What is Neonatal Subgaleal Hemorrhage?
A neonatal subgaleal hemorrhage is a potentially lethal condition that
can affect newborn infants. It is a type of extracranial hemorrhage, meaning
that it takes place outside of the skull, and occurs when a vein is ruptured,
causing it to bleed into the space between the scalp and the skull. Also
known as the subgaleal space, this type of
birth injury is one of the most serious brain bleeds because nearly half of an infant’s
blood volume can bleed into that space.
If your child suffered a serious birth injury, call us at (615) 933-2893
to discuss your case with a member of our firm today.
At Kinnard, Clayton & Beveridge, our Nashville birth injury attorneys
have provided injured victims and their families with the experienced
legal representation they need for more than 35 years. Through our efforts,
our firm has recovered hundreds of million dollars in verdicts and settlements,
and we’re committed to continuing that record of success for as
long as our services are required. If your child suffered a serious birth
injury, contact us today to begin planning your next step.
What Causes A Neonatal Subgaleal Hemorrhage?
Vacuum extractors, generally used in order to speed up a difficult delivery,
have dangerous side effects when used improperly. An estimated 90 percent
of all subgaleal hemorrhages are caused by the improper use of a vacuum
extractor during the delivery. Misuses of the device that can cause subgaleal
- Applying too much force
- Attempting to pull too hard
- Leaving the suction cup on the infant’s head for a long period of time
- Improperly placing the suction cup on the infant’s head
- An excessive number of attempts at using the vacuum extractor
While improper use of a vacuum extractor is by far the most common cause
of a subgaleal hemorrhage, other traumatic events during labor and delivery,
including the use of forceps when attempting to assist the birth, can
cause this kind of bleed.
What Happens To An Infant Suffering From A Neonatal Subgaleal Hemorrhage?
If an infant was delivered with the assistance of a vacuum extractor, their
vital signs, red blood cell count, ability to form blood clots, and head
size are required to be constantly monitored. If not diagnosed and treated
immediately, infants can go into shock. As the bleed continues, the infant’s
head will continue to swell that can shift whenever they move. The infant
will likely have pale skin, a fast heart rate, have difficulty feeding,
become lethargic, have periods where they cease breathing, and may suffer
from seizures due to the blood loss.
Treating a subgaleal hemorrhage includes aggressive administration of blood
products like frozen plasma and packed red blood cells to avoid low blood
pressure-induced shock. Saline may also be administered in order to treat
ongoing bleeding and coagulation problems, and surgery may be required
to remove the excess blood in the infant’s subgaleal space.
If not properly managed, infants who sustain and survive subgaleal hemorrhages
have an increased risk of:
- Permanent brain damage
- Cerebral palsy
- Seizure disorders
- Developmental delays
- Intellectual disabilities
- Abnormally elevated bilirubin levels
Neonatal subgaleal hemorrhages are among the most serious birth injuries
an infant can sustain. According to the Canadian Medical Association Journal
(CMAJ), approximately one in four infants who require neonatal intensive
care for this condition die. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
public health advisory regarding the risks associated with vacuum assisted delivery devices nearly
20 years ago. In it, the FDA states:
“While no instrumented delivery is risk free, we are concerned that
some health care professionals who use vacuum assisted delivery devices,
or those who care for these infants following delivery, may not be aware
that the device may produce life-threatening complications.”
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Hire The Legal Representation You Need Today
If your infant sustained a neonatal subgaleal hemorrhages, contact the
Nashville birth injury attorneys at Kinnard, Clayton & Beveridge today.
We have handled more medical malpractice cases than any other plaintiff’s
firm in Tennessee, so you know that we have the experience and know-how
necessary to get you the compensation you deserve. Call us at (615) 933-2893,
or fill out the online form to tell us more about your case today.