Most pregnant women go through labor and delivery without complications. Other women, on the other hand, experience problems during the labor and delivery process that result in medical action being taken. Often, this action is the use of a vacuum extractor or forceps, which can lead to harm.
When are forceps or a vacuum extractor used during birth?
When a delivery is complicated, forceps or a vacuum extractor may be used to free the baby from the birthing canal. Complications that may result in using forceps or a vacuum extractor to aid birth include shoulder dystocia (the baby’s shoulder gets stuck behind the mother’s pelvic bone), prolonged labor without the baby exiting the birthing canal, the baby’s head being far down the birth canal, distress for the baby or mother, or in other emergency situations where removing the baby from the birthing canal is essential. While using forceps or a vacuum extractor can be key in birthing a baby, they also can lead to serious injuries.
Types of Injuries Caused by Forceps and Vacuum Extractors
Vacuum extractors and forceps used in birthing rely on force to extract a baby who is having difficulty exiting the birth canal on his or her own. However, because force is employed, the baby may suffer injuries as a result. Types of common injuries that happen when vacuum extractors and/or forceps are used include the following.
- Brachial plexus injuries
- Scalp lacerations
- Subgaleal hemorrhages
- Nerve injuries
While vacuum extractors can harm a baby, vacuum extractions rarely cause harm to the mother. The use of forceps, though, can cause harm to both mother and baby when used incorrectly or unnecessarily.
What should I do if a vacuum extractor or forceps harmed my baby?
Using forceps or a vacuum extractor should only be necessary in critical situations when no other option is available. And even then, the use of forceps or a vacuum extractor should be executed with the utmost care. When a high level of care is not taken, or forceps or a vacuum extractor are used unnecessarily, a baby may sustain unnecessary -- and sometimes permanent -- harm as a result. When this happens, the parents of the baby have the right to seek damages on the behalf of their child.
In order to recover damages, the first step is determining liability for the vacuum extractor or forceps birth injury. Usually, liability lies with the obstetrician/health care provider who was responsible for delivering the baby. If the provider used forceps/a vacuum extractor but shouldn’t have or didn’t use the devices properly, leading to your baby’s harm, then the healthcare provider will be responsible for paying damages.
Types of Damages Available in a Negligence During Childbirth Suit
Parents can file a claim on the behalf of their injured child for damages. Available damages include costs of all injury-related medical expenses, physical pain, suffering, mental anguish, loss of ability to enjoy life, and more. In the rare event that the use of forceps or a vacuum extractor leads to fatal injuries for a baby, the parents can recover compensation for funeral and burial expenses, loss of the child’s earning capacity, and loss of consortium/companionship. There are no caps on damages for injuries resulting in death in Pennsylvania. All claims for damages must be filed within two years following the date of the injury under Pennsylvania Statutes Section 5524.
Set Up Your Free Consultation with a Birth Injury Attorney Today
The sooner that you set up your consultation with a birth injury attorney in Pennsylvania, the sooner that you can begin the process of recovering damages for your injured child. At Cordisco & Saile LLC, you can call us anytime to set up your free initial consultation. Reach us at 215-642-2335 to begin now.