Infant skull fractures and bulges occur for a variety of reasons during childbirth. For example, the pressure from a vaginal birth can fracture a newborn’s skull. However, in many cases, a fractured skull is caused by a doctor or another medical professional’s negligent conduct.
If your child suffered a fractured skull during their birth, contact our Maryland attorney for infant skull fractures or bulges caused during birth. Call the Law Offices of Randolph Rice at (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free case consultation.
Birth Injuries Involving Infant Skull Bulges and Fractures in Maryland
Unlike an adult’s skull, an infant’s skull is made of flexible plates attached by sutures of soft tissue. These pliable plates allow the skull to survive the pressure of childbirth, and they will harden as the infant grows.
Despite the flexibility of an infant’s skull, the pressure of a vaginal birth can fracture, displace, or otherwise damage the plates or sutures. There are, however, many other injuries that are caused by a doctor’s negligence that could cause bulges or fractures.
Infant Skull Fractures from Forceps and Other Instruments
The leading cause of infant skull fractures or bulges in Maryland is the improper or inappropriate use of medical instruments. Negligently used forceps or vacuum extractors can result in traumatic brain injuries that can affect a child even into adulthood.
When confronted with a difficult or prolonged labor, a doctor may opt to use obstetric forceps to assist the delivery. Forceps resemble large pliers with large cups on the ends. These cups are designed to grip the baby’s head, allowing the doctor to guide the baby through the birth canal. If a doctor applies too much pressure or twists the head the wrong way, the forceps can fracture the skull, potentially causing brain damage and long-term disabilities.
There are many circumstances, such as a breech birth, when the use of forceps could be entirely irresponsible and unreasonably dangerous. If a doctor injured your child by improperly using forceps, call our Maryland attorney for infant skull fractures and bulges caused during birth.
A vacuum extractor is another instrument that doctors use when a delivery presents problematic challenges. Vacuum extraction is considered a safer alternative to obstetric forceps because no instruments grasp or clamp down on the head. However, when improperly used, a vacuum extractor can still cause catastrophic injuries.
The mouth of the vacuum extractor is usually placed in the middle of the infant’s head. The extractor then literally vacuums the infant out of the birth canal. If the mouth of the vacuum extractor is misplaced or too much suction is applied, the infant’s skull can be fractured or bulge outward.
Determining if an Infant’s Skull Fracture is the Result of Medical Malpractice in Maryland
It can be challenging to determine if your child is suffering from a skull fracture. Symptoms range from mild to severe to debilitating with these kinds of injuries. Because a skull fracture often includes some form of traumatic brain injury, the infant may exhibit signs of brain damage, such as behavioral changes, irritability, and sensitivity to light and sound, all of which can be difficult to identify in a newborn.
Failing to identify and properly treat an infant’s skull fracture can result in adverse medical consequences. The doctor and medical staff should be aware of any symptoms of a potential skull fracture, and if any symptoms are apparent, a doctor should take immediate steps to confirm the fracture and use appropriate treatments to prevent or mitigate any brain damage or other injuries. Failing to accurately diagnose or treat an infant skull fracture may constitute medical malpractice.
Symptoms of Skull Fractures and Bulges in Newborns
The symptoms and consequences of an infant skull fracture depend on the severity and type of fracture. The least severe type of fracture is a linear fracture where a break in the shape of a line does not cause the plates of the skull to move. Generally, the symptoms of this kind of fracture are the mildest. More often than not, this type of fracture will heal without any intervention.
A depressed skull fracture is more likely to cause symptoms and to have serious complications. With a depressed skull fracture, the infant’s skull will appear to have a shallow indent or depression, making this type of fracture easy to visibly diagnose.
A fracture along a suture or seam between the different bones of the skull is called a “diastatic skull fracture.” Like a linear fracture, these may not cause symptoms right away, but they are more serious. This kind of fracture can grow as the child develops, increasing the risk for additional adverse medical consequences down the road.
A serious skull fracture in a newborn can cause traumatic brain injury. An infant with this type of injury will cry for no reason, may experience seizures, and will be difficult to console, listless, and unfocused. These symptoms may also be an indication of a hematoma, or bleeding on the brain. A hematoma will place a dangerous amount of pressure on the brain if not treated. Depending on the severity of the bleeding, surgery may be required. In some cases, a hematoma will result in lasting brain damage or death.
Long-Term Consequences of Infant Skull Fractures or Bulges
An infant skull fracture can result in several long-term mental and physical consequences. The seriousness depends on the severity of the fracture, the time it takes to discover the injury, and the treatment administered. These long-term consequences include the following:
- Memory problems
- Lower than average IQ
- Inability to focus
- Short attention span
- Learning disabilities
- Impaired vision
- Hearing loss
- Difficulties with balance and coordination
- Extreme sensitivity to pain
- Spatial disorientation
- Speech impediments
- Emotional and behavioral challenges
Call Our Maryland Attorney for Infant Skull Fractures and Bulges for a Free Consultation
If you suspect your child suffered an infant skull fracture during childbirth as a result of negligence by your doctor or another medical professional, contact our Maryland medical malpractice lawyer. The Law Offices of Randolph Rice’s knowledgeable Maryland attorneys for infant skull fractures and bulges will evaluate your case and help determine if you have a medical malpractice claim. Call (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free case consultation.