Birth Injuries Caused by Forceps & Vacuum Extractors
If a mother struggles during delivery, the doctor may use certain tools to help. Two of these tools are forceps and vacuum extractors. Forceps are used to help assist the birthing process when the mother is unable to push the baby out. The forceps are usually placed around the head of the baby. The vacuum extractor is a soft or hard cup that may be placed on the top and back of the baby’s head. It provides a suction that can help assist to pull the baby out.
At Hampton & King, our Houston birth injury attorneys know that while these tools can be helpful, they can also cause birth injuries if used incorrectly. Forceps and vacuum extractors have been used for decades and may be beneficial to some. If the doctor is negligent, the baby can be harmed, and the injuries sustained can cause lifelong conditions. Our firm provides a list of birth injuries that can occur as a result of forceps or vacuum extractors use.
Despite the consistent use of vacuum extractors for many years, the FDA has issued warnings that these tools can potentially cause harm to the health of the baby. There are certain things the doctor must take into consideration before using vacuum extractors. If the doctor decides to use a vacuum extractor:
- The baby should not be too large for the mother’s pelvis
- The baby should be younger than 34 weeks
- The baby’s head should be lower in the birth canal
- The baby should not need repositioning
- The mother should be dilated fully
Depending on how the vacuum extractor is used by the doctor, the severity of the birth injury can vary. However, a number of the conditions that may result from vacuum extractor use require long-term treatment and if left untreated, can result in death.
Vacuum extractor misuse can cause any of the following injuries:
- Shoulder dystocia
- Erb’s palsy
- Klumpke’s palsy
- Retinal hemorrhage
- Cerebral palsy
- Brain hemorrhage
- Skull fracture
Injuries caused by vacuum extractors can be prevented if used correctly. The mother can request that the doctor not use a vacuum extractor and instead use other tools such as forceps. The symptoms of vacuum extractor injuries can be serious and may require consistent care of the baby.
When the mother faces issues such as prolonged delivery, maternal exhaustion, hemorrhage, infection, or illness, the doctor may need to take measures to help get the baby out. This is often the most common time for the doctor to rely on forceps. Unfortunately, because of the way they may be used at times, it can cause serious trauma to both the mother and the baby.
The injuries often caused by forceps use include the following:
Potential Injuries to the Mother
- Lacerations in the lower genital tract area
- Tears in the lower genital tract area
- Urinary and / or fecal continence
- Bladder and urethra injuries
- Perineum pain
Potential Injuries to the Baby
- Bruising and head swelling
- Skull fractures
- Brain damage
- Facial palsy
- Facial injuries
Injuries caused by the negligence of a doctor while using forceps or vacuum extractors are distressing because they are preventable. They can impact the baby’s future abilities and require lifelong medical care depending on the severity.
If your baby was harmed by the use of forceps or vacuum extractors, you may be able to take legal action against the negligent party. Our Houston birth injury lawyers at Hampton & King are dedicated to helping our clients take the necessary action to right the wrongs done to them. Call today for your free consultation and learn how we can help you.