A caput succedaneum is a birth injury that leaves babies with swollen scalps and heads, as well as scalp and facial bruising. When a caput succedaneum injury complicates the birth of your baby, it can lead to additional ongoing complications.
Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at 1-800-222-9529 for a free consultation to help you determine if an obstetrician or other medical provider’s negligence led to your baby’s birth injury.
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Caput Succedaneum Lawsuits & Injury Cases
You may be able to file a lawsuit against the health care professionals who handled your delivery if your baby suffered a caput succedaneum due to negligent action or inaction during your delivery. Were forceps or other vacuum-assisted instruments used incorrectly? Did your doctor fail to inform you of the risks of prolonged labor and delivery or offer other less stressful delivery options?
If your baby’s birth injury was due to a failure to meet the accepted standard of care during your delivery, you deserve recoverable damages. Those damages might include economic damages like current and future medical bills. It may also include noneconomic damages like the loss of quality of life.
A birth injury attorney can help you define the liability of each person named in your lawsuit and meet all applicable deadlines to file your claim.
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Caput Succedaneum Types
A caput succedaneum occurs during vaginal delivery. An infant’s skull is not completely closed and hardened like that of an adult. Instead, it is composed of sections that grow and fuse together as the child grows. When the openings of these sections are under extreme pressure during birth, a buildup of fluid on top of the skull may result.
Caput Succedaneum Causes
Many factors can lead to a caput succedaneum. One of the leading causes is extreme pressure on the baby’s head as the result of a lengthy or difficult delivery. It can also result from forceps or other assistive instruments used during vaginal birth. In some cases, it is caused by prolonged Braxton-Hicks contractions or when the membranes that surround the baby rupture too soon before delivery.
Caput Succedaneum Symptoms
If you suspect your baby has caput succedaneum, they may exhibit one or more of the following symptoms:
- Swelling or bulging under the skin around the scalp
- Bruising on the scalp or face
- An elongated or otherwise odd head shape
- Skull fractures
- Hearing loss
Caput Succedaneum Diagnosis and Treatment
While there is no formal diagnostic test to identify caput succedaneum, a physician can detect the birth injury with a thorough physical exam and assessment.
In most cases, the caput succedaneum might resolve itself in the days and weeks following the infant’s birth. In others, the bruising that results from this birth injury may lead to the onset of jaundice. Jaundice is a breakdown of bilirubin that results in a yellowish tinge to the baby’s skin. Untreated or undiagnosed jaundice can lead to serious medical conditions like hearing loss and brain damage.
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Caput Succedaneum Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Know If My Baby Has Caput Succedaneum?
If your infant suffers from caput succedaneum, you might notice swelling, puffiness, and bruising on their head and face. Your baby may also have an unusually long or oddly shaped head or show signs of jaundice, be difficult to comfort, or require unusually delicate handling.
Can Caput Succedaneum Be Fatal?
Many cases of caput succedaneum resolve on their own two to six weeks after the delivery. In cases where jaundice develops, it can lead to serious injuries, brain damage, and hearing loss if left untreated or undiagnosed.
Who Is Liable For Caput Succedaneum?
Without the right legal help and support, determining who to hold liable for your baby’s birth injury can be difficult. You may have a claim for medical malpractice against the physician who delivered your baby, nurses, midwives, other health care professionals who were in attendance, or even the hospital itself.
What Is The Statute of Limitations For Caput Succedaneum?
The time limit on filing a claim for medical malpractice due to a birth injury varies from state to state. Contact a lawyer familiar with the laws in your state to learn more.
Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at 1-800-222-9529 to connect with a lawyer in your state. Your lawyer will help you understand and meet your time limitations and the merits and potential outcomes of your case.
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Caput Succedaneum Glossary Terms
- What is a Cephalohematoma?
Like a caput succedaneum, a cephalohematoma can also result from the forceps and other delivery tools, as well as the pressure of the pelvic bones on the infant’s skull during delivery. It differs from caput succedaneum in that cephalohematoma consists of blood while caput succedaneum consists of fluid.
