When you come home from the hospital with your newborn baby, it should be a time for celebration and joy – not worry and concern about the unexplained bruises on your infant’s body. While most infant bruises are completely harmless, other instances could be an indication that your doctor inflicted a serious birth injury. That means it’s important to know the difference between normal and abnormal bruising in infants.
If you suspect that a doctor’s negligence played a role in your child’s bruising injuries, it’s important to speak with another qualified medical professional as soon as possible. By performing an early examination and offering a second opinion, your doctor may be able to set your mind at ease about your child’s health. On the other hand, if your attending physician did cause a birth injury during childbirth, you may be better able to pursue fair compensation.
When Is Bruising Normal?
The childbirth process takes an enormous physical toll on both mother and baby, especially in cases involving an extended, arduous labor. Even in a low-risk childbirth, the physical stress of labor can cause an infant to develop contusions or bruises, particularly around the delicate head and shoulder areas.
Due to sustained pressure from the mother’s birth canal and pelvic bones, the soft tissues surrounding an infant’s skull may also swell in an effect known as capat succedaneum. While this swelling and bruising can seem alarming, it is usually not indicative of a brain injury and may disappear within a few days or weeks.
The following minor injuries are often considered to be normal after birth:
- Mild bruising on the face and shoulders
- Small, flat blood spots on the skin
- Puffy eyes or facial features
- Specks of blood in the whites of the eyes
- Cephalohematoma, or small lumps of blood under the skull
What Constitutes a More Serious Birth Injury?
Normal infant bruising usually occurs on a subcutaneous level, or right underneath the skin tissues. When your child’s bruising looks more severe and does not disappear within weeks, however, there is a stronger chance that they sustained an underlying brain injury in addition to normal contusions from the birth process. From improper use of forceps to lack of care during the delivery process, there are many ways that doctors can contribute to birth injuries.
Here are a few of the most common birth injuries marked by infant bruising:
- Shoulder dystocia: When a baby’s shoulders become stuck or lodged near the mother’s pelvic region, they may develop shoulder dystocia injuries. Severe cases of shoulder dystocia can result in facial paralysis, as well as broken bones, bruising, and nerve damage.
- Forceps trauma: Although they are sometimes vital for a successful delivery, forceps instruments can also cause significant trauma to the baby if used improperly. When a baby has suffered forceps trauma, they may have also sustained skull fractures, eye trauma, internal bleeding, and seizures – all of which can be accompanied by severe bruising patterns.
- Cerebral palsy: Cerebral palsy is a motor disability that can develop during or after the delivery process. While it may be caused by genetic factors, it is more often caused by brain damage or asphyxia (lack of oxygen) during childbirth. If left untreated, severe cases of capat succedaneum may lead to jaundice and increase the risk of cerebral palsy.
How Can I Bring a Birth Injury Claim?
From using too much pressure with forceps to ignoring the signs of injury, there are many ways that a physician can cause a life-altering birth trauma to occur during labor. Once you know that your child’s bruising is considered to be abnormal, it’s critical to review all your legal options with a qualified medical malpractice attorney. With over $500 million recovered for our clients and 200 medical malpractice cases tried, our nationally-recognized team at the Law Office of Marshall Silberberg will be your dedicated advocates in a crisis – and help you bring a claim against negligent medical providers.
Call (949) 565-4281 today to speak with our team today.