As birth-assisting tools, vacuums and forceps can be incredibly helpful for physicians during the labor and delivery process, allowing them to safely guide the newborn baby through the birth canal. Unfortunately, these same tools can also cause serious injuries when used improperly – and such injuries can also result in life-altering complications and conditions that continue to impact a child’s development.
At Spohrer Dodd, our birth injury attorneys in Jacksonville have over 150 years of combined experience helping families navigate the complexities of these cases. We understand how painful and overwhelming it can be to pursue a lawsuit during this difficult time, which is why our highly-skilled team will take the burden off your hands and use our considerable resources to advocate for a fair outcome.
Contact our Jacksonville birth injury team today at (904) 637-7721 to schedule an appointment. We serve clients in Florida and across the U.S.
How do childbirth assistance tools cause injuries?
Vaginal labor can be long and difficult, and whenever this is the case, there is an increased risk that the child will suffer serious brain damage or other injuries due to birth trauma. An extremely old delivery tool, forceps resemble curved set of metal tongs, which are then used to grip the baby’s head and guide them through the birth canal. Many physicians also turn to vacuum extraction as an old technique for delivery, which applies suction to the baby’s scalp with a metal or a soft cup.
Of course, newborn infants are extremely delicate, and both vacuum extractors and forceps can result in bruising, disfigurement, fractures, and internal bleeding. Each tool is also prone to unique errors: While vacuums may exert less force on the infant’s nerves and skull, they are also more strongly associated with hemorrhage and internal complications. It is up to the doctor to draw from their knowledge to protect children from unnecessary risk – and those who do not live up to this care standard may be held accountable for the family’s financial, physical, and emotional losses.
Forceps and Vacuums: FAQs
When is the use of forceps or extractors considered to be malpractice?
Not all injuries caused by forceps and vacuum extractors will be lasting and permanent. In order to have a medical malpractice case against your healthcare provider, you must be able to demonstrate that they violated the “standard of care” that a reasonable provider would have used in the same situation. You must also show that their failures resulted in serious injuries.
Here are a few ways that medical negligence can result in vacuum and forceps injuries:
- Applying too much force while using birthing tools
- Unnecessary delay of C-section procedures
- Using the wrong tool for the situation at hand
- Lack of training or dedicated equipment to complete a C-section
- Failing to monitor the infant’s vital signs during childbirth
- Using contaminated or defective tools
- Failing to provide proper care after birth injuries
How many births involve birth-assisting tools?
According to one study published in Reviews in Obstetrics & Gynecology, at least 5% of deliveries in the United States involve forceps or vacuum extractors. These are also called “operative vaginal deliveries.” Use of birth-assisting tools tends to be lower in areas where doctors have better access to medical resources, as C-section procedures take significantly more time (and staff members) to safely execute.
What are the most common injuries caused by birthing tools?
Some of the most common injuries caused by operative vaginal deliveries:
- Scalp bleeding and external wounds
- Hemorrhage (Cephalohematoma)
- Skull fractures
- Eye bleeding or loss of vision
- Neonatal jaundice
- Cerebral palsy
- Intellectual and developmental disabilities
- Brachial plexus injuries, or stretching of the nerves behind the neck and shoulders
- Maternal reproductive and genital injuries
Our Jacksonville attorneys at Spohrer Dodd are here to help if your child suffered a forceps or vacuum extraction injury during birth. Contact us today at (904) 637-7721.