In a typical case, it may take three to six months for a skull fracture to heal in an infant.
Infants may heal even faster if the fracture is a linear fracture. A linear skull fracture does not involve any movement or displacement of the skull plates, so it is considered a minor type of fracture.
Ultimately, your child’s doctor should be able to give you information on their expected recovery time.
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Severe Skull Fractures in Infants
Although skull fractures for newborns that occur during delivery are rare, they can carry severe consequences.
A depressed skull fracture is a severe type of injury, as part of the skull sinks into the brain, potentially causing a brain injury. A doctor may order surgery to repair a depressed skull fracture.
Another extremely serious type of skull fracture is the basilar skull fracture, which occurs when a bone near the base of the skull breaks. This can cause a tear in the membrane that covers the brain, causing a leak of cerebrospinal fluid through the nose of the baby.
Serious infant skull fractures can cause or co-occur with brain injuries such as cerebral palsy. Even if an infant’s skull fracture heals in three to six months, a brain injury may never heal.
Symptoms of Infant Skull Fractures
Some of the symptoms of fractures in a newborn’s skull may include:
- Depressions or odd bumps on the head
- Bruising near ears or eyes
- Clear fluid leaking from ears or nose
If you notice these or any other unusual symptoms in your newborn, bring them to a doctor for an immediate evaluation.
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Accidents During Delivery
Doctors caring for the mother and baby during the birthing process should keep an eye out for the possibility of pressure on the skull leading to a fracture. Some of the situations during delivery that could lead to a skull fracture include:
- Large baby head: where if doctors notice through measurements in the womb that the baby’s head is larger than average, the baby’s skull may undergo quite a bit of pressure as the head passes through the mother’s birth canal, meaning some doctors will choose to use a Caesarean section birth.
- Use of forceps: where if doctors attempt to use forceps to guide the baby’s head through the birth canal, too much force could cause a fracture.
- Use of vacuum extraction: where if doctors choose to use a vacuum pump on the baby’s head to guide it through the birth canal, excessive force from the pump could lead to a fracture of the skull.
If doctor negligence caused your child’s skull fracture by failing to prevent a difficult delivery or by applying excessive force to the baby’s head, the hospital may be liable to your family in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Accidents in the Hospital
It is rare for a newborn to suffer a skull fracture in the hospital after the delivery, but it does happen occasionally. Perhaps a nurse trips while carrying the baby, dropping him or her and causing a head injury.
If the baby is dropped at the hospital, medical personnel should be alerted to the situation and should immediately begin examining the baby for the possibility of a skull fracture.
Holding Negligent Doctors Responsible
In some cases, a severe skull fracture may create a significant brain injury for the infant, endangering his or her life. If the baby survives, the family could be facing a lifetime of disability and large medical bills because of the brain injury. The skull may heal within a few months, but the subsequent brain injury may never heal.
If a doctor’s negligence led to your baby’s skull fracture and brain injury, they may owe you compensation in a medical malpractice lawsuit for your child’s reduction in quality of life, pain and suffering, medical bills, and more.
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The Birth Injury Lawyers Group May Be Able to Help You
The Birth Injury Lawyers Group helps families nationwide in medical malpractice lawsuits. If doctor negligence injured your child, we may be able to represent you in an insurance claim or a medical malpractice lawsuit. When we work together, our firm can handle all communications, paperwork, and deadlines in your case.
For a free case review, call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today at (800) 222-9529. We represent clients on a contingency-fee-basis with no up-front payments required. In this type of arrangement, you only pay our attorney fees if and when you receive a settlement offer or court award.