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Louisiana birth injury: Delivery-related skull fractures

The labor and delivery process is tough on mom and baby. Unfortunately, too many babies born in Louisiana and elsewhere do not make it through the process unscathed. When a birth injury occurs, it is normal for parents to question whether it could have been prevented and if their health care providers were responsible. This week, this column will address one specific type of birth injury that can have long-term consequences for a child: skull fractures.

When a child suffers a skull fracture, it means that there was a break in one of the bones that make up the head. This type of injury is usually the result of a sudden impact. However, in terms of the birthing process, skulls fractures may happen if a child gets stuck in the birth canal or medical providers use forceps or other birth assist devices -- among other reasons.

A skull fracture in a newborn infant may not be noticed right away, as most babies heads are misshapen at first. However, signs that one or more skull fractures occurred during labor and delivery include lumps on the head, bruising and a bulging fontanelle. This type of injury may be treated with:

  • Medication for pain
  • Antibiotics
  • Medication for seizures
  • Diuretics
  • Surgery

Depending on severity of the birth injury, a child may experience damage to the brain which can affect his or her growth and development. This, of course, can limit a child's abilities and chances for a normal life. It can also place emotional and financial burdens on parents. Those in Louisiana whose children suffered skull fractures during the labor and delivery process and who believe medical negligence contributed to those injuries may have legal recourse. An experienced birth injury attorney can review one's case and, if doing so is deemed appropriate, help one pursue compensation for any resulting damages.

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