Has your newborn baby been diagnosed with a cephalohematoma? This alarming condition, which involves bleeding between the skull and its covering, can be caused by medical malpractice during childbirth.

If your child is suffering due to the negligence of healthcare providers, a skilled birth injury attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options for pursuing justice and compensation.

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What is Cephalohematoma?

A cephalohematoma is a collection of blood that forms under a baby’s scalp, typically due to a difficult or prolonged labor and delivery. The blood collects between the skull bone and the periosteum, a dense membrane that covers the skull. While some cephalohematomas resolve on their own within a few weeks or months, others can lead to jaundice, anemia, infection, and other complications.

In many cases, cephalohematoma might have been prevented with proper medical care during childbirth. When doctors and nurses fail to recognize and address signs of fetal distress, use excessive force during delivery, or improperly use birth-assisting tools like forceps and vacuum extractors, it can cause trauma to the baby’s head and result in cephalohematoma.

Causes of Cephalohematoma

A number of medical mistakes and forms of negligence can lead to cephalohematoma, including:

Failure to Perform a Timely C-Section

When a baby is showing signs of distress during labor or the delivery process is taking too long, doctors may need to perform a cesarean section (C-section) to safely deliver the baby. If healthcare providers do not acknowledge the need for a C-section or wait too long to perform the procedure, it can lead to prolonged labor and the baby’s head being subjected to excessive pressure in the birth canal. This increased pressure can cause blood vessels on the scalp to rupture, resulting in cephalohematoma.

Inappropriate Use of Forceps or Vacuum Extractors

In some difficult deliveries, doctors may use forceps (a tong-like instrument) or a vacuum extractor (a soft cup attached to a suction device) to help guide the baby out of the birth canal. While these tools can be helpful when used correctly, improper use can cause serious injury to the baby’s head. Applying too much force or pressure or incorrectly placing the forceps or vacuum extractor can damage the delicate blood vessels beneath the scalp and lead to cephalohematoma.

Pulling or Twisting the Baby’s Head During Delivery

During the delivery process, healthcare providers should gently guide the baby to progress naturally through the birth canal. Roughly pulling or twisting the baby’s head in an attempt to speed up the delivery can cause significant head trauma. This excessive force can rupture blood vessels and result in bleeding between the skull and the periosteum, leading to cephalohematoma.

Allowing the Second Stage of Labor to Go On Too Long

Labor is divided into three stages. The second stage, which begins when the cervix is fully dilated and ends with the baby’s birth, typically lasts 20 minutes to 2 hours. If this stage goes on for too long, the baby’s head can be subjected to prolonged pressure against the mother’s pelvis.

This extended pressure increases the risk of blood vessels rupturing and cephalohematoma forming. Doctors should closely monitor the progress of labor and intervene if the second stage is taking too long.

Not Recognizing Signs of Cephalopelvic Disproportion (CPD)

Medical items including a stethoscope, syringe, and pills with the word "Cephalohematoma" displayed.

Cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD) is a condition where the baby’s head is too large to fit through the mother’s pelvis. If healthcare providers fail to recognize signs of CPD during prenatal care or labor, it can lead to a difficult, prolonged delivery.

The baby’s head may become stuck in the birth canal, causing intense pressure and increasing the likelihood of cephalohematoma. Doctors should be alert for indications of CPD and take appropriate action, such as recommending a C-section, to prevent injury to the baby.

When any of these situations occur due to negligence on the part of medical professionals, it is considered medical malpractice. If your child has been diagnosed with cephalohematoma and you suspect that it was due to improper care during labor and delivery, you may have grounds for a legal claim. An experienced birth injury attorney can review your case, gather evidence of negligence, and fight for the compensation your family deserves.

Symptoms of Cephalohematoma

Cephalohematoma is typically diagnosed shortly after birth, with symptoms appearing within a few hours of delivery. Signs that a baby may have cephalohematoma include:

  • Soft, bulging areas on the back or side of the head
  • Bruising or discoloration on the scalp
  • Swelling that may increase in size over hours or days
  • Tenderness of the scalp
  • Jaundice (yellowing of skin/eyes) if the cephalohematoma is very large

While the body reabsorbs most cephalohematomas within 2-3 months, some may persist and cause issues like anemia, hypotension, meningitis, and skull deformities that require surgery to correct. Babies who experience these complications may need extensive follow-up treatment.

If your newborn is showing potential signs of cephalohematoma, have them evaluated by a pediatrician right away. Be sure to tell the doctor about any complications or trauma that occurred during labor and delivery. Proper diagnosis is key to getting your baby appropriate treatment and documenting their injuries, which will be important evidence if you decide to take legal action.

Legal Rights and Remedies

When a healthcare provider’s negligence leads to preventable birth injuries like cephalohematoma, the family has the right to pursue a medical malpractice claim seeking financial compensation for related damages such as:

  • Medical expenses (past and future)
  • Ongoing therapy and rehabilitative care
  • Pain and suffering
  • Permanent injury or disfigurement
  • Lost income for parents who miss work to care for the injured child
  • Diminished earning potential and enjoyment of life for the child

To have a valid cephalohematoma malpractice case, you must typically:

Establish a Doctor-Patient Relationship

The first step in proving a cephalohematoma malpractice claim is showing that a doctor-patient relationship exists between the healthcare provider and the mother and baby. This means that the doctor or medical professional must care for the patient.

