Infant cephalohematoma occurs when a birth injury causes bleeding beneath the skin above the skull but under the skin on a newborn baby’s head. While infant cephalohematoma is relatively benign, it can cause complications for your baby. Some cases of cephalohematoma occur because a doctor or other care provider acted negligently. If you can prove this happened to your newborn, you can hold the doctor or hospital liable.
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Infant Cephalohematoma Lawsuits and Injury Cases
Proving infant cephalohematoma occurred because of medical malpractice can be difficult, because the condition may occur because of the regular stress on an infant’s head during childbirth. To hold a doctor or hospital liable, you must have a strong case showing the injury was preventable and that the doctor and other care providers failed to do so. Evidence in this type of case may include:
- Testimony from a medical expert witness about the acceptable standard of care and proper protocols based on the facts of your case.
- Any relevant medical records.
- Interviews with witnesses.
- Documentation to prove your recoverable damages.
Your infant cephalohematoma birth injury attorney can collect evidence, identify the liable party or parties, and represent you throughout the process.
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Infant Cephalohematoma Overview
A cephalohematoma is a type of bleeding that occurs into the periosteum of the skull. This is a protective layer over the bone. Because this bleeding occurs between the skull and the skin, the brain is not in jeopardy. However, diagnosis and monitoring are important because serious complications may occur.
Infant Cephalohematoma Causes
Cephalohematoma is possible in almost any birth. The natural forces of the birth process are enough to cause cephalohematoma. This is rare, though. In most cases, infant cephalohematoma only occurs if there is a long or difficult delivery. Other factors that increase the risk of cephalohematoma include:
- Large babies
- Cephalopelvic disproportion
- Use of forceps and vacuum extraction
- Improper use of birth-assisting devices
Infant cephalohematoma may be preventable in many cases. For example, a doctor should be able to recognize cephalopelvic disproportion—a baby too large for the mother’s birth canal—and perform a cesarean section (C-section) instead. Following the proper procedures and acceptable use of forceps and vacuum extraction during vaginal delivery can also reduce the risk.
Infant Cephalohematoma Symptoms
In most cases, doctors can diagnose infant cephalohematoma by the bulge on the back of the baby’s head. This bulge is usually obvious and is, at first, soft to the touch.
While a cephalohematoma is generally harmless, they can cause and contribute to several serious complications. These include:
- Infection, especially if drained
As time passes, the blood will calcify under the skin, and the bulge will harden. Then, it will slowly go away on its own over several weeks. You will need to monitor it until it disappears.
Infant Cephalohematoma Diagnosis and Treatment
While doctors can often diagnose an infant cephalohematoma based on looking at the bulge, they often request additional testing to rule out complications or other, more serious, causes. This usually revolves around medical imaging such as X-ray, ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI scan.
Your infant’s doctor will likely want to monitor their cephalohematoma, but no treatment is necessary. If the baby develops anemia, the doctor may perform a blood transfusion. Your newborn may require phototherapy or other treatment if they develop jaundice.
Infant Cephalohematoma Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Know If My Baby Has Infant Cephalohematoma?
If you notice a strange bulge on the back of your baby’s skull shortly after birth, you may want to bring it to the attention of one of your care providers. This is the most recognizable sign of infant cephalohematoma.
Can Infant Cephalohematoma Be Fatal?
Infant cephalohematoma is generally harmless. However, it is important to get an accurate diagnosis and continue monitoring it. Infant cephalohematoma can cause serious but treatable conditions like anemia and jaundice. In addition, a more significant health concern might, at first, appear to be a cephalohematoma. By confirming the diagnosis, you can rule out another condition.
Who Is Liable for Infant Cephalohematoma?
Depending on the facts of your newborn’s birth injury case, you may be able to pursue damages in a claim or lawsuit against the doctor who delivered him or the hospital where he was born. As a part of preparing your case for legal action, your attorney will identify all potentially liable parties.
What Is the Statute of limitations for Infant Cephalohematoma?
There are likely deadlines for how long you have to file a lawsuit based on your newborn’s infant cephalohematoma, but exactly how long you have depends on where you live. Each state sets its own laws, including the statute of limitations, the statute of repose, and special rules for cases where the victim was a minor. Your attorney will discuss how quickly you need to take legal action during your initial consultation.
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Infant Cephalohematoma Glossary Terms
- What is a Subdural Hematoma? A subdural hematoma is a build-up of blood between the dura that covers and protects the brain and the brain itself. Subdural hematomas can be very serious and require emergency medical care.
- What are Dermal layers? Dermal layers are the layers of skin, including the epidermis and dermis.
- What is Periosteum? Periosteum is a type of vascular tissue that wraps around most bones throughout the body, providing some level of protection. Cephalohematoma occurs between the skull and its periosteum.
