Childbirth is a beautiful time for an expecting mother and father, but birth injuries can make delivery a real nightmare. One injury that is rarely discussed is caput succedaneum. While easily treatable, negligence and malpractice by a doctor can cause it to become worse. Here's what parents need to know about this condition and whether or not they have a case that they can pursue if it does happen:
What Is This Condition?
Caput succedaneum refers to a swelling on a newborn child's scalp. This problem is typically caused by pressure exerted on the child's head during a difficult delivery. For example, passing through a very tight birth canal can cause this problem if the doctor does not take steps to manage it. However, it can also occur if the surgeon uses extraction tools with too much force.
Thankfully, this condition is usually easy to spot and is typically not a grave concern. Unfortunately, it can become more dangerous if it isn't managed properly by the attending health officials. In fact, it can turn from a minor concern to one that threatens a child's mental development.
Can It Be Serious?
Caput succedaneum is a condition that sounds worse than it is, especially in the modern era of medicine. A good doctor should either be able to avoid it or to carefully manage the symptoms when it does occur. Proper treatment can avoid serious complications, though jaundice may still develop in children who have this health problem.
Jaundice occurs in a child when caput succadaneum causes a buildup of bilirubin. A good doctor will notice the yellowing of the skin that indicates this condition and will manage it properly. However, failure to diagnose jaundice can allow it to worsen and cause serious brain damage. Other conditions caused by jaundice include cerebral palsy, hearing loss, vision problems, and intellectual disabilities.
Is The Doctor Liable For These Injuries?
As mentioned above, caput succedaneum is typically a non-dangerous condition that is easily treated if caught quickly. However, failure to manage it and treat jaundice it causes could result in the serious brain injuries also mentioned above. If this is the case, a doctor is very likely liable for causing these injuries through negligence.
If the doctor failed to act reasonably to prevent this condition, they are guilty of negligence. Proper and consistent actions for this situation include: detecting the conditions that led to caput succedaneum, intervening to manage a difficult delivery, avoiding the use of excessive force with tools while extracting the child, and (most importantly) diagnosing and treating jaundice.
As a result, it is possible to pursue a case in these conditions. So if you or anyone you love is going through this kind of experience, contact a birth injury lawyer to get the compensation you deserve.