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.
It is not uncommon for a newborn’s skin to show some natural signs from the birthing process. Bruises, for example, may appear at pressure points during contractions or during the delivery itself. Sometimes, bruising results from the doctor’s use of forceps to guide the infant out of the birth canal—typically in situations when the baby’s safety is in danger and necessitates immediate action.
These instruments can cause bruising under the skin, within muscle tissue, and affecting bones. Bruises usually disappear over time, but it is possible that your baby has sustained a forceps injury, including a skull fracture, bleeding in the skull, seizures, or temporary facial injuries. You should also be concerned about why the forceps were used.
Forceps are sometimes used during situations of infant stress, such as asphyxia. The medical professional must take immediate action to minimize long-term risks to the baby, which could include permanent brain damage, learning disorders, delayed development, and cerebral palsy. Some asphyxia cases result in death.
ESTABLISHING BLAME FOR INFANT BRUISING
Bruising, therefore, can result in a natural product of the pressures of childbirth or by actions taken by medical doctors or the delivery team. In some cases, this bruising cannot be avoided, but when the poor judgment or medical errors lead to bruising and/or birth injury, your doctor or medical team may be guilty of medical malpractice, and you may want to seek the help of a birth injury lawyer for infant bruising.
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.
What Is The Prognosis For Infants Born With Cephalohematomas?
In the great majority of cases, the prognosis for infants born with cephalohematomas is very good. These clots generally resolve on their own with only observation after several weeks or months.
Infants with this type of birth injury need evaluation and observation because there is a risk of co-occurring, more serious birth injuries. In addition, serious infections are possible under some circumstances.
Cephalohematomas Generally Require No Treatment
While most cephalohematomas go away on their own and do not require any significant medical intervention, a full evaluation and close observation are necessary. Because of the nature of this type of birth injury, other injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, could co-occur. In addition, because of bleeding, anemia, jaundice, and other conditions are possible.
Rarely, a cephalohematoma can become infected. Without proper treatment, this type of infection could lead to meningitis.
A cephalohematoma is a type of blood clot that occurs between the skull and the membrane that covers the skull, known as the periosteum. Like other bruises, this happens because of ruptured blood vessels. In a cephalohematoma, the bleeding can be significant in some cases, and the child may have a very large bruise visible on their scalp or head soon after birth.
A cephalohematoma is a birth injury that can occur as a result of a long or difficult birth, or when doctors use tools to assist the birth. As such, it is possible the baby suffered other types of birth trauma in addition to the ruptured blood vessels and cephalohematoma.
In some cases, a cephalohematoma birth injury may support a medical malpractice case. This is especially true if it co-occurs with more serious 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 because of their size.
In some cases, this type of injury can also occur because a doctor uses forceps or a vacuum extractor device. This is 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 in your state who is familiar with the prognosis for infants born with cephalohematomas and handles medical malpractice cases.
What Are The Main Causes Of Cephalohematoma?
Cephalohematomas in newborns are generally the result of a long or difficult labor and delivery. A cephalohematoma is a clot of blood that occurs between the skull and the thin membrane that covers the skull, so they do not affect the brain. However, they can co-occur with other birth injuries or occur on their own.
One of the main causes for cephalohematoma really any type of birth trauma that is significant enough to rupture blood vessels under the skin on the scalp or head. The prognosis for infants born with a cephalohematoma is very good, although complications are possible.
Cephalohematoma Is a Result of Head Trauma in an Infant
In general, a cephalohematoma follows a long or difficult delivery. While there are numerous causative factors when it comes to difficult vaginal deliveries, some of the most common include:
- Cephalo-pelvic disproportion
- A baby who is large for their gestational age
- Abnormal fetal presentation
- Twins or other multiple births
- Use of forceps or vacuum extractors, or improper use of these tools
In many cases, cephalohematoma is preventable by performing a cesarean section (C-section) delivery or taking other actions to mitigate the issues the baby may encounter moving from the uterus through the birth canal. Even if it does become necessary to use forceps or another type of assistive device, the doctor can reduce the risk of injury by following all proper protocols and manufacturer’s instructions.
Most Cephalohematomas Heal on Their Own
In most cases, a cephalohematoma does not require any medical intervention beyond evaluation and observation. The body will usually reabsorb the blood on its own in several weeks to months. Some complications are possible, though. The infant can develop anemia, jaundice, or other blood-related conditions and may require treatment.
In addition, while rare, the child could develop an infection, and an abscess could form. If this occurs, the doctor may need to drain the blood from the child’s head and prescribe antibiotics to prevent meningitis or another serious infection.
A Thorough Evaluation Is Key to Rule Out Other Birth Injuries
Because cephalohematoma is just one type of birth injury that occurs because of a long or difficult delivery, a baby may suffer other, more serious birth injuries at the same time. For this reason, it is imperative that the doctor 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. Children who suffer a traumatic brain injury and have epilepsy as a result often have their first seizure during this period.
The child’s parents should also pay careful attention to developmental milestones to ensure they identify any motor or cognitive impairments as early as possible. While this is unlikely and a cephalohematoma does not indicate any injury to the brain, it is important to diagnose cerebral palsy and other similar conditions as early as possible.
In some cases, a cephalohematoma may support a birth injury lawsuit. In many cases, cephalohematomas suffered during a long, difficult vaginal birth are preventable. If a doctor monitors the pregnancy and labor as closely as they should, they can catch problems like an unusual presentation or cephalo-pelvic disproportion and order a c-section instead.
This also allows them to avoid forceps or a vacuum extraction device, which is another common cause of 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. They can explain:
- Your rights to pursue compensation
- Your options for taking legal action
- The strength of your case
- The types of damages you may be able to recover
- The laws that apply to birth injury cases in your state
- Any deadline that could affect your case
If they believe you have a strong case to prove your doctor acted carelessly or negligently, causing or failing to prevent your child’s injuries, they can help you pursue a payout in your case. This could come as a result of an out-of-court settlement negotiation, or they may file a birth injury cephalohematoma lawsuit on your family’s behalf.
Talk to a Cephalohematoma Birth Injury Attorney Near You
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 the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today. Call (800) 222-9529 to get started.
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.