Caput Succedaneum Can Lead to Serious Injuries

By Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo & Plotkin LLP

The term caput succedaneum might not usually be synonymous with medical malpractice. However, when this condition leads to other complications and is left untreated, it may result in any number of severe injuries.

While natural childbirth is an exhaustive process, some women experience a substantially longer and more difficult childbirth than others. Occasionally these difficult deliveries result in the occurrence of caput succedaneum. This condition occurs when a baby’s scalp swells after delivery. Generally speaking, this takes place after headfirst, natural childbirths that were unexpectedly long and difficult. Although caput succedaneum usually is not life-threatening, it can’t lead to a host of other problems.

Babies born with this condition will usually see marked improvement within a few days. However, sometimes the bruising caused by this condition can produce jaundice. Jaundice alone is quite common and generally resolves itself with conservative treatment. However, if a medical provider fails to diagnose and treat the jaundice related to caput succedaneum, other, more severe conditions can arise.

Untreated jaundice caused by caput succedaneum can lead to major complications and even brain damage. Left untreated, an infant with these conditions may suffer cerebral palsy or Kernicterus, which may lead to poor tooth enamel development, hearing loss and the development of a permanent upward gaze. All of these complications can have serious, lifelong effects and some may even lead to an early death.

Although caput succedaneum usually resolves itself without incident, it occasionally can cause other conditions that require medical attention. If a medical provider fails to diagnose and properly treat these issues, a child born with caput succedaneum may suffer more severe injuries. Parents concerned that their child’s caput succedaneum has led to further injury and suffering may benefit by speaking to a medical malpractice attorney.

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