Head trauma during delivery may result in a number of serious conditions for newborn infants. During a difficult delivery, the infant’s head is particularly vulnerable as it is the first accessible part of the infant for medical professionals, unless the infant presents as a breech. Therefore, head trauma can lead to a number of injuries that, if undiscovered and untreated, may lead to more long-term traumatic brain injuries that can affect the infant for the rest of his or her life. If you have an infant who suffered head trauma during delivery, you may want to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney who can assist you with evaluating whether you can obtain compensation. Charles H. Thronson, Attorney at Law is a seasoned birth injury advocate in Utah who can advise you on your best next course of action.
Caput succedaneum is the swelling of a newborn’s scalp. It is often caused by pressure from the uterus or vaginal wall during a long or difficult delivery. The fluid in the amniotic sac no longer provides a cushion for the baby’s head once the membranes have broken, which usually occurs in longer deliveries. Additionally, the use of instrumentation to facilitate delivery, such as a vacuum extraction device, may also increase the chance of caput succedaneum.
Symptoms of caput succedaneum may present as soft or puffy swelling of the infant’s scalp, possible bruising or change of color on the affected area, or swelling that extends to both sides of the scalp. It may be detected by prenatal ultrasound even before delivery begins. Early rupture of the membranes or the lack of amniotic fluid may signal the existence of the swelling.
Intracranial hemorrhages or brain bleeds refer to any bleeding inside the skull or brain. It can occur in the space between the innermost of the two membranes that cover the brain, in which case it usually occurs in full term babies and results in seizure activity and lethargy. With infants who are premature or have low birth weight, the bleeding is likely intraventricular where the bleeding happens into the ventricular system of the brain where spinal fluid is produced. This may be caused by physical trauma during birth.
Another type of brain bleed is a subdural hemorrhage, which occurs in the area between the surface of the brain and the thin layer of tissue that separates the brain from the skull. These may occur during difficult deliveries and can result in seizures, a rapidly enlarging head, a poor Moro reflect, or extensive bleeding in the retina.
Facial paralysis or facial nerve palsy is the loss of controllable voluntary muscle movement in an infant’s face that is caused by pressure on a certain nerve in the face just before or during birth. This can be caused by difficult deliveries caused by large baby sizes, deliveries with the assistance of instrumentation such as forceps, prolonged labor, use of epidurals, or use of medication that causes labor and stronger contractions.
Facial paralysis may present through several symptoms. The infant’s eyelid may not close on the affected side, or the lower face below the eyes may appear uneven during crying. It may also result in the mouth not moving down the same way on both sides during crying. Finally, it may be so severe as the entire affected side, from the forehead to the chin, may be paralyzed.
If you have an infant that suffered head trauma during delivery that resulted in injuries, you may be able to obtain compensation. Charles H. Thronson, Attorney at Law, is a seasoned advocate in Utah with years of experience in pursuing claims against medical professionals for birth injuries. Do not hesitate to contact our firm today for an initial consultation by calling our office or completing our online form.