Talk to an Infant Cephalohematoma Birth Injury Lawyer
If your newborn suffered birth injuries that included a cephalohematoma, you may be eligible to hold the doctor or hospital liable. Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today at 1-800-222-9529 to connect with an attorney in your state familiar with this type of birth injury case.
Your attorney will offer a no-cost case review and will handle your case with no out-of-pocket expenses. Attorneys with the Birth Injury Lawyers Group do not get paid unless they recover damages for you.
Infant Cephalohematoma and Hematoma News
Father Sentenced To 15 Years For Shaking Baby
While infant hematomas (internal bleeding) can happen during birth, they can also happen when an infant is injured or abused. Statesman Journal reported on a tragic case where this happened.
Brian Patten was arrested in 2018 for assaulting his 8-month-old son. He’s now been sentenced to 15 years in prison.
The baby was taken to the hospital for spasms. Doctors ran an MRI on the child and found brain bleeding on both sides of the head and retinal hemorrhages in both eyes. Suspecting abuse, the doctors contacted the police and said that the baby may have been shaken.
Doctors had to perform surgery on the skull to relieve pressure on the brain from the blood. Later, the child was diagnosed with an epileptic disease called West syndrome that usually kills a child by the time they are five. However, it is unknown if the shaking caused this illness.
At the time, Patten and his wife said that the injuries were caused by their son’s premature birth at 32 weeks. However, the father admitted later to shaking the infant on two separate occasions. His descriptions of what he did matched what the doctors said could have caused the injuries.
Patten showed remorse at the sentencing. He has had previous run-ins with the law, both as a juvenile and as an adult.
Man Sentenced To 27 Years For Giving His Daughter A Fatal Hematoma
A hematoma happens when blood escapes a blood vessel and collects inside the body in a clot. It’s a type of internal bleeding that can be fatal, depending on the vessel and the location. Infants can receive these during traumatic birth or through negligent medical practices. However, many infant hematomas are due to injury after birth.
One tragic example comes from yourvalley.net where a father was sentenced for killing his three-month-old daughter. Jose Orellana-Ruiz will serve time in Arizona for second-degree murder.
In 2017, he asked his daughter’s mother to bring the child for a visit overnight. During that night, he woke his family because the infant was unconscious. She died three days later from a skull fracture and a subdural hematoma, which is a hematoma located near the brain. There was also bruising to the face.
When investigators questioned the father, he told them that she fell while he was holding them. Later, he admitted that due to the baby’s crying he threw her against a headboard, then threw baby bottles at her face.
Orellana-Ruiz pled guilty to the charges. He was arrested, tried, and will now serve 27 years in prison.
An infant’s skull is still forming even after birth. That’s why they have a soft spot on their head. It puts the brain at risk for injury from things like hematomas. This is why you should never allow your baby’s head to strike something. Sadly, in this case, deliberate harm lead to a baby’s death.
Father Convicted After His Abuse Kills His Infant Son
A hematoma is a pocket of internal bleeding usually caused by trauma. When these are discovered in babies, it’s a serious condition, not just for the injury itself but because it can be a sign of abuse or birth injury. Police can be called in to investigate, as what happened to one man in Wisconsin who now faces years in prison.
Troy Tralmer has been convicted of felony neglect of a child, and had a charge of first-degree reckless homicide dismissed, as part of a plea deal. In 2015, EMS was called in response to his three-month-old child not breathing.
Doctors found that the child had a skull fracture, retinal hemorrhage, and subdural hematoma. Further investigation by police found the mother took the child to a doctor a month prior because he was unusually sleepy. Tralmer said at first that the baby had fallen from the back seat onto the floorboard, but doctors said that wasn’t enough force to cause that kind of damage. Then he said he was trying to give the child the Heimlich maneuver on his thigh and dropped him.
Soon after the call to EMS, the child died. An autopsy found multiple broken ribs. Then Tralmer’s ex came forward and claimed that he had abused her daughter in the past.
Father Pleads Guilty To Injuring Child By Putting Him Down Too Hard
The Newark Advocate reported on a father who was sentenced to prison after he admitted to injuring his infant son. He has pled guilty to endangering children and felonious assault.
The prosecutors say that the Licking County Sheriff’s Office was called to the hospital after doctors examined an injured two-month-old. Doctors said the child had a subdural hematoma and retinal hemorrhages that were not accidental.
The father was taking care of the baby and admitted that he was frustrated by the baby’s crying. He told the court that he put the baby down harder than he should have. He then immediately called 911 when the infant started breathing incorrectly.
The court also made a comment about the EMS treatment that the baby received. Responders came to the house after the 911 call and left without taking the baby to the hospital. They said that everything was fine.
However, since the father admitted to the injuries, he was sentenced to at least three years of prison. Charges against the mother were filed earlier this year but were later dropped.
The full extent of the child’s injuries is unknown because he is so young, but there is a possibility that he is now blind.