Cephalohematoma

Infant Cephalohematoma Attorneys in Louisville

Have Cephalohematoma Complications Impacted Your Baby’s Health?

Your doctors may have told you it was nothing to worry about, but while cephalohematoma itself doesn’t cause much harm, the condition may develop into dangerous, even life-threatening health issues. As a parent, it’s your prerogative to watch every change in your child. However, if your baby’s symptoms seem mild or nondescript, rushed physicians may brush off your concerns.

At Dolt, Thompson, Shepherd & Conway, PSC, we take you seriously. We know that birth injuries can change your child’s life as well as your own. If your baby suffered illness or disability due to a doctor’s negligence, we can help you hold them accountable with a birth injury lawsuit. You have to do whatever you can to care for your family, and filing a personal injury claim may help you recover the compensation you need for therapies and other associated expenses.

Contact us online or call (502) 242-8872 to schedule a free consultation of your cephalohematoma case.

What is Infant Cephalohematoma?

mother holding her newborn babyThough it’s a long word, a cephalohematoma is actually a rather simple condition. During pregnancy or labor, excess pressure on a baby’s head can cause small blood vessels to rupture. The resultant blood clot will form under the baby’s scalp. These injuries don’t show up right away, but as more blood escapes the broken blood vessels, they become visible—often days or weeks after the birth.

If your baby’s head has a raised bump that’s soft, they may have a cephalohematoma. The injury should not look red or purple like a bruise, and the skin itself should be fine. If you find a bump like this, it’s not an immediate cause for concern.

However, you should track its appearance and watch for signs of further complications.

What Causes Infant Cephalohematoma?

Childbirth is a difficult process, and sometimes babies sustain injury during labor. Cephalohematoma may develop from completely natural causes, such as:

  • Prolonged labor
  • Macrosomia
  • Weak contractions
  • Irregular fetal positioning

Anything that causes relatively high amounts of pressure on a baby’s head could damage blood vessels.

However, there are other times when infant cephalohematoma is caused by a doctor's negligence. When labor is difficult or stalled, doctors may use forceps or a vacuum extractor to advance the process. These tools can injure your infant if not used carefully. They are likely to cause abnormal levels of force on the scalp, resulting in cephalohematoma.

Other Risk Factors

Not every difficult pregnancy or use of assistive devices results in cephalohematoma. Doctors have studied trends in the condition’s occurrence and found that it is more likely to occur in infants:

  • Who are female
  • During a first pregnancy
  • Whose heads are too big to complete a natural birth
  • Whose heads are not optimally positioned for delivery before labor

What are the Signs of Infant Cephalohematoma?

Two expected symptoms of cephalohematoma are jaundice and anemia, resulting from the loss of red blood cells. Be on the look out for the following signs:

  • More frequent crying
  • Different type of crying
  • Increased tiredness
  • Refusal to eat
  • Other signs of distress

If you notice any of these symptoms, you should notify your doctor immediately. Your doctor should exam your baby as soon as possible to make sure the cephalohematoma does not develop into a more serious condition.

What Complications Could Endanger My Baby?

As mentioned earlier, a cephalohematoma itself should not cause intense worry. Most of them disappear naturally without intervention. Doctors do not recommend trying to remove the clot, as that introduces the risk for infection.

However, in some cases, a cephalohematoma may develop into a more serious problem. These cases can range from temporary and reversible to severe and life-threatening. As soon as complications arise, doctors should begin treatment.

Calcification

If a cephalohematoma lasts for longer than a month, it may ossify. Calcium deposits on remaining clots that are not reabsorbed by the body may harden into bone, causing a permanent skull defect. If ossification begins, doctors may try to remove the cephalohematoma. Should that treatment fail, your baby may need surgery to remove the resulting skull deformity.

Hyperbilirubinemia

As an infant’s body breaks down a cephalohematoma, some elements of the clotted red blood cells are metabolized into bilirubin. This substance is not easy for infants to excrete. When it builds up, bilirubin causes jaundice; if not treated, bilirubin levels may build up to the point of causing seizures and brain damage. Possible treatments include phototherapy, blood transfusion, or adding more breastmilk to a newborn’s diet.

Skull Fractures

Nearly 1 in 4 cases of infant cephalohematoma is caused by an underlying skull fracture. When the cephalohematoma is abnormally large, symptoms of central nervous system disorder present, or delivery was very difficult, doctors should take x-rays to determine whether the skull sustained injury during birth. Linear fractures are the least likely to cause lasting damage in infants; however, if a fracture is depressed or diastatic, your baby may have a traumatic brain injury that could result in disability.

Infection

If your baby’s cephalohematoma gets infected, their blood may follow suit. This condition, called sepsis, can be deadly if untreated. The infection could also spread to the sheath that protects their spine and brain (meningitis), their skin (cellulitis), or even their bones (osteomyelitis). If your baby displays the following symptoms, they may need urgent treatment to prevent permanent disability or even death:

  • Irritability
  • Refusal to eat
  • Tiredness
  • Fever
  • Changes in cephalohematoma size
  • Redness in the overlying skin
  • Visible swelling of the injured area

If your baby’s cephalohematoma develops complications, a good doctor will observe them and recommend treatment before any serious, lasting damage results. When a physician fails their standard of care to keep your baby safe, you may be able to hold them liable for medical bills, future treatments, and more.

Our Louisville Cephalohematoma Lawyers Are Here to Help

With in-house medical staff to evaluate and investigate each case we take, Dolt, Thompson, Shepherd & Conway, PSC, has won some of the largest verdicts and settlements in Kentucky. We have over five decades of experience and our birth injury team has helped many new parents who are struggling with the consequences of physician negligence. Even if you’re only thinking about filing suit, we urge you to talk to one of our attorneys. We provide trusted advice in trying times, and your consultation is always free of charge.

Reach out to us online or by phone at (502) 242-8872 with your cephalohematoma and other birth injury questions.

  • Failure to Recognize Fetal Distress $7 Million
  • Failure to Perform C-Section $5.5 Million
  • Failure to Perform C-Section $2.5 Million
  • Failure to Perform C-Section $730 Thousand
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Why Hire Dolt, Thompson, Shepherd & Conway, PSC?

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