Birth Injuries Caused by Forceps & Vacuums
Many complications and issues can arise during childbirth. Sometimes, an obstetrician-gynecologist (OBGYN) will use birth-assistive tools, such as forceps and vacuums, to aid in delivery during complicated cases. While these tools may be medically necessary for some situations, they can come with needless risks to the baby in others. Even if birth-assistive devices were necessary, an OBGYN may be guilty of misusing these tools and causing a birth injury through medical malpractice.
What Injuries and Ailments Can Occur From Birth Injuries?
Birth injuries refer to any harm done to an infant or mother before, during or shortly after childbirth. A family in New Jersey may have grounds to file a medical malpractice lawsuit for a birth injury if a reasonable and prudent health care practitioner would have done something differently in the same circumstances, and if this would have prevented the birth injury from taking place. Many different injuries, ailments and medical conditions can occur from birth injuries, including:
- Skull fractures and other broken bones
- Shoulder injuries
- Brachial plexus injuries
- Erb’s palsy
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Brain hypoxia (inadequate oxygen)
- Cerebral palsy
- Developmental delays
- Spinal cord injuries
- Paralysis or nerve damage
- Temporary facial paralysis
- Bruising or swelling
- Scalp lacerations
- Scarring or disfigurement
While birth injuries do not always signify medical malpractice, they deserve further investigation. Hiring a New Jersey medical malpractice lawyer to search for signs of misconduct or carelessness on the part of the attending physician could lead to evidence that proves medical negligence. This could make your family eligible for financial compensation for a birth injury.
When and Why Are Vacuums and Forceps Needed?
A common form of medical malpractice is the misuse of birth-assistive devices. An assisted delivery is not unusual and may be necessary if any complications arise during labor or delivery. Two of the most frequently used devices are vacuums and forceps. A vacuum extractor is a tool that uses suction to pull the baby through the birth canal or turn the infant’s head into a better position for delivery. This tool allows for control over the strength of the suction to keep it to the minimum amount that will serve the doctor’s purposes.
Forceps are metal tools that resemble tongs, with two loops that can be used to gently hold the baby’s head. A physician may use forceps to pull or turn a baby’s head to assist with delivery. The amount of pressure used should be kept to a reasonable and safe amount for the infant. Vacuums and forceps may be needed in situations where an infant is in a difficult position for normal delivery, if the baby isn’t receiving enough oxygen and needs to be delivered immediately, if the mother is physically exhausted and cannot push, or if the mother has received an epidural that makes pushing less effective.
How Can You Tell if a Birth Injury Was Caused by Medical Malpractice?
The careless or negligent misuse of forceps and vacuums by a health care provider during delivery can cause serious birth injuries. Common examples include skull fractures, bruising, facial fractures, trauma to the facial nerves, cephalohematoma (blood pooling between the baby’s scalp and skull), brain bleeds, brain damage and cerebral palsy. If your infant is diagnosed with any type of injury or medical condition shortly after birth or in the first few years of his or her life, discuss the possibility of medical malpractice with an experienced attorney in New Jersey.
A New Jersey personal injury attorney can carefully investigate the birth of your child, analyzing evidence such as medical records and eyewitness statements. Then, your lawyer can hire qualified medical experts to assist in proving your case. If evidence is discovered that points to the misuse of forceps or vacuums, your family may be eligible for financial compensation for a related birth injury. Although no amount of money can take back the injuries that your child sustained, fair compensation can help you pay for related expenses, hold a negligent OBGYN accountable and move forward.