One of the most common ways for a child to be injured during birth is by an intracranial hemorrhage, or “brain bleed.” This type of trauma can occur during labor and delivery complications, often caused by the negligence of doctors or nurses during or near the time of birth. While some brain bleeds are minor and heal in a short amount of time, others can be very serious and result in permanent brain damage or other lifelong disabilities, such as cerebral palsy, seizures, or developmental and intellectual disabilities.
Causes of intracranial hemorrhages include:
- Trauma during delivery (i.e. excessive pulling or twisting of the infant’s head)
- Improper use of vacuum extractors
- Improper use of forceps
- Oxygen deprivation (birth asphyxia)
- Failure to order a cesarean section when necessary
Types of Intracranial Hemorrhages
Intracranial hemorrhages refer to any bleeding within the brain or skull. There are five different types of brain bleeds:
- Cerebral hemorrhage: A type of stroke that results in bleeding in the brain.
- Subarachnoid hemorrhage: Bleeding within the space between the innermost two membranes covering the brain. More common in full term babies, this type of brain bleed can cause seizures, apnea, and lethargy.
- Intraventricular hemorrhage: Bleeding occurs in the brain’s ventricular system, where spinal fluid is produced. Usually seen in premature infants and infants with low birth weight, this is the most serious type of brain bleed.
- Subdural hemorrhage/hematoma: This type of bleed occurs when one or more blood vessels rupture in the area between the surface of the brain and the thin layer of tissue that separates the brain and skull. Subdural hemorrhages are usually caused by difficult deliveries and can cause bleeding in the vessels of the retina, rapidly enlarging head, high levels of bilirubin in the blood, and seizures.
- Cephalohematoma: Bleeding occurs between the skull and its covering, beginning a few hours after birth and usually lasting anywhere from a couple of weeks to a few months.
If you suspect your child’s birth injury was caused by doctor negligence, we invite you to contact Shrager, Spivey & Sachs and speak with a Philadelphia birth injury lawyer about your case. We are uncompromising in our representation of injury victims, especially when those victims are innocent children whose entire lives have been altered by a careless act. For more information on birth injuries and to talk to a lawyer about pursuing justice in the form of financial compensation, please call our office at (888) 899-0652.