In most cases, if you were under the care of a doctor or hospital during your pregnancy, labor, and delivery, you can establish this relationship through medical records and documentation.

Prove Negligence and Breach of Standard of Care

To have a valid malpractice case, you must demonstrate that the doctor or medical staff caring for you and your baby was negligent in their actions or inaction. Negligence occurs when a healthcare provider fails to meet the accepted standard of care that a reasonably skilled and competent medical professional would provide under similar circumstances.

Examples of negligence in cephalohematoma cases may include:

  • Failing to monitor fetal distress.
  • Improperly using birth-assisting tools.
  • Delaying a necessary C-section.

Your birth injury attorney will work with medical experts to review your records and determine if negligence occurred.

Show Negligence Directly Caused the Cephalohematoma

It’s not enough to prove that your doctor was negligent; you must also show a direct link between that negligence and your baby’s cephalohematoma and related injuries. In other words, you must demonstrate that if the healthcare provider had not been negligent, your child would not have suffered the cephalohematoma.

Medical evidence, such as brain scans, blood tests, and expert testimony, can help establish this causal link. Your birth injury lawyer will gather and present this evidence to support your claim.

Demonstrate Actual Damages Suffered

The final element in a successful cephalohematoma malpractice case is proving that you and your child suffered actual damages due to the negligence-induced injury. Damages can include economic losses, such as medical bills and lost income, and non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering and diminished quality of life.

Your birth injury attorney will document all the expenses and losses related to your child’s cephalohematoma, including:

  • Hospital bills and ongoing medical costs
  • Therapy and rehabilitation expenses
  • Adaptive equipment and home modifications
  • Lost income from missing work to care for your child
  • Physical pain and emotional distress
  • Permanent disability or disfigurement

Proving damages often involves gathering medical bills, employer records, and expert analysis to calculate projected future costs. The more thoroughly you can demonstrate the extent of the harm caused by the malpractice, the stronger your case for maximum compensation will be.

Building a Compelling Cephalohematoma Malpractice Case

Investigating and proving each of these elements requires skill, experience, and resources. A knowledgeable attorney can evaluate your claim, gather the necessary evidence, and craft a compelling case for liability and damages.

If your family is coping with the consequences of a cephalohematoma caused by medical negligence, don’t hesitate to seek legal guidance. A birth injury lawyer can give you the help and advocacy you need during this trying time while fighting for the compensation you deserve.

An attorney can:

  • Gather and preserve crucial evidence like medical records and witness testimony
  • Consult with respected medical experts to establish how malpractice occurred
  • Negotiate with insurance companies and their defense attorneys
  • Prepare your case and represent you at trial if a fair settlement cannot be reached
  • Handle court paperwork and deadlines correctly and efficiently

While legal action can’t undo the physical and emotional trauma of a birth injury, it can provide a sense of justice, accountability, and financial security for your child’s future needs. Don’t wait to consult with an attorney about your potential case, as strict filing deadlines may apply.

Finding the Right Cephalohematoma Attorney

Birth injury cases involving cephalohematoma require unique legal knowledge and extensive experience. When searching for the right lawyer to handle your claim, look for an attorney who:

  • Has a proven track record of success in birth injury and medical malpractice cases
  • Is well-versed in the medical aspects of labor and delivery complications
  • Has access to qualified medical experts who can consult on your case
  • Treats you with compassion and takes the time to understand your family’s unique needs
  • Works on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay no upfront costs, and they only collect a fee if they win compensation for you

Choosing the right cephalohematoma attorney is one of the most important decisions you will make in the pursuit of justice for your child. Schedule consultations with multiple lawyers to find one you feel confident in. Most reputable birth injury attorneys offer free initial consultations and can even visit you in the hospital or at home.

Contact a Birth Injury Lawyer for Cephalohematoma Legal Claims

Adult hands gently holding a newborn's feet, showing care and tenderness.

When a child is diagnosed with cephalohematoma caused by medical negligence, it can take a tremendous toll on the entire family. The physical, emotional, and financial consequences can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to face this challenge alone. A compassionate and experienced birth injury attorney can be your advocate and guide you through pursuing a malpractice claim.

A skilled legal team can thoroughly investigate your child’s case, gathering crucial evidence and consulting with top medical experts to build a strong claim on your behalf. They can handle all the legal details and fight for the maximum compensation your child deserves, allowing you to focus on your family’s healing and well-being.

While taking legal action may feel frightening, it is often the best way to secure your child’s resources for future medical care, therapy, and other essential support. A knowledgeable birth injury lawyer can explain your rights and options and provide the guidance and representation you need during this difficult time.

If your family is coping with the impact of a cephalohematoma caused by medical negligence, don’t hesitate to reach out to a qualified birth injury attorney. Look for a lawyer who offers free consultations so you can discuss your case and learn about your legal options without any upfront costs. Many attorneys also work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you only pay if they successfully recover compensation on your behalf.

By holding negligent medical providers accountable, you can not only obtain the financial resources your child needs but also help prevent similar mistakes from harming other families in the future. With the right legal advocate by your side, you can fight for the justice and support your child deserves and work towards a brighter future for your family.

Don’t wait to seek the legal guidance you need. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney today to schedule a free consultation and learn how they can guide you on this challenging journey.

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