For many parents, the period from discovering that they are going to have a baby to the birth of that child is filled with joy and hope for the future and nothing happens to change that expectation. However, for those whose child has suffered a birth injury, the changed reality is devastating. If the birth injury involved a hematoma or intracranial hemorrhage, then the child may face a lifetime of struggles.
It is possible for a child to suffer from a hematoma or intracranial hemorrhage from physical trauma during pregnancy, delivery, or immediately following birth. There are other medical conditions that might lead to intracranial bleeding, specifically including maternal high blood pressure.
Common causes of hematomas and intracranial hemorrhages
- Improper use of delivery tools, including forceps and vacuum extractors;
- Negligence during the delivery process, including the application of excess force in attempting to deliver an infant who is not proceeding through the uterus and cervix as expected – often this may occur in situations involving shoulder dystocia, where the child has become wedged on his or her mother’s pelvic bone;
- Failing to diagnose and treat hypertension in the mother – maternal high blood pressure can have serious health consequences for her baby;
- Failing to diagnose or treat infection in the mother during pregnancy and/or delivery;
- Physical trauma leading to traumatic brain injuries;
- Placental blood clots;
- Asphyxiation; or
- Genetic conditions that lead to the development of malformed blood vessels.
In many cases, the infant can be treated for the hematoma or intracranial hemorrhaging, but the doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals who work with the child must diagnose the problem quickly. Some of the early indicators that the infant is suffering from internal bleeding may include tiredness, listlessness, and being unresponsive to stimuli.
Other signs of a serious medical complication include:
- Pale or blue skin tone;
- Poor muscle tone;
- Poor muscle reflexes;
- Difficulty nursing;
- Sharp crying;
- Irregular eye movement;
- Retinal bleeding; and
- Low blood count after lab testing.
When an infant presents with one or more of these symptoms, it is common for a doctor to order more comprehensive testing, such as MRI or CT scans or ultrasound. While many conditions that lead to intracranial bleeding will heal on their own without significant medical intervention, there are other situations where more extreme, and immediate, care is necessary to preserve the health and welfare of the infant. Neurosurgery may be required, depending upon the unique facts of the case.
There are four grades that apply to situations where an infant is suffering from hematomas and intracranial hemorrhaging
- Grade I – Minor bleeding in the ventricles that does not pose serious threat to the long-term prognosis of the infant;
- Grade II – Slightly more measurable bleeding in the ventricles that still is expected to heal without much medical intervention;
- Grade III – There is excessive bleeding, which may lead to serious conditions, such as swelling in the brain; and
- Grade IV – Excessive bleeding that can lead to swelling and significant pressure in the brain. This may also lead to the development of cerebral palsy.
Infants who experience premature birth are at a greater risk of experiencing these conditions, which is why it is critical for them to be examined and monitored properly.
An infant who does not receive proper care and treatment may face a lifetime of challenges, including struggles caused by permanent brain damage. Infants with intracranial hemorrhage also may develop cerebral palsy, leading to a need for specialized care for the rest of the child’s life. Although there are situations where the medical outcome was unavoidable, there also are many cases where a doctor or other medical professional failed to diagnose or respond to a problem properly, or even caused the injury through negligent care.
Stern Law, PLLC Fights for Infants Injured as a Result of Malpractice
Every parent hopes for an easy pregnancy and delivery process, but when things do go wrong, parents are reliant on the medical professionals in whom they have placed their trust. When these doctors, nurses, and other professionals make a serious, and preventable, mistake, the consequences can be terrible for the child and the people who love him or her. At Stern Law, PLLC, our attorney has worked for more than 30 years to get parents the answers and help that they need after there has been medical negligence. Stern Law, PLLC also offers information and resources to anyone with questions about birth injuries, including hematomas and intracranial hemorrhaging, or other types of medical malpractice. We have knowledgeable and compassionate staff members available 24 hours per day, seven days per week, to answer questions. Call us at 1-844-808-7529 or fill out an online contact form in order to learn how we can help you get through this difficult time.