- What are Braxton-Hicks Contractions?
Braxton-Hicks contractions are random, intermittent contractions of the uterus that do not result in birth. They typically occur toward the end of a pregnancy and can be difficult for the mother to differentiate from actual contractions that do result in delivery.
- What is a Breech Birth?
A breech birth is one in which the baby fails to turn into the correct position for delivery. In these cases, the baby is delivered feet or buttocks first.
Find A Birth Injury Lawyer Near Me
If you are worried about the injuries your baby experienced as a result of vaginal delivery, we can help. You may be able to recover damages and peace of mind regarding your child’s current and future medical expenses and quality of life. Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today at 1-800-222-9529.
What Is Caput Succedaneum and Cephalohematoma?
Caput succedaneum is a common type of birth injury that involves the infant’s head becoming swollen or bruised due to a prolonged birth or other complications. Most cases occur when children are born head-first and their heads sustain trauma due to pressure from the mother’s uterus, vaginal wall, or other outside influences. A cephalohematoma is characterized by the buildup of blood under the newborn’s scalp. This condition occurs from damage to the child’s blood vessels, causing blood to gradually leak out and pool on top of the child’s skull in the days after birth.
Both conditions are thought to cause relatively minor effects on the child’s overall health. However, they may both result in a higher likelihood of the child developing jaundice, or a yellowing of the skin, which is another common complication with newborns. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 60% of newborns develop some form of jaundice—typically occurring during their first few days of life. When people ask, “What is caput succedaneum and cephalohematoma?” they should realize that jaundice is the main cause for concern, as it can lead to serious health complications for the child if left untreated.
WHY CASES OF CAPUT SUCCEDANEUM AND CEPHALOHEMATOMA HAPPEN
These types of head trauma in newborns generally have the same causes, including a heavy birth weight, abnormally long periods of labor, types of medical negligence, and more. If the attending medical staff allows a mother to go forward with a traditional birth even though the baby is unfit for such an act, they may be liable for cases of caput succedaneum, cephalohematoma, and other birth injuries.
Many cases of these conditions occur when medical staff inappropriately use forceps or vacuum extractors to pull the baby out, resulting in undue damage to the infant’s head. Other causes of caput succedaneum and cephalohematoma that may be negligent can include:
- Allowing the baby to be born head-first even though it may cause complications, either from the baby’s size, position, or the mother’s biological build.
- Failing to birth the baby through a cesarean section (C-section), even though a traditional birth may be dangerous.
- Handling the baby too roughly.
- Not exercising caution after noting potential complications during prenatal exams.
HOW TO KNOW IF A BABY HAS CAPUT SUCCEDANEUM OR CEPHALOHEMATOMA
In cases of caput succedaneum, the infant’s injury will become readily apparent as the head becomes swollen or discolored. However, cephalohematomas may take days to fully take form because the blood will slowly leak out of the damaged vessels.
This will require frequent inspections of the child’s head to properly diagnose the condition. Doctors will need to note the size of the newborn’s head and see if it changes in the days following birth. Most commonly, the symptoms of cephalohematoma include the child’s head being abnormally soft, as well as having raised areas on the scalp.
EFFECTS OF CAPUT SUCCEDANEUM AND CEPHALOHEMATOMA
By themselves, both conditions will likely gradually heal themselves. However, caput succedaneum will usually heal itself much faster than a cephalohematoma, typically only taking a few days to resolve itself. Cephalohematomas may take weeks for the blood to naturally disperse back into the newborn’s head.
The only factor that can seriously affect a child’s wellbeing is if jaundice appears and it is not treated for a prolonged time period. Jaundice can occur from these types of bruising or blood leakage in infants and can subsequently lead to a dangerous type of brain damage if left untreated, called kernicterus. Kernicterus can have life-altering effects on a child, including:
- Intellectual disabilities.
- Loss of vision or hearing.
- Teeth damage.
- Athetoid cerebral palsy.
- And more.
