that it causes delicate blood vessels to rupture. Additionally, it’s common for an infant’s head to hit the mother’s pelvic area during the delivery process.
Newborn Cephalohematoma Risk Factors
A baby’s risk of developing a cephalohematoma is much higher during long, difficult births and/or births involving assisted delivery techniques such as vacuum extraction. Other common risk factors for newborn cephalohematoma include:
- Fetal macrosomia, which is when a baby weighs more than 8 pounds, 13 ounces
- Multiple babies being born at once (twins, triplets, etc.)
- Receiving an epidural for pain relief during childbirth
- Weak uterine contractions
- Abnormal fetal position, such as breech (feet first) or posterior (face up)
Are Newborn Cephalohematomas Permanent?
No, newborn cephalohematoma is not permanent. The condition will gradually resolve, often without much medical treatment, over the course of a few weeks to a few months.
As a cephalohematoma begins to heal, you may notice the soft bulge on the newborn’s scalp become harder. That’s because the blood is beginning to calcify. Slowly, the bulge will shrink as the blood disappears. You may notice that the bulge shrinks first in the middle, leaving hard outside edges. In other words, the bulge may resemble a crater during the healing process.
Can a Newborn Cephalohematoma Affect Brain Development?
Ruptured blood vessels under the baby’s scalp rarely ever affect brain development. In most cases, a chronic or acute infant hematoma on the head doesn’t lead to any major complications. While a large bulge on a baby’s head is upsetting to look at, especially after a difficult birth, rest assured that your baby will likely recover and develop normally.
As previously stated, most babies recover from a cephalohematoma with minimal medical treatment. In very rare cases, the baby’s doctor may decide to drain the pooled blood on the baby’s head.
If the baby develops anemia or jaundice following a newborn cephalohematoma diagnosis, they will likely need prompt medical intervention. Basic anemia treatment involves a blood transfusion in order to raise the amount of red blood cells in the baby’s body. Meanwhile, the treatment for developing newborn jaundice involves light therapy.
Cephalohematoma in and of itself is considered a minor injury during birth. After all, the rupturing of small blood vessels is basically just a bruise. However, this birth injury can come with a wide variety of health complications or the baby, including:
- Skull Fractures: A very difficult and violent birth can result in damage to the baby’s skull bones and cephalohematoma. In fact, the Cleveland Clinic claims that approximately 1 in 4 babies with cephalohematoma also have some sort of skull fracture. While most newborn skull fractures are not incredibly serious, they do require immediate medical attention. In some cases, the skull fracture can put pressure on the baby’s brain, which can lead to bleeding and other long term complications.
- Infection: A newborn cephalohematoma raises a baby’s chance of severe infection. Rarely, babies can develop infections like cellulitis and osteomyelitis (bone infection), both of which can lead to sepsis.
- Major Calcification: A newborn cephalohematoma that doesn’t heal within 5 weeks will likely start to calcify under the newborn’s scalp. Calcifications are basically bone deposits. In rare cases, major calcification can lead to skull deformities which will necessitate corrective surgery in the future.
Can You Sue for a Cephalohematoma Birth Injury?
Any kind of newborn hematoma is considered a fairly minor injury, especially compared to other types of birth injuries. Labor and delivery is physically traumatic for both the mother and baby, so non-life threatening injuries can occur even when doctors do everything right.
However, if you believe that your child’s birth injury occurred due to medical negligence, you may have grounds to file a birth injury lawsuit against the baby’s doctor. For example, if your doctor used a vacuum extractor or forceps when it wasn’t necessary to do so – and the result was an acute or chronic infant hematoma on the head – then they were acting negligently. Additionally, if the birth injury caused major (and possibly fatal) complications, and the doctor failed to provide proper treatment for these complications, you could also file a lawsuit in order to recover financial compensation for your damages.
San Antonio birth injury lawyers at Janicek Law have been helping victims of medical negligence obtain justice for decades. We understand that while a newborn cephalohematoma is not a major injury in and of itself, it’s still upsetting for brand new parents. We also know that without proper testing a treatment, the potential complications associated with any kind of newborn hematoma can easily become a reality.
If you’re interested in filing a medical malpractice claim associated with newborn cephalohematoma, be sure to speak with an experienced lawyer at Janicek Law first. We can carefully review the facts of your case and help you determine the best course of action.
Birth Injury Damages
Even minor birth injuries can be physically, emotionally, and financially devastating. The legal team at Janicek Law understands this. We can help you recover financial compensation for the following damages:
- Past and future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Emotional distress associated with birth trauma
- Physical pain and suffering associated with birth trauma
- Permanent disability (if the baby’s injury leads to lifelong complications)
- Wrongful death (if the baby’s injury leads to fatal complications)
When you hire Janicek Law to handle your case of newborn cephalohematoma, we will help you determine which types of damages you deserve compensation for. We will also help you calculate the exact amount of financial compensation you deserve based on the damages suffered.
Call San Antonio Birth Injury Lawyers at Janicek Law Today
If you or your child suffered physically, emotionally, and financially due to birth trauma, you should speak with an experienced birth injury lawyer at Janicek Law. We will listen to your story, investigate your claim, defend your legal rights, and help you determine whether or not you need to take legal action against the negligent medical professional. Call 210-366-4949 to schedule a free consultation with our legal team today.