Morgan Gaynor | February 18, 2021 | Medical Malpractice
One of the most common conditions or injuries newborns suffer from is cephalohematoma. Cephalohematoma is the pooling of blood between a baby’s scalp and skull. While the severity of each case can vary greatly, cephalohematoma often resolves itself and poses no further risk to your child.
However, in extreme cases, medical intervention might be necessary. Before looking into what might happen to your child if he or she is facing a serious case of cephalohematoma, let’s consider how your baby likely got the condition in the first place and how it might be affecting them now.
Causes of Cephalohematoma
Cephalohematoma is often caused by trauma or pressure on a baby’s head during the birthing process. Because birth can be traumatic for a baby, there is the possibility that he or she hit his or her head somewhere along the birth canal. This could in turn rupture blood vessels located on the head and lead to bleeding.
The bleeding then might pool on the back of the baby’s head between the scalp and the skull. Larger babies are more at risk for cephalohematoma as their heads might be too big for the mother’s pelvis. The odds of suffering from cephalohematoma also increase if contractions are not progressing and moving birth along.
In addition to natural causes, cephalohematoma can also be the result of birth-assisting devices. If a doctor or midwife uses a forceps or vacuum to pull the baby out of the birth canal, the increased pressure from the device on the head can rupture blood vessels and cause the pooling of blood.
While using birth-assisting devices might be legitimate in some cases, when they are used improperly or unnecessarily they cause undue harm to a baby.
Symptoms of Cephalohematoma
As noted above, most cases of cephalohematoma are mild and will resolve themselves with time. If, however, your child’s case is more severe, there is the possibility that medical intervention will be necessary. Some of the most telling signs that your child has a more advanced case include:
- A bulge on the back of your baby’s head
- Yellowing of the skin (resulting from jaundice)
- Fever (resulting from an infection located in the affected area)
Babies with cephalohematoma might also be anemic. If any of these serious health concerns appear to be affecting your child, you should seek medical attention immediately.
Treatment of Cephalohematoma
How doctors treat cephalohematoma depends on the severity of the case and if there are any other underlying issues. Usually, the bulge on the back of the head is left alone and heals with time. In rare circumstances, a doctor may choose to drain the pool of blood. This course of action, however, does increase the chance of infection and is not commonly pursued.
If your doctor believes your child’s case of cephalohematoma is in conjunction with an infection, jaundice, or anemia, he or she will treat those conditions separately.
Hiring a Qualified Personal Injury Lawyer
As with any other injury, after seeking medical attention, it might be wise to contact a skilled personal injury lawyer who specializes in birth injuries. A good lawyer will know what to look for in your case and be able to determine if your child’s cephalohematoma was the result of negligence on the part of your doctor or midwife.
If that is the case, a lawyer can help you pursue legal action against those responsible. As you and your child try to move on from the trauma of a birth injury, having a lawyer on your side can be an invaluable asset. In addition to offering moral support, your lawyer can help you seek damages for things like medical bills and even pain and suffering.