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Caput succedaneum is an indistinct swelling of a newborn baby's scalp, caused by pressure on the head. It is one of the most common birth injuries. Unlike a cephalohematoma, caput succedaneum (sometimes just called caput) is a bruise directly under the scalp, rather than over the skull. It may be reddened or discolored, may be located anywhere on the scalp, and feels soft and spongy, not hard. It should disappear during the first few days of the baby's life, but complications may result from the loss of blood.

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Consider Filing a Birth Injury Claim in New York

Birth injuries are devastating and life-altering for a young family. Instead of all the joys and trials of a normal childhood, the family must look forward to a lifetime of intensive therapy and medical care, special-needs schools or helpers -- and the enormous bills that go with those things. These are physically, emotionally and financially difficult enough as they are -- but they can be even worse when the injury could have been prevented by more care from medical professionals. Missed diagnoses, wrong diagnoses and other medical mistakes aren't just careless; they're medical malpractice. If you believe your child is the victim of a birth injury caused by medical malpractice, you have the right to hold the careless parties responsible for the results with a birth injury lawsuit.

The experienced NY birth injury attorneys of Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP can help. For decades, we have represented victims of very serious injuries caused by other people's carelessness. We've handled hundreds of birth injury and medical malpractice claims, and we're proud to be able to say we've won millions for injured children and their families. We understand the complicated legal and medical issues surrounding birth injuries, and we promise aggressive, thorough representation of your claim in a court of law.

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Causes and Complications of Caput Succedaneum

The most common cause of caput succedaneum is squeezing by the mother's cervix, uterus or vagina during a vaginal birth. The cervix in particular can have a tourniquet-like effect on the baby's head. However, ultrasounds taken before the birth have shown babies with caput succedaneum in utero, which means a baby can be born with one even if he or she is delivered by cesarean section. Risk factors for caput succedaneum include:

  • Abnormally low amniotic fluid (oligohydramnios)
  • Difficult vaginal birth with baby head-first
  • Vacuum extraction
  • Water breaking too soon (premature rupture of membranes)

Caput succadeaneum should disappear completely within a few days, as the baby's body breaks down and reabsorbs the blood that fills the area. For that reason, most doctors will tell parents not to worry about them. However, a caput succedaneum can be complicated in some babies by jaundice (hyperbilirubinemia), a side effect of the blood loss. Blood contains a yellow substance called bilirubin, which the liver should clean out of the blood. Because newborns' organs are just starting to function, their livers can take a few days to do that job, leading to a yellowed appearance to the whites of their eyes and in the skin of pale babies. This is common, but a baby with jaundice should be watched very closely by doctors to ensure that it stops quickly. If it doesn't, the baby is at risk for serious side effects of jaundice, including brain damage, cerebral palsy and deafness.

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Get a Free Consultation from a NY Attorney

If you or someone you love is a victim of caput injury, call a New York birth injury lawyer at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP at (212) 986-7353 for a free evaluation of your case.

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Additional Information

Our Birth Injury Case Results

$10 Million - Suit Alleging Failure to Timely Perform C-Section

WRSH Partner Philip Russotti obtained a $10 Million mediation settlement for failure to timely perform a Cesarean Section. The case was venued in Orange County, NY.

Philip Russotti

$6 Million - New York Birth Injury

WRSH Partner, Phil Russotti, obtained a $6 million settlement for our client whose child suffered severe brain damage during birth.

Philip Russotti

$4.75 Million - New York Fetal Distress

We claimed that the baby should have been delivered by emergency C-Section or forceps delivery. He was ultimately diagnosed with cerebral palsy and spastic quadriparesis.

WRSH LLP

$3.9 Million - New York Birth Injury Case

Partner Philip Russotti argued that as a result of this negligence, the child suffered hypoxia which resulted in mild retardation, severe ADHD and social isolation as well as difficulties with fine motor skills.

Philip Russotti

$1.3 Million - Infant-Plaintiff Suffered Brachial Plexus Injury at Birth

WRSH obtained a $1,300,000 jury verdict, after a three week medical malpractice trial in Staten Island, on behalf of a 6-year-old girl who suffered a brachial plexus injury known as Erb's palsy.

WRSH LLP

$1.08 Million - Injuries Sustained by Baby Girl at Birth

We claimed that the hospital was negligent for not intervening and performing a cesarean section in light of the mother's failure to adequately progress in labor.

Clifford Shapiro

Click here to see more NY Birth Injury Verdicts & Settlements