LAWYERS REPRESENTING VICTIMS OF NEGLIGENT CAPUT SUCCEDANEUM AND CEPHALOHEMATOMA CASES
In answering the question, “What is caput succedaneum and cephalohematoma?” you will find that these conditions on their own may not cause harm. Yet babies who develop these conditions may face more serious conditions as a result.
Here at the Birth Injury Lawyers Group, our attorneys are here to fight for victims of medical malpractice so they can continue working towards a full recovery. The truth is that many victims of these conditions should never have been exposed to them in the first place. When medical professionals fail to protect a child, putting them in harm’s way in the process, our firm can represent your case and help you fight to protect your legal rights.
For your free case review, contact the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today at (800) 278-9191.
What Are the Long-Term Effects of Caput Succedaneum?
When considering “What are the long-term effects of caput succedaneum?” it is important to understand that this condition is virtually nothing more than a swelling and bruising of an infant’s scalp. Although cases of caput succedaneum caused by negligent medical professionals need to be taken seriously, the condition itself is not generally the issue.
While the caput succedaneum condition itself is highly unlikely to cause negative long-term effects—aside from minor scarring in rare cases—it can lead to jaundice, which can escalate to much more serious conditions.
CAPUT SUCCEDANEUM AND JAUNDICE
The correlation between caput succedaneum and jaundice begins with the bruise and its subsequent healing process. Infant jaundice is caused by the buildup of a substance called bilirubin in a newborn’s blood, which the child gets from their mother’s liver. It may become more likely to manifest when a large bruise begins to heal. This is because the bruise calls upon large amounts of bilirubin to facilitate the healing process.
The potential for serious long-term effects begins when jaundice goes treated for a significant period of time, which may then lead to an urgent condition known as kernicterus. When high levels of bilirubin gather in a child’s blood, kernicterus can damage the child’s brain. Among its many hazardous side effects are hearing and vision loss, intellectual disabilities, tooth damage, and athetoid cerebral palsy. These conditions may cause irreparable damage to the infant’s body and need to be addressed immediately in a medical setting.
TREATMENTS FOR CAPUT SUCCEDANEUM
Most cases of caput succedaneum will clear up on their own after only a few days. Sufferers from this condition tend to make a full recovery and go on to live perfectly normal lives with all their faculties about them, including a normally shaped head. As the condition manifests as a simple swelling and bruising of the scalp, treatment is little more than allowing the infant’s body to heal itself.
However, given the severe and life-changing conditions that caput succedaneum can lead to, legal action against the parties responsible for the birth injury may provide victims with the opportunity to truly heal after such a needlessly traumatic situation.
HOW TO KNOW IF AN INFANT HAS JAUNDICE
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that around 60% of babies have jaundice. This condition typically begins to show up on the sufferer’s face, before moving to the chest, stomach, arms, and legs. In some cases, the eyes will become visibly yellow. It may be difficult to notice if the infant has a darker complexion. In cases where the child is not visibly yellow, you need to look out for instances in which the child:
- Does not use the bathroom a normal amount.
- Does not want to feed.
- Is unusually irritable.
- The child is demonstrating irregular sleep patterns, either sleeping too much or too little.
- The child has irregular behavior with their eyes.
- The child cries in a very sharp tone.
- The child bends strangely, either to the back or front.
- The child’s body is unusually rigid or loose.
It is important to remember that jaundice is typically not seen as a life-altering condition and it is quite common in infants. It only becomes hazardous when the child’s caretaker does not seek medical attention even though there is clearly something wrong for an extended period. With proper medical care, all aspects of caput succedaneum and jaundice can typically heal. Unfortunately, medical malpractice is the root cause of many cases of caput succedaneum to begin with.
BIRTH INJURY LAWYERS USING THE LAW TO FIGHT MEDICAL MALPRACTICE
When victims have to ask themselves, “What are the long-term effects of caput succedaneum?” they may also wonder who is to blame. In many instances, doctors can prevent this condition by providing proper care and taking steps to prevent complications during the birthing process.
