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Cephalohematoma, or CH, occurs when blood begins to collect between the membrane and skull of a newborn baby. What happens is damaged blood vessels will release the blood, and the blood will collect in a benign mass under the skin of the baby’s scalp. The blood vessels are usually damaged when a mother is in labor or birthing the child.
CH is usually not harmful because the blood is pooled outside of the skull. This means that the brain is in no way affected. This condition will typically show up as a lump on a baby’s scalp several hours after delivery. CH could clear up and go away on its own or a baby may have further health issues.
This condition is rare; only between 1% and 2% of babies will experience CH during or after birth if they are delivered vaginally, and between 3% and 4% will develop it if delivered via forceps or vacuum extraction. Large infants as well as baby boys are more likely to develop CH.
Symptoms of Cephalohematoma
If you see any of these symptoms in your baby, then they may have cephalohematoma:
- A soft bulge on the back of a baby’s skull that will feel harder after a few weeks and then shrink
- Anemia (low red blood cell count)
While CH is usually harmless, it can lead to linear fractures in a baby’s skull. This may sound bad, but typically these skull fractures are not severe and may even heal on their own. If CH does not disappear after around four to five weeks, then calcification can happen and end up being very serious because it could deform a baby’s skull. Another severe complication is infection. The blood and the fluid could become infected and cause sepsis, meningitis, or cellulitis. If jaundice progresses, it could eventually cause brain damage. Some babies with CH may also have anxiety, chronic headaches, and attention issues.
Treatment for Cephalohematoma
Usually, CH will heal on its own and there won’t be any required treatment. The bump should disappear within a few weeks or months. Rarely will a doctor decide to drain the blood. They typically try to avoid that because it could lead to an infection or abscess. If calcification occurs, then a baby will probably need surgery. In order to determine what the treatment will be, the doctor might have to check the number of red blood cells a baby has as well as order different tests like X-rays, a CT scan, and an MRI.
If CH results in complications, then a variety of medical interventions could be necessary. If your baby has jaundice because of CH, for instance, emergency treatment will be critical. If untreated, CH can result in kernicterus, which could then result in long-term brain damage and conditions like cerebral palsy or seizure disorders. Then, a baby will need lifelong treatment for brain damage. This treatment may be comprised of occupational and physical therapy, medication, and surgery.
How Do I Know if Medical Malpractice Caused Cephalohematoma?
Typically, CH is going to resolve on its own. When it doesn’t, a doctor will need to step in and take the right actions to prevent complications from occurring. Most doctors will do what’s right and will be able to help a baby with CH.
However, sometimes doctors are negligent and that causes complications and birth injuries in babies. If you believe that medical malpractice occurred because your doctor failed to do testing and monitoring of you and/or your baby, they did not take the necessary steps to treat your baby, or they made mistakes while treating your baby, then medical malpractice may have been a factor in your baby’s injury.
You should consult with a birth injury lawyer to see if your medical malpractice claim is valid. It’s intentionally difficult to prove medical malpractice because if you could sue your doctor for every mistake, nobody would want to enter the medical field. You will need to have the right evidence and counsel on your side when you’re thinking about suing your doctor.
How Much Will I Receive From a Cephalohematoma Settlement?
You could receive compensation to cover your damages like:
- Medical bills
- Loss of companionship and enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Future medical care
- Loss of earning capacity
When you contact a birth injury lawyer, they will be able to calculate the economic damages like medial bills and future medical care and noneconomic damages like pain and suffering to determine what kind of settlement you’re going to pursue. The higher your costs are, the higher your settlement could be.
Settlement Offers in a Cephalohematoma Case
Your doctor will not be able to predict what your settlement will be until they can secure an offer from the doctor, who is the defendant. The way your case will go is after you call your lawyer, they will ask you to send over evidence you have including your medical records, statements from witnesses, and photographs of your baby’s injuries. If they need more proof, they’ll help you collect it.
Once they have all the proof, they will get in touch with the defendant to attempt to reach a settlement. The defendant may settle, negotiate, or reject settling. You could then come back with more evidence if you have it or choose to go to court.
Usually a defendant will settle before a medical malpractice case ever reaches the courtroom. If it does go to court, it could damage their reputation and they might have to pay you a much higher settlement. They’re going to weigh the risks; if you have strong enough proof, they will likely be sensible and settle. And if you aren’t satisfied with the settlement amount, your lawyer can always renegotiate for more.
Why Contact a Birth Injury Lawyer?
A birth injury lawyer will stand up for you in your time of need. You won’t have to do any work aside from providing evidence you have in your possession. They will take care of the rest so you can dedicate all your time and energy to your baby. That’s what matters most.
Cephalohematoma Birth Injury Attorneys
If your baby is facing complications from cephalohematoma, then it’s time to call a birth injury lawyer who will be by your side and fight hard to get you the compensation you deserve. That’s where Gilman & Bedigian can help.
Contact Gilman & Bedigian 24/7 for a free consultation at (800) 529-6162.