Infant cephalohematoma is a birth injury that causes blood to accumulate under the scalp. In some cases, cephalohematoma occurs because a doctor or healthcare provider acted negligently during the baby’s delivery.
A lawyer for infant cephalohematoma can help you prove how a doctor’s negligence caused harm to your newborn and hold them liable for your damages. Trust the skilled birth injury lawyers from the Birth Injury Lawyers Group to build your case and take legal action against negligent medical professionals.
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Infant Cephalohematoma Injury Cases
Proving infant cephalohematoma occurred because of medical malpractice can be complicated because the condition may stem from normal stress on an infant’s head during childbirth. To hold a doctor or hospital liable, you must present a strong case showing the injury was preventable. Evidence to prove a cephalohematoma lawsuit includes:
- Testimonies from medical experts
- Relevant medical records
- Witness interviews
- Documentation of damages (such as hospital bills, pay stubs, or receipts)
An infant cephalohematoma birth injury attorney can collect evidence, identify all liable parties, and hold them accountable for their medical negligence.
What Constitutes Cephalohematoma Lawsuits?
In some cases, a cephalohematoma birth injury may support a medical malpractice case. This is especially true if it co-occurs with more severe birth injuries. Often, cephalohematomas are preventable. Many babies born with a cephalohematoma would have had a safer, less traumatic birth if their doctor had called for a cesarean section (C-section) delivery.
In some cases, this type of injury occurs because a doctor uses forceps or a vacuum extractor device. However, cephalohematomas are more likely to occur if they use the device improperly or too early in the delivery process.
If your child suffered a cephalohematoma and other birth injuries, you may want to discuss your case with a birth injury lawyer. A legal expert can help you understand your legal options and take action against liable parties.
Preventing Cephalohematoma Head Trauma During Delivery
In general, a cephalohematoma follows a long or difficult delivery. After a difficult vaginal delivery, cephalohematomas can arise from:
- Large babies (fetal macrosomia)
- Using of forceps and vacuum extraction
- Improper use of birth-assisting devices
- Abnormal fetal presentation
- Weak or ineffective contractions
- Giving birth to multiple infants at once (multiple gestations)
In many cases, cephalohematoma is preventable by performing a C-section or taking action to mitigate any issues the baby may encounter moving through the birth canal. Even if it does become necessary to use forceps or an assistive device, the doctor can reduce the risk of injury by following proper protocols and manufacturer instructions.
Cephalohematoma and Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
Vaginal birth cephalohematomas are preventable. If a doctor closely monitored the pregnancy and labor, they could catch problems like cephalo-pelvic disproportion and order immediate action to prevent the birth injury. It would also prevent the need for vacuum extraction devices and forceps, another common cause of infant cephalohematomas.
To learn if you may have grounds for a cephalohematoma birth injury lawsuit, you need to discuss your case with a medical malpractice lawyer in your state. A qualified attorney can explain:
- Your rights to pursue compensation
- Your legal options
- The strength of your case
- The types of damages you may be able to recover
- Your state’s birth injury laws
- All deadlines that affect your claim
If your injury lawyer believes your doctor acted carelessly to cause or fail to prevent your newborn’s injuries, they can help you pursue a payout in your case. Your attorney can pursue an out-of-court settlement negotiation or file a birth injury cephalohematoma lawsuit on your family’s behalf.
Birth Injury Lawyers Prove Medical Malpractice
Newborn cephalohematoma can result from medical errors and negligence. And when they do, family members can file a civil lawsuit against the responsible doctors and medical staff. To prove negligence in a medical malpractice suit, you must demonstrate that:
- There was a doctor/patient relationship between the defendant and the plaintiff
- The doctor owed the patient reasonable care
- The doctor’s actions breached their duty of care and resulted in the newborn’s injuries
- The infant’s injuries caused actual damages to the family
A qualified lawyer can help you collect evidence to prove how the doctor’s actions resulted in your child’s injuries. They may gather medical records, eyewitness testimonies, and expert statements to strengthen your case and recover compensation from the liable healthcare professionals.
