Subconjunctival hemorrhages are relatively common in newborns and occur because of the pressures the infant endures during the birth process. While they are not always indicative of a preventable birth injury, and they generally pose no harm to the child, they may be a sign that the birth was particularly rough or traumatic.
In some situations, this is preventable, and any injuries the baby suffered may be because the doctor acted carelessly or negligently. There may be additional birth injuries that are much more serious, so the medical care team should perform a full evaluation of the infant.
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Subconjunctival Hemorrhages Can Occur as a Result of the Normal Birth Process or Preventable Circumstances
Sometimes, the birth process is what generally causes subconjunctival hemorrhages. This type of injury can even happen when an older child or adult coughs or sneezes. However, it can also be a sign of unusually rough or traumatic labor and delivery. This could include:
- An extraordinarily long second phase of labor
- An unusually difficult birth
- Cephalo-pelvic disproportion (baby too large for the birth canal)
- High blood pressure
If there were other indications of any of these conditions, or if your child also suffered additional birth injuries, you may want to discuss the circumstances of their birth with a medical malpractice attorney in your state. Many birth injuries that occur because of a long or difficult birth are preventable. Failure to take action on the part of the doctor or hospital staff may be grounds for a medical malpractice birth injury lawsuit.
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Understanding Subconjunctival Hemorrhages, Symptoms, and Treatment
If your newborn suffered a subconjunctival hemorrhage during labor or delivery, you will know as soon as they open their eyes after birth. The only sign or symptom is a bright red area on the white of their eye caused by blood vessels that burst.
The blood is not on the surface of the eye, but instead between the mucous membrane that lines the eye (the conjunctiva) and the white of the eye (the sclera). This means there is no discharge or pain, and it does not affect vision in the eye. The doctor will likely examine the infant’s eye and diagnose the condition with a visual exam.
There is no treatment for a subconjunctival hemorrhage. The blood between the conjunctiva and sclera will slowly reabsorb into the body over the course of a few weeks. The sclera will generally turn yellow, then slowly return to white.
The Prognosis for an Infant with a Subconjunctival Hemorrhage is Excellent
In general, a child who suffers a subconjunctival hemorrhage birth injury will heal on their own with no medical intervention within a few weeks. This injury does not cause any problems with vision and there are no known serious complications, so there is generally no reason to worry if your child has this type of injury.
However, it is important to note that a long or difficult birth, high blood pressure, or other issues that can cause subconjunctival hemorrhage also increase the risk factors for other types of birth injuries. Even if there is no sign of additional injuries at birth, it is critical to monitor your child’s development as they grow and learn to ensure they meet developmental milestones and do not fall behind their same-age peers.
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Birth Injury Lawsuits
Birth injuries are often preventable. If your child endured a long or difficult birth and suffered injuries because of it, your doctor or hospital may be to blame. Many birth injuries occur because of mistakes made by health care providers. You may have a valid birth injury medical malpractice lawsuit if your child suffered injuries because:
- Your doctor failed to monitor your pregnancy adequately.
- Your doctor did not closely monitor labor.
- Your doctor did not call for an emergency cesarean section (C-section) when necessary.
- Your doctor failed to follow proper protocols during labor and delivery.
- Your doctor did not recognize signs of cephalopelvic disproportion or another concern that made vaginal birth difficult.
To learn more about your rights and the laws in your state, you should discuss your case with a medical malpractice attorney who understands what causes subconjunctival hemorrhage and handles birth injury cases near you. They can evaluate the strength of your case and help you pursue compensation if they believe you have a valid birth injury case.
You may be eligible for damages that include:
- Medical care costs
- Ongoing and future care costs
- Out-of-pocket costs related to the injury or treatment
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
Talk to a Birth Injury Attorney in Your State Today
The Birth Injury Lawyers Group can connect you with a birth injury medical malpractice lawyer who will evaluate your case for free today. Call (800) 222-9529 to learn more.