Unexplained bruising can be a sign of cancer in infants, children, and adults alike. Excessive bruising and bleeding from small injuries may be a sign of leukemia, a type of blood cancer.
However, acute leukemia is rare in infants, so another explanation is more likely. In the United States, there are only about 160 cases of infant leukemia diagnosed each year, according to Hematology, the journal of the American Society of Hematology. This equates to about 41 cases per million newborns.
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Leukemia and Other Serious Conditions Can Cause Unexplained Bruising
Unexplained bruising can be a sign of cancer, or it could indicate another concern with the child’s blood. While infants and children with leukemia may experience a number of blood-related symptoms, other conditions can cause similar signs.
A baby or child with leukemia might:
- Have unexplained or excessive bruises.
- Bruise from impacts that would not leave a bruise on most children.
- Have nosebleeds.
- Bleed excessively from a minor injury, such as a heel stick at the doctor.
- Have petechiae, tiny broken blood vessels that appear as red spots, unrelated to birth.
All of these signs could also indicate a problem with the child’s platelets or clotting. Inherited and congenital conditions that affect the body’s ability to make platelets or clot blood could be to blame instead of cancer. This includes hemophilia and other blood clotting disorders.
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Unexplained Bruising Is “Extremely Rare” in Young Babies
Bruising is one of the most common birth-related injuries. Many babies are born with bruises, especially on their head, neck, and shoulders. Excessive or serious bruising may be a sign of a complicated birth, and the baby should undergo screening for additional birth injuries. This is especially true if the baby underwent a forceps or vacuum delivery.
Even when a baby has extensive bruising from birth, this usually resolves on its own within a few weeks. After these bruises clear, most babies do not experience additional unexplained bruising. Babies who are too young to crawl generally do not develop bruises their parents are not expecting.
In fact, bruising unrelated to labor and delivery is “extremely rare” in babies under six months old, according to a study published in JAMA Pediatrics. Of almost 400 patients, researchers recorded bruises on only 0.6 percent of participants.
Even if your baby does have unexplained bruising, he or she is most likely well and just bumped into something you do not remember. However, it is important to discuss unexplained bruises with your child’s pediatrician, especially if they occur frequently.
A Missed Diagnosis or Misdiagnosis May Support a Birth Injury Case
If your baby’s doctor missed signs of leukemia, hemophilia, or another serious blood disorder, or otherwise failed to provide an adequate standard of care for your baby, you may have a birth injury case against the doctor, hospital, or clinic. A birth injury lawyer can help you with your case by:
- Assigning liability.
- Compiling the relevant medical records.
- Enlisting help from a medical witness to perform an expert review of your child’s records.
- Navigating the claims process or filing a lawsuit.
- Negotiating a settlement, when possible.
- Representing you in court, if necessary.
This process could allow you to recover current and future damages related to your child’s birth injury, including:
- Medical care and treatment costs.
- Ongoing care and support costs.
- Time you took away from work to care for your child.
- Out-of-pocket expenses.
- Pain and suffering damages.
Each state has its own rules for filing a claim, working with medical experts, and ensuring you meet the associated deadlines. When you partner with a birth injury attorney serving families in your state, they can help you understand the rules and ensure you abide by them.
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Discuss Your Case With a Member of Our Birth Injury Team Today
If you have concerns about whether or not your newborn suffered a preventable birth injury, you can get help today. Reach out to the Birth Injury Lawyers Group for a free review of your case and to learn if you may be able to pursue a medical malpractice case against the doctor or hospital.
You can speak with a member of our team today about your child’s symptoms, diagnosis, and what you believe occurred. This consultation is free and can help you understand the next steps in seeking justice for your baby. Call (800) 222-9529 today to get started.