Not every infant cephalohematoma injury constitutes medical malpractice, and a birth injury attorney can help you determine if you have a case.
Damages to Sue for in a Cephalohematoma Birth Injury Claim
You can sue healthcare professionals for two types of compensatory damages: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are reimbursements for financial costs incurred due to your child’s medical injuries. Economic damages you can seek in a malpractice claim include:
- Medical bills
- Future medical expenses (such as surgeries and rehabilitation)
- Disability costs
- Special education
- Lost wages (on behalf of the parents)
Non-economic damages are awarded to victims to help relieve them of physical, emotional, and psychological trauma. Non-economic damages to recover in a medical malpractice claim include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
- Psychological trauma
- Loss of quality of life
You must prove the liable medical professional exhibited negligence that caused your child’s injuries. Despite having a strong case, the hospital, doctor, or insurance company will try to avoid paying you a fair settlement. But a skilled infant cephalohematoma lawyer will demand proper compensation and make sure your family receives justice for your medical losses.
A Thorough Evaluation Is Key to Rule Out Other Birth Injuries
Cephalohematoma is just one type of birth injury that stems from a long or difficult delivery. Therefore, a newborn may endure other severe birth injuries at the same time. For this reason, the doctor must evaluate the baby after birth.
Staff should continue to observe the child to rule out conditions that could be life-threatening during their first day of life. For example, children who suffer a traumatic brain injury and have epilepsy often experience their first seizure during their first 24-hours.
The child’s parents should also pay careful attention to developmental milestones to identify motor or cognitive impairments. While this is unlikely and a cephalohematoma should not cause cognitive delays, it is crucial to diagnose cerebral palsy and other similar conditions as early as possible.
Statute of Limitations for Infant Cephalohematoma
When pursuing an infant cephalohematoma case, you must adhere to your state’s statute of limitations. These deadlines determine how long you have to file a suit against the liable party.
Each state has its own set of laws, which includes the:
- Statute of limitations
- Statute of repose
- Special circumstances for cases involving minors
Your infant cephalohematoma attorney will discuss how quickly you need to take legal action during your initial birth injury consultation.
Infant Cephalohematoma Overview
What causes cephalohematoma to occur in a newborn? Cephalohematoma bleeding occurs in the periosteum of the skull, which is a protective layer over the bone. Since the bleeding occurs between the skull and the skin, the brain is not in jeopardy. However, diagnosis and monitoring are essential because serious complications may occur.
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How Complicated Deliveries Cause Cephalohematoma
Cephalohematoma can occur during child delivery because natural forces of the birthing process are enough to cause cephalohematoma. However, naturally occurring cephalohematoma is rare. In most cases, infant cephalohematoma only happens when there is a long or difficult delivery.
But despite the risk factors, infant cephalohematoma is preventable. 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.
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 apparent and soft to the touch.
While a cephalohematoma is generally harmless, it 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 gets harder. Then, it slowly goes away on its own over several weeks. However, it is essential to monitor the bulge until it completely disappears.
What Is the Prognosis for Infants Born With Cephalohematoma?
In the majority of cases, the prognosis for infants born with cephalohematomas is very good. The clots generally resolve on their own and only require medical observation for a few weeks.
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Cephalohematomas Generally Require No Treatment
While most cephalohematomas do not require significant medical intervention, professional evaluation and close observation are necessary. In most cases, the reabsorbs the blood on its own within several weeks to months.
However, complications are possible. Infants with this type of birth injury need evaluation and observation because there is a risk of co-occurring birth injuries, including traumatic brain injuries and infections that turn into meningitis.
In addition, while rare, the child could develop an abscess. If this occurs, the doctor may need to drain the blood from the child’s head and prescribe antibiotics.
It is not uncommon for a newborn’s skin to show natural signs of bruising following the birthing process. For example, bruises may appear at pressure points during contractions or during the delivery itself. Bruises usually disappear over time, but your baby may have sustained a forceps delivery injury during the delivery.
