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Subgaleal Hematoma in Medical Malpractice

A newborn infant can suffer serious repercussions if they undergo a subgaleal hematoma during a birth complication. What is it? Subgaleal Hematoma is caused when there is bleeding between the scalp’s tough layer of dense fibrous tissue and the skull’s periosteum. The galea aponeurotica is covered by the scalp’s tough layer. These follow elements pose a higher threat for a newborn to endure this health condition:

  • Mother’s first baby
  • When the baby weighs too much
  • When labor is prolonged
  • When the cephalopelvic is disproportionate
  • When the baby is born prematurely

The Major Risks Factors Are Vacuum Extractions

Subgaleal hematoma can occur when a doctor uses a vacuum extractor to help with the delivery of a baby. An outstanding 90% of subgaleal hematoma cases are the result of the use of a vacuum extractor. The emissary veins can be ruptured when vacuum extractors are utilized. A rupture causes an accumulation of blood to form between the periosteum and scalp. Skull fractures and intracranial hemorrhages are 40% associated with subgaleal hematoma, which are both head traumas.

Vacuum extractors are typically used when a cesarean sections or forceps do not want to be used. Traction is applied to the infant’s head to assist in taking him or her out. The vacuum extractor uses a soft cup or metal cup that is placed on the infant’s head. This serves as a way to help pull the infant out of the mother’s birth canal while applying leverage.

Medical Guidelines for Vacuum Extractions

There have been medical guidelines that indicate when the use of a vacuum extractor is absolutely required. These guidelines came into place because of the fear of birth injuries. Vacuum extraction should not be used during the following situations:

  • When the baby is in a position other than cephalic. For example, breech.
  • When baby’s body or head is too large
  • When the gestational period is less than 32 weeks

The medical guidelines state that the vacuum extractor should only be used in the following circumstances:

  • When the head of the baby is deeply engaged within the birth canal
  • When the cervix of the mother is fully dilated
  • When the baby’s head is identified with certainty in a certain position
  • When the bladder of the mother is empty
  • When the baby has a proportionate body
  • Neonatal resuscitation is present in the medical facility

Vacuum extraction has its benefits when compared to forceps but with every positive aspect, there is a negative element to it. Vacuum extraction brings many risks for the unborn child including trauma, birth injuries, and even subgaleal hematoma. Vacuum extraction should only be approached as a trial delivery to ensure that no injuries are caused. For example, when an infant is not vaginally delivered within a certain time. Once the vacuum is used, if there is no progress, the doctor should consider other methods to deliver the baby like a C-section when the following occurs:

  • The traction of the vacuum is not causing any descent
  • If after three or four tractions the infant is still not delivered
  • If the cup pops off either once or twice
  • If the duration of the use of the vacuum is more than 30 minutes

Seeking Legal Advice from a Medical Malpractice Attorney

The medical professionals need to be knowledgeable about these medical guidelines that have been in place to reduce the chances of a birth injury. Unnecessary injuries can be caused if the medical professionals do not abide by these guidelines. Once a medical professional has caused an injury to a baby after deviating from these guidelines, the family of the baby will be entitled to file a claim against those who did not follow the guidelines.

The Ogden medical malpractice lawyers at Feller & Wendt, LLC understand how a birth injury can affect the child for the rest of their lives. They fight for the rights of those who have suffered a subgaleal hematoma at the hands of a negligent medical professional. An experienced legal professional at the firm will be able to guide the victims and exercise every right that they have.

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