Hydrocephalus is a condition that can be extremely dangerous for an infant. While some cases of hydrocephalus may occur due to reasons outside of a doctor’s control, this condition can also be caused by a doctor negligently handling a baby. That is why it is important to understand when a doctor or hospital could be held liable for a child developing acquiring hydrocephalus. If your child suffered a birth injury and developed hydrocephalus, contact an experienced Maryland birth injury lawyer today.
At Bennett & Heyman, P.A., we are dedicated to providing every client with the personalized legal representation they need to pursue their injury case. A birth injury to your newborn can be a frightening experience, and the negligent parties responsible should be held accountable for their poor actions. To schedule a free legal consultation to discuss your claim, contact Bennett & Heyman, P.A. at (410) 429-7856, or contact us online.
How Hydrocephalus Affects an Infant
Hydrocephalus is a condition that is identified by a buildup of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the ventricles (cavities) of the brain. If this fluid is not absorbed or cannot exit the brain cavities, it will increase the pressure inside of the skull. For an infant, this buildup of pressure will result in the bones in the skull expanding and severe swelling.
Common Causes of Hydrocephalus
Hydrocephalus can be caused by a number of reasons. As mentioned, hydrocephalus is a condition that a child could develop at birth. If a child is born with hydrocephalus, it is likely due to genetics or a condition like aqueductal stenosis that led to the congenital disability. However, a baby can also acquire hydrocephalus in the following ways:
- Brain bleeding
- Premature births (under 37 weeks)
- Abnormal blood vessel formation
It is also important to note that hydrocephalus can be caused due to a birth injury caused by a doctor or other medical staff. Birth injury trauma severe enough to cause hydrocephalus can be due to several reasons. For example, if a doctor incorrectly uses birthing tools to assist with the delivery of a child, this could cause the child a birth injury.
There are two types of birth assisting instruments that are often used by physicians to help with the birth of a child: forceps and vacuum suctions. Forceps are a tong-like instrument that is used to attach to the head of a child and pull them from the birth canal. If a doctor attaches the forceps to the wrong area or uses too much force when pulling the child, it can result in severe head trauma that can develop into hydrocephalus.
Similarly, vacuum suctions are also used to grip onto the head of a baby to pull them from the birth canal. However, if a doctor uses this instrument inappropriately, it can also cause damage to the skull of a child.
Signs and Symptoms of Hydrocephalus
There are various signs and symptoms of hydrocephalus that doctors and parents should be aware of when caring for a newborn. One symptom of hydrocephalus to watch for is the shape of a child’s head being abnormal.
Ordinarily, the head of a newborn child will have an unusual shape because the bones in their skull have yet to harden. This helps the baby travel through the birth canal and even safely store CSF without excessive swelling. However, if a child’s head is abnormally larger than other children at a similar age, this can be a sign that they suffer from hydrocephalus.
Other signs and symptoms of hydrocephalus include:
- Visible gaps between skull bones
- Bulging in certain parts of the skull
- Severe enlargement of head circumference
- Eyes of the infant constantly face downward (sunsetting)
This is not an exhaustive list. The severity of hydrocephalus may also determine what symptoms the child will experience. For example, some children could suffer from seizures, while others may be unable to reach growth milestones.
Hydrocephalus is a condition that could affect your child for the rest of their life. If your doctor failed to properly diagnose this condition or caused the condition, you should consider filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. Our firm is here to help you determine your legal options.
Contact an Experienced Baltimore Birth Injury Attorney You Can Trust
If your child was the victim of a birth injury, contact an experienced Baltimore birth injury attorney today. The birth of a child is a beautiful event that should not be jeopardized because of medical malpractice on behalf of a doctor. With decades of combined legal experience, the birth injury attorneys at Bennett & Heyman, P.A. would be honored to represent you in your time of need. To schedule a free legal consultation, contact Bennett & Heyman, P.A. at (410) 429-7856.