Sometimes, bruising results from the doctor’s use of forceps to guide the infant out of the birth canal. But this typically only happens in situations when the baby’s safety is in danger and requires immediate action. Forceps delivery injuries include:
- Skull fractures
- Bleeding in the skull
- Temporary facial injuries
Forceps are used during situations of infant stress, such as birth asphyxia. The medical professional must take immediate action to minimize long-term risks to the baby, including permanent brain damage, learning disorders, delayed development, and cerebral palsy.
Establishing Blame for Infant Bruising and Cephalohematoma
Bruising can result from natural childbirth pressures or due to errors or force from the delivery team. In some situations, bruising cannot be avoided.
But when poor judgment or medical errors lead to bruising or a birth injury, your doctor or medical team may be guilty of medical malpractice. In that case, a birth injury lawyer can help you seek damages for infant bruising.
Infant Cephalohematoma Diagnosis and Treatment
While doctors can often diagnose infant cephalohematoma based on the bulge or bruises, they may request additional testing to rule out birth injury complications. A doctor may order diagnostic tests, such as:
- CT scans
- MRI scans
Your doctor will want to monitor their cephalohematoma, but treatment is not necessary unless further complications arise.
For example, if the baby develops anemia, the doctor may perform a blood transfusion. In addition, your newborn may require phototherapy or other treatment if they develop jaundice.
Understanding How Cephalohematoma Occurs
A cephalohematoma is a blood clot between the skull and the membrane covering the skull, known as the periosteum. Like other bruises, this happens because of ruptured blood vessels. However, in a cephalohematoma, the bleeding can be significant and cause a significant bruise visible on the scalp.
What Are the Main Causes of Cephalohematoma?
Cephalohematoma birth injuries occur due to a long or complicated birthing process or when doctors use tools to assist the birth. Any significant birth trauma can rupture blood vessels under the skin on the scalp or head. As such, it is possible the baby suffered other types of birthing trauma in addition to the ruptured blood vessels and cephalohematoma.
Infant Cephalohematoma Frequently Asked Questions
It’s common to have questions about infant cephalohematoma and the different legal actions you can take to recover compensation. If you are unsure if you have a birth injury case, consult with a legal expert from the Birth Injury Lawyers Group. Our legal team can answer your questions about infant cephalohematoma and help you understand your legal options.
How Do I Know if My Baby Has Infant Cephalohematoma?
An abnormal bulge is the most recognizable sign of infant cephalohematoma. If you notice a strange bump or lump on the back of your baby’s skull shortly after birth, bring it to your healthcare provider’s attention.
Is Infant Cephalohematoma Fatal?
Infant cephalohematoma is generally harmless. However, it is vital to get an accurate diagnosis and continue monitoring it. Ignoring cephalohematoma can lead to other medical complications, such as anemia and jaundice.
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 delivery doctor, medical staff, or hospital.
Determining liability for a birth injury can be complex, especially since cephalohematoma can occur naturally. But a skilled attorney can review the facts surrounding your case and help you identify any parties that contributed to your child’s injury.
Infant Cephalohematoma Glossary Terms
Navigating an infant cephalohematoma claim is complex, especially when you are not entirely familiar with the various terms medical and legal professionals use to describe the injury. We have outlined some of the most common cephalohematoma terms below to help you better understand your child’s birth injury.
A subdural hematoma is the buildup of blood in the space around the protective layers of your brain. Blood seeps between the dura (the outermost covering inside the skull) and arachnoid layers (the inside layer of the dura). The blood collects inside the brain’s tough outer lining, and the injury can be life-threatening.
In newborns, subdural hematoma stems from head trauma, lack of oxygen during delivery, or shaken baby syndrome.
Dermal layers are layers of skin, including the epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis. The three layers vary in function and anatomy, and each one is made up of an intricate network of cells. They serve to protect the body from pathogens, chemicals, injuries, and UV light.
The periosteum is a dense and fibrous vascular tissue that wraps around our bones to protect them. The periosteum can contain collagen, nerve fibers, and blood vessels.
The brain contains a layer of periosteum, and it joins the dura mater to shield the brain from trauma. Birth injuries can affect the periosteum and cause damage to the brain.
