Caput succedaneum is a common condition in newborns that normally results from pressure placed on the child’s scalp during delivery. The scalp swells as a result but the condition normally resolves itself over the next several days. Careful monitoring of the child is required during the healing process, however, as the internal bleeding can be the cause of more severe complications if left unchecked. The primary cause for concern is the level of bilirubin in the blood, which can cause developmental problems if elevated for too long.How Blood Loss Affects Bilirubin Levels
Bilirubin is a compound found in bile, which is produced by the liver and an essential part of our digestive systems. When the liver is unable to remove bilirubin from the blood, however, it causes jaundice, which is a yellowing of the skin or the whites of the eyes. Internal bleeding can elevate bilirubin levels and newborns’ livers are often unable to clean the excess bilirubin from the blood fast enough. When doctors do not properly monitor babies with symptoms of jaundice and complications result, they may be liable for medical malpractice if developmental problems ensue.
The conditions that may result from unmonitored and elevated bilirubin levels in infants include the following.
- Brain damage
- Developmental problems
- Hearing impairment or deafness
- Cerebral palsy
It is not uncommon for a child to develop caput succedaneum before delivery if the mother’s water breaks early or if there is not enough amniotic fluid present to protect the child’s head. Children delivered via cesarean section must also be monitored for the condition because it can be present regardless of the method of delivery. Performing a vacuum delivery often increases the risk of caput succedaneum as well as the severity of the injury.
The initial injury to the scalp is a minor issue, but failure to monitor infants’ bilirubin levels when it is known that they have caput succedaneum is the primary cause of developmental issues such as cerebral palsy or deafness in infants. If your child suffers from developmental problems, brain damage, hearing impairment or cerebral palsy and you believe that medical malpractice at the time of delivery or soon after is the cause, it is important to speak with a birth injury lawyer to weigh your legal options. Medical care for children with these conditions is extremely expensive and you should not need to bear the financial burden in addition to watching your child suffer throughout his or her life.
For more information, contact Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers to arrange a free consultation with a personal injury attorney. We will be able to help you determine whether the attending doctors may have committed an act of negligence and how best to pursue legal action. We understand that you have enough to worry about as it is, so we will never ask for payment upfront and if we are unable to collect compensation on your behalf; our services will be free of charge.