Stephen Hasner | Medical Malpractice | May 3, 2021
The risk of birth injuries is a topic many expectant parents want to avoid. The thought of their precious baby being injured during labor and delivery is unimaginable. However, the fear of something going wrong during labor and delivery is often a concern.
In the majority of cases, children are born without injuries or harm. However, medical negligence and errors during childbirth do occur. When medical providers are negligent or make mistakes, birth injuries such as Caput succedaneum may result.
How Does Caput Succedaneum Happen?
Most parents have never heard of Caput succedaneum. However, it is a common birth injury.
“Caput” causes the baby’s head to appear cone-shaped because of swelling of the scalp. It can be detected by an ultrasound when an unborn baby is 31 weeks or later. However, most cases of Caput are discovered after the baby is born.
Most cases of Caput are caused by pressure on the infant’s head in the birth canal during a prolonged labor and delivery.
However, vacuum extraction or the use of forceps during delivery can increase the risk of the baby developing Caput succedaneum. Unusually low amounts of amniotic fluid and PROM (Premature Rupture of the Membranes) are also risk factors for Caput succedaneum.
Doctors need to monitor the infant closely during labor and delivery whenever a mother has a prolonged delivery or other risk factors for Caput. After the birth, the doctor should examine the child for signs of Caput succedaneum.
Caput succedaneum is diagnosed by a physical examination of the baby after birth.
Signs of Caput include:
- Bruising on the infant’s scalp
- The scalp is a different color in the area of the swelling
- The swelling of the infant’s scalp is soft and puffy on one or both sides of the head
- The portion of the infant’s head that presented first during delivery often has the most noticeable swelling
If an infant is diagnosed with Caput succedaneum, doctors need to monitor the baby closely. Most cases of Caput resolve themselves without complications or injury to the baby. However, there is a risk of complications.
Complications of Caput Succedaneum
Doctors typically monitor the baby to ensure that the swelling recedes within a few days. However, there is a chance that the infant could develop jaundice as a result of Caput. Jaundice is another condition that often resolves itself with minimal medical treatment, but jaundice can be severe and cause permanent impairments if not treated.
Jaundice is the result of high levels of bilirubin in the baby’s system. Caput succedaneum can increase bilirubin levels. If a physician fails to diagnose jaundice, the child could develop kernicterus.
In severe cases, an infant could suffer permanent impairments. Vision problems, hearing loss, and problems with the development of tooth enamel are potential complications. Brain damage caused by kernicterus can also result in Athetoid Cerebral Palsy.
What Should Parents Do if They Suspect Medical Malpractice Caused Birth Injuries?
It is devastating to discover that your child was injured or harmed because of medical negligence during childbirth. If your child is injured during birth, seek immediate medical care for your child. Depending on your child’s injuries or condition, you may want to locate a specialist in your area. A doctor who is not associated with the hospital is the best choice to avoid a conflict of interest.
If your child appears in distress, go to the emergency room immediately. Make sure you keep careful notes and logs about your child’s symptoms and treatment.
If you believe that your doctor or another medical provider caused your baby’s condition, speak with a birth injury lawyer as soon as possible. Take careful notes during each conversation with medical providers. Write down the details of the conversations, especially the explanations given by medical professionals for your child’s condition. Include dates, times, and the people who participated in the conversation.
Request copies of your baby’s medical records from the hospital, doctor’s office, and other medical providers, including laboratories and diagnostic facilities. Ensure that your request covers all types of records, including test results, notes, and reports.
Investigating a birth injury can be time-consuming and complicated. The use of medical experts is necessary to review the care you and your child received before, during, and after childbirth. It is crucial that you have opinions from medical experts that explain how your doctor and medical providers breached the standard of care and caused your child to sustain injuries.
Do Not Miss Deadlines for Filing Birth Injury Claims
A birth injury attorney understands the steps necessary to prove medical malpractice. Your lawyer provides support and guidance as you seek justice for your child and your family.
An attorney also monitors the deadlines for filing birth injury claims. Failing to file your claim before the deadline results in the loss of your legal claim for damages.