Infant Cephalohematoma and Hematoma News
Infant cephalohematoma can stem from various reasons, and the responsible party must be held liable for the newborn’s trauma. Below are examples of cephalohematoma cases and how they were resolved.
Father Sentenced to 15 Years for Shaking Baby
While infant hematoma (internal bleeding) can happen during birth, it can also occur due to infant abuse. According to Statesman Journal, a father received a prison sentence for violently shaking and injuring his infant son. Brian Patten was arrested in 2018 and sentenced to 15 years in prison for assaulting his 8-month-old son.
After the baby went to the hospital for spasms, doctors ran an MRI. They found brain bleeding on both sides of the head and retinal hemorrhages in both eyes. Suspecting abuse, the doctors contacted the police and reported someone may have violently shaken the infant.
Doctors had to perform surgery on the skull to reduce blood pressure around the brain. Later, the child was diagnosed with a deadly epileptic disease called West Syndrome. At the time, Patten and his wife said that their son’s premature birth caused the injuries at 32 weeks. However, the father admitted later to shaking the infant on two separate occasions.
Man Sentenced to 27 Years for Giving His Daughter a Fatal Hematoma
A hematoma forms when blood vessels beneath the skin are damaged and leak, causing blood pools and bruises. The internal bleeding can be fatal, depending on the involved blood vessels. Hematomas can occur during a traumatic birth. However, since the baby’s skull is still forming after birth, they can fall victim to hematomas after delivery.
An example of this is Jose Orellana-Ruiz killing his three-month-old daughter by causing her to suffer a hematoma. In 2017, he woke his family because the infant was unconscious. She died three days later from a skull fracture and a subdural hematoma, a hematoma located near the brain. There was also bruising to the face.
When investigators questioned Orellana-Ruiz, he told them that she fell. Later, he admitted throwing the baby against her headboard and throwing bottles at her face to stop her from crying. Orellana-Ruiz pled guilty to the charges and was arrested, tried, and is serving 27 years in prison.
Father Convicted After His Abuse Kills His Infant Son
A hematoma is a pocket of internal bleeding usually caused by trauma. Hematomas in babies are signs of abuse or birth injuries. Therefore, healthcare workers may call the police to investigate. This is what happened to one man in Wisconsin, who now faces 11 years in prison for his connection with his infant’s son’s death.
In 2015, EMS was called in response to Troy Tralmer’s three-month-old child not breathing. Doctors discovered the child had a skull fracture, retinal hemorrhage, broken ribs, and subdural hematoma. Soon after the call to EMS, the child died. Further investigation by police found the mother took the child to a doctor a month prior because he was unusually sleepy.
Tralmer said the baby fell from the back seat onto the floorboard, but doctors said there wasn’t enough force to cause severe damage. Then he said he was trying to give the child the Heimlich maneuver on his thigh and dropped him. Then Tralmer’s ex came forward and claimed that he had abused her daughter in the past. Tralmer was convicted of felony child neglect.
Father Pleads Guilty to Injuring Child by Putting Him Down Too Hard
According to The Newark Advocate, a father received prison time for causing his infant son’s head injuries. Medical staff called local law enforcement to visit the hospital after finding intentional subdural hematoma and retinal hemorrhages on an infant.
At the time, the father was caring for the baby and became 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 showing signs of breathing difficulties. However, when EMS arrived, they said everything was fine and did not take the baby to the hospital.
Since the father admitted to the injuries, he received a three-year prison sentence. There are also charges against the mother, but they were later dropped. The full extent of the child’s hematoma injuries is unknown because he is so young, but there is a possibility that he is now blind.
Talk to a Cephalohematoma Birth Injury Attorney Near You
Any type of birth injury is scary and can lead to life-long disabilities for your child. However, if your newborn suffered injuries that included a cephalohematoma, you may be able to hold the medical staff responsible. And an infant cephalohematoma attorney from The Birth Injury Lawyers Group can help.
To connect with a birth injury lawyer in your state who is familiar with cephalohematomas and taking on this type of medical malpractice case, reach out to our legal team. We can provide a free consultation to review your case and determine what steps to take next.