The birth of a child should be a joyful and powerful experience. However, there are situations where complications make delivering a child difficult. In those situations, a doctor might choose to use forceps or a vacuum extractor to assist with the birth. If these instruments are misused, your child could suffer permanent and life-altering injuries.
The Law Offices of Randolph Rice has been handling complex medical malpractice lawsuits for decades and is prepared to help you. If your child suffered harm during delivery, contact our Maryland forceps or vacuum extractor equipment injury lawyer. Call (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
Reasons Forceps and Vacuum Extractors Are Used During Maryland Births
It is not uncommon for a mother giving birth vaginally to have complications that require assistance from her obstetrician. Depending on the problems encountered, a doctor might decide to use forceps or a vacuum extractor to assist the delivery.
Unfortunately, assisting a difficult delivery also presents a risk to the mother and child. An infant’s skull is soft, and the plates of the skull have not yet fused, which allows the child to pass through the birth canal. This condition also means the baby’s head is susceptible to bruising, disfigurement, or a traumatic brain injury. When forceps are applied with too much force or vacuum extraction is administered incorrectly, injuries to the child’s head could result.
Types of Injuries that Occur When Forceps are Used During Delivery in Maryland
Forceps are a surgical instrument that has been used by doctors for hundreds of years. These curved tongs are made of metal and are used to grasp the infant’s head. By gently applying pressure to the sides of the baby’s head, the doctor will guide and pull the infant through the birth canal.
If too much pressure or force is applied, the child could suffer a head or brain injury. The most common types of injuries are bruising or abrasions to the delicate scalp. While these types of injuries tend to be cosmetic and disappear in a few days, that is not always the case. When too much force is applied, or if the doctor allows the forceps to shift aggressively, severe injuries could occur, such as deep lacerations across the head or wounds that permanently disfigure the child.
A severe injury that an infant could suffer when forceps are used to assist a difficult delivery is swelling or bleeding inside the child’s skull. These types of medical errors often result in brain injuries or damage to the infant’s facial nerves. Additionally, when forceps are misapplied, the infant could sustain traumatic injuries on their face or to their eyes. When a doctor is reckless or careless when using forceps, their conduct could give rise to a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Common Birth Injuries Resulting from Forceps or Vacuum Extraction
There are two types of vacuum extractors generally used in Maryland hospitals and birthing facilities. The metal cup vacuum extractor is a more reliable method of assistance in a troublesome vaginal birth. However, it is also more likely to cause more trauma to the infant’s head. On the other hand, the soft cup vacuum extractor is much more gentle on the child’s scalp but tends to become dislodged during delivery, which could also harm the infant.
In most cases, the area of the infant’s head where the cup makes contact will experience some bruising and slight disfigurement. In most cases, these injuries are superficial and heal within a couple of days. However, when the pressure and suction applied by the vacuum extractor is not monitored carefully, the harm to the infant’s head could be much more severe and permanent. The mother is also vulnerable to injuries if the doctor is careless when inserting the extractor’s cup.
An infant could experience hemorrhaging of the brain if the suction applied is too great or if the cup is positioned incorrectly. When swelling of the head occurs, an infant typically requires immediate medical attention to avoid significant and permanent brain damage. If a doctor or their medical team is unprepared for this complication, the infant could suffer seizures, shock, anemia, and, in some instances, death.
Retinal injuries could also occur when vacuum extraction is applied. The pressure on the child’s head could cause blood vessels to burst around the infant’s eyes, giving them the appearance of being surrounded by a red ring. While this might be only cosmetic in most cases, in difficult situations, the child might experience lifelong vision problems.
Pulling the child through the birth canal by the head could also harm the nerves along the baby’s back, neck, or shoulders. When this occurs, the infant could suffer a brachial plexus injury, resulting in Erb’s palsy, Klumpke’s palsy, or other forms of weakness or paralysis.
If your doctor decides to use either forceps or a vacuum extractor in Maryland, they must be appropriately trained in their use and relatively sure that the decision is in the best interest of you and your child.
Can I File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit for Forceps or Vacuum Extraction Birth Injuries in Maryland?
In many cases, the mere use of surgical instruments to assist with vaginal delivery is negligent and potentially medical malpractice. Mothers experiencing a problematic vaginal birth should always be informed if forceps or a vacuum extractor will become necessary and the risks involved. Additionally, the alternatives to a physically assisted delivery should also be offered.
Often, the complications that create a difficult delivery are foreseeable. If a Maryland doctor is monitoring your pregnancy, then precautions and procedures should be in place to ensure the health of you and your child. In many cases, a c-section is a safer alternative than physically manipulating the infant by applying pressure on the baby’s head. If your child experienced any harm due to the negligent use of forceps or a vacuum extractor, you should be compensated for your emotional and financial damages.
Call Our Maryland Forceps or Vacuum Extractor Equipment Injury Lawyer for a Free Consultation
If your child suffered a severe birth injury due to the negligent use of surgical instruments during delivery, contact our Maryland birth injury attorney for forceps or vacuum extractor equipment injury today. Children who suffered serious birth injuries often need years of medical treatment, therapy, and healthcare. While a medical malpractice lawsuit will not restore the health of your infant, it could provide justice and the means to care for your child. Call the Law Offices of Randolph Rice at (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free appointment.