Nothing is more distressing than discovering your newborn has suffered a birth injury, especially if it occurred at the hands of a doctor. While the birthing process can be confusing and complicated, doctors should be fully prepared for every situation. During a difficult birth, doctors may use several tools and methods to help your child enter the world, but it is also important to observe your child afterward. This is especially true if your child suffers from a cephalohematoma.
What Is Cephalohematoma? Is It Dangerous?
When children are being born, doctors may need to guide them through the birth canal, often using forceps or a small amount of pressure. Doctors must, however, be extremely careful, as the newborns may suffer a head injury. One of the most common types of head injuries that babies suffer from is cephalohematoma.
A cephalohematoma occurs when blood pools in the space between the skull and the periosteum, a connective tissue around the skull. This may appear as a small lump on the child’s skull, sometimes looking like a “goose egg,” but in some cases, it is not immediately visible. In most cases, cephalohematomas heal on their own and the child will be perfectly fine, but doctors should still observe them.
When cephalohematomas are not mild, they can result in serious medical conditions, including:
- Anemia, which occurs due to the lack of blood being circulated throughout the newborn’s body and can be a lifelong condition
- Jaundice, or the yellowing of the skin because of a buildup of bilirubin
- Calcification, a condition that occurs when bone calcifies around the cephalhematoma and can result in skull deformities
- Infections, which can be extremely deadly for newborns
- Loss of consciousness
All of these conditions require immediate medical treatment. Cephalohematomas can be diagnosed through a CT-scan or MRI, and if the condition appears severe, the doctor should respond accordingly.
How Should Doctors Respond to Cephalohematomas?
Once a doctor diagnoses a newborn with a cephalohematoma, he should determine whether the condition will resolve on its own or require further intervention. Sadly, because these cases are mostly mild, doctors may be more prone to dismissing necessary treatment unless the child shows serious symptoms.
If the doctor does determine that it is serious, then he should be careful with how he proceeds. While surgery may be necessary in some instances to relieve the pressure on the child’s brain, that also brings the risk of further infections. In addition, doctors should also pay extra attention to subdural and epidural hematomas, which do not usually develop goose eggs and are harder to spot.
If a doctor did misdiagnose your child’s cephalohematoma, fail to follow proper medical procedures, or cause further injuries, then you are well within your rights to file a medical malpractice claim against them. Doctors should take every medical condition seriously, especially when it involves a newborn. Failing to diagnose or treat a cephalohematoma can lead to lifelong medical conditions, and doctors who make these mistakes should be held accountable.
At Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, our New York birth injury lawyers have spent more than 50 years advocating for injured children and their parents. We work closely with trained medical professionals and investigators to determine the cause of a newborn’s injury and use all of our legal knowledge to demand proper compensation from the person who injured them, whether it be a doctor, nurse, or hospital manager. If your newborn suffered a birth injury due to a negligent medical professional, call our office at (212) 986-7353 and discuss your case in a free consultation.