10 Birth Injuries That Can Be Caused by Forceps

Published on October 15th, 2018

birth injuries improper use of forcepsThe most important job of a doctor in the delivery room is to guide the baby out of its mother’s womb safely. Not every birth goes smoothly and, sometimes, other interventions may be necessary to bring the child into the world. Forceps are a surgical instrument that resembles a pair of tongs and grip the child’s head to assist in delivery. When used properly, forceps are helpful. Used improperly, birth injuries can be the devastating result.

How Forceps Work

Medical advances have made the use of forceps far less common. A vacuum extractor serves the same purpose and, often, a doctor will rule in favor of a C-section over a dangerous vaginal delivery. Unfortunately, the reduced use of forceps has led to less experience and study with the tool. If doctors find themselves faced with no choice but to use forceps, a child’s life could be in danger.

When forceps are used properly and according to the standards of care, they can be a safe delivery option for a baby that is in distress because of prolonged labor, maternal exhaustion, or hemorrhage. The tongs are carefully placed near the ears and cheeks of the baby, on either side of its head, assisting with the infant’s progress through the birth canal and pulling gently with each contraction.

Short forceps are the standard in Michigan, the baby’s head cannot be accessed when it is still in the upper pelvis, and forceps should only be used when the cervix is fully dilated and membranes have ruptured. If delivery does not occur by the third forceps pull, the procedure should be abandoned in favor of a C-section. Two instruments – forceps and a vacuum extractor – should never be used one after the other. If one of the instruments is not successful, C-section is the only viable following option.

Birth Injuries Caused by Improper Use of Forceps

Proper placement of the forceps is critical. If placed improperly, the pressure on the baby’s soft head can cause severe damage and injuries. Forcefully pulling the infant or repositioning the forceps can also cause a birth injury caused by swelling or hemorrhaging. Improper use of forceps can lead to:

  1. Traumatic brain injury
  2. Skull fracture
  3. Permanent brain damage
  4. Nerve damage
  5. Disfigurement
  6. Retinal hemorrhage
  7. Intracranial hemorrhage
  8. Bruising
  9. Lacerations
  10. Brain bleeds

Some of these complications can lead to irreversible, catastrophic birth injuries, including cerebral palsy, neurological impairