The causes of a hematoma on a newborn depend on the circumstances of their birth and the type of hematoma they have. In general, the cause of a hematoma is pressure on the baby’s body. Many of these injuries occur during a long or difficult delivery.
Some hematomas are caused by pressure against the mother’s body, while others are more likely to occur from traumatic injuries, such as excessive force applied with birth assistance tools. If a hematoma or other birth injuries were caused by hospital staff negligence, the hospital may be liable to the baby’s family in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
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Hematomas and Related Injuries
Three types of hematomas or similar conditions that newborns may experience in the first hours or days of their life include caput succedaneum, cephalohematoma, and subgaleal hematoma
Caput succedaneum is the most common of these three conditions. This hemorrhagic swelling is usually present when the baby is delivered. The affected area may look like a bruise, or it may be the normal color of your child’s skin.
Caput succedaneum is not uncommon following a long and difficult labor, especially if a vacuum extractor device is used during delivery. The doctor may be able to diagnose this type of injury based on the facts of the baby’s birth and a visual exam.
In most babies, caput succedaneum clears up on its own in a few days with no additional treatment needed.
A cephalohematoma is a cranial birth injury that may occur as a result of bleeding between the scalp and the skull. A cephalohematoma may appear as a bruise that presents over the first hours of the child’s life.
While cephalohematomas are usually harmless and may go away on their own after several weeks, an immediate evaluation by a doctor is recommended if this injury appears. Complications can include anemia, jaundice, and infection. In addition, cephalohematomas may occur in conjunction with skull fractures, so it is important to rule out more serious injuries.
Subgaleal hematomas are the most serious of the hematomas a baby may experience following a difficult delivery. This injury may occur following vacuum-assisted deliveries. It is imperative that your child receives a prompt diagnosis and treatment to ensure survival and limit the brain damage they may suffer if they develop a subgaleal hematoma.
It generally takes one to three days to develop a subgaleal hematoma. Initially, the child may experience swelling of the head and develop a pale appearance as they experience a decrease in blood volume throughout their body. A subgaleal hematoma can lead to a loss of up to 40 percent of the baby’s blood volume.
Treatment needs to begin immediately. Surgery may be necessary in some cases, as well as transfusions of red blood cells and plasma. The outcome can vary greatly depending on many factors.
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Infant Hematomas May Support a Birth Injury Case
What causes a hematoma on a newborn may determine if your child’s diagnosis will support a birth injury case or not. It may be possible to hold a doctor or the hospital responsible if medical negligence caused or failed to prevent their condition. This may include circumstances when the physician:
- Failed to order a cesarean delivery when it was necessary
- Used an assistive delivery device incorrectly
- Failed to diagnose the hematoma properly
- Misdiagnosed a hematoma and ignored a more serious problem or complication
- Failed to follow up for proper observation
Get Help Today from the Birth Injury Lawyers Group
Medical malpractice, particularly birth injuries, can have a serious impact on victims and their families physically, emotionally, and financially. If you believe your child may have suffered injuries because of a doctor’s or hospital’s negligence, the Birth Injury Lawyers Group may be able to help you pursue compensation for your damages.
We represent clients nationwide in settlement negotiations and medical malpractice lawsuits. We can handle all communications, deadlines, and paperwork when we represent you. The Birth Injury Lawyers Group can also hire medical experts to testify that the care you received fell below a reasonable medical standard, if necessary.
Call (800) 222-9529 today for a free case evaluation with a member of the Birth Injury Lawyers Group team. You can learn more about your legal options and our services during this free review of your case.