Cases of caput succedaneum, swelling in the scalp of a newborn, can be detected through prenatal ultrasound as early as 31 weeks into a pregnancy, according to MedlinePlus. While these early cases may be a result of factors like too little amniotic fluid, it is more often caused by complications during the birthing process itself, such as a prolonged birth or mounting pressure between the infant’s head and the uterine wall. Some cases occur if the child is being forced headfirst through the birth canal. In the event that the amniotic sac has been breached before or during the birthing process, cases of caput succedaneum may be more likely to occur, as the newborn no longer has a layer of natural padding for his or her head.
Further, caput succedaneum may also be caused by potentially dangerous extraction methods, including hospital staff using forceps to grip the head or vacuum suction. If the child is forced out of the womb during a difficult birth, their scalp may be damaged and lead to caput succedaneum. Other cases may be caused by negligence, such as the failure of hospital staff to execute preventative measures that could have otherwise stopped the injury from happening.
Negligence is one of the more serious answers to the question of what causes caput succedaneum, and these cases may qualify as medical malpractice in the eyes of the law. As such, some victims should consider seeking legal action against the parties responsible for their infant’s unnecessary suffering, as well as the suffering of the immediate family. A lawyer can help investigate what occurred and work to expose how the medical staff was liable so the victim’s family can receive compensation they may be entitled to for bills, or for their pain and suffering.
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Does Caput Succedaneum Cause Serious Health Defects?
Caput succedaneum is not a serious health concern by itself. However, the damage to the scalp may lead to serious complications in the long-term. The injury is a bruise to the top of the scalp, which can result in the infant being stricken with jaundice as the wound heals. Jaundice is found in 60 percent of all babies according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the condition may lead to a more serious disorder called kernicterus. This complication is a result of increased amounts of bilirubin in the infant’s blood released during the healing process, which also creates the yellow-colored skin characteristic of jaundice patients. In severe cases, it may result in significant brain damage.
Kernicterus may also cause further complications for the sufferer, including:
- Vision impairments
- Difficulty hearing, including deafness
- Athetoid cerebral palsy, which can limit the infant’s mobility
- Issues with the infant’s oral health
- Developmental disabilities
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What Symptoms of Caput Succedaneum Should Parents be Aware of?
The main sign of caput succedaneum is swelling of the infant’s head, typically in the area that was initially released during the birthing process. Additionally, the condition may cause the affected area to appear malformed or discolored. Due to it being a bruise, the injured area of the infant’s head may appear black, blue, purple, red, or yellow. As most newborn babies appear discolored at birth, it may take several days for the symptoms to be noticed.
While many hospitals do frequent checks on the newborn for conditions such as jaundice before they are released from hospital care, mistakes may happen, and cases of caput succedaneum can go undiagnosed. Sometimes this may be a result of inexperienced workers trying to hide the case to save themselves from facing the consequences of their negligence.
Medical staff may be found liable for negligent actions, such as being too rough with the infant during the birth, or their inability to take action and prevent the ill-advised birth from happening. After reviewing the specifics of your case, a lawyer can help you better understand your legal options in cases of potential malpractice.
Birth Injury Lawyers Fighting for the Victims of Negligent Injuries
While there are multiple potential causes of caput succedaneum, negligence from hospital staff can be a significant contributing factor. The team from the Birth Injury Lawyers Group can work with victims to help pursue compensation they may be entitled to for medical bills, pain and suffering, and more they may need to continue healing after an unnecessary injury.
Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at (800) 222-9529 for a free case review and consultation.