Over the years, the Birth Injury Lawyers Group has seen firsthand that many cases of caput succedaneum occur due to the negligence of the attending physicians during childbirth. These negligent actions may include:
- Pulling on the child with forceps.
- Allowing a traditional birth to continue for too long.
- Not taking proper precautions for complications identified before the birth.
- And more.
Our firm is proud to stand by victims of these acts of negligence and help guide them along their road to compensation. To receive your free case review today, call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at (800) 278-9191.
Is There a Treatment For Caput Succedaneum?
Treatment is not required for caput succedaneum in the majority of cases. The condition should heal itself within a few days, leaving the infant unharmed and allowing them to continue developing normally. If the swelling is abnormally large, a medical team may choose to take measures to stop its progression, such as attempting to drain the area. Yet, this can do more harm than good. It requires the doctor to make an incision on their fragile head, and the infant’s body is likely not prepared to fight off any potential infections that could arise from the procedure.
When parents ask, “Is there a treatment for caput succedaneum?” they may actually want to look into treatments for the subsequent complications it can cause. If caput succedaneum causes a significant bruise on the infant’s head, it may lead to a yellowing of the skin known as jaundice. While jaundice itself is not typically dangerous to the infant, it may lead to more dangerous conditions that can affect the child’s brain and other important bodily functions.
WHY DOES CAPUT SUCCEDANEUM HAPPEN?
Caput succedaneum is almost always caused by pressure on the baby’s head during birth. Usually, this pressure comes from the vaginal walls or uterus. This unnecessary pressure can occur during a difficult birth, which may be the result of medical malpractice on behalf of the attending hospital staff.
For example, if the baby is coming out head-first for a prolonged period of time during the birthing process, the area of the head that is first forced through the pelvic region may become damaged—thereby leading to caput succedaneum and any potential complications that may arise as a result. Hospital staff members should have undergone training to prevent these sorts of complications from occurring, so they may be found liable for ensuing injuries. In the event that the baby’s scalp becomes damaged from a difficult birth that could have been avoided, the victims may pursue legal action against the negligent parties.
Further, damaging the amniotic sac may greatly increase the infant’s chances of getting caput succedaneum. The rough use of forceps on the infant’s head during the delivery may also result in caput succedaneum or other forms of damage to their upper body, including Erb’s palsy and brain damage.
CAN CAPUT SUCCEDANEUM BE LIFE-THREATENING?
Caput succedaneum will not threaten a child’s health on its own. Yet it can lead to jaundice, which may then lead to a type of brain damage known as kernicterus if left untreated for an extended period of time. Kernicterus almost exclusively occurs from a buildup of bilirubin in a child’s body after a long struggle with untreated jaundice.
This is where the real dangers of the condition occur, as kernicterus can cause severe symptoms like hearing loss, problems with vision, learning disabilities, and damage to the sufferer’s teeth. The earlier doctors can diagnose any of these conditions, the better the outlook for the infant’s future may be. Seeking swift treatment for jaundice can take away most of the real dangers.
Treatment for infant jaundice may include subjecting the child to phototherapy under specialized lights that can lower their bilirubin levels. If the condition is severe enough and their bilirubin levels become dangerously high, these babies may need a blood transfusion to help them recover.
CAPUT SUCCEDANEUM LAWYERS READY TO TAKE YOUR CASE
At the Birth Injury Lawyers Group, our team represents victims facing complications due to the negligence of medical staff during the birthing process. Many of these victims should never have to ask, “Is there a treatment for caput succedaneum?” in the first place.
During our time as a law firm, we have seen cases of medical malpractice surrounding this condition and we know how devastating it can be to victims and their families. The financial costs of medical treatment for caput succedaneum complications alone can be overwhelming, not to mention the potentially life-altering effects it can have on a newborn’s health.
We would be happy to hear more about your case today, so we can determine how we may be able to represent you. To learn more, contact the Birth Injury Lawyers Group team at (800) 278-9191 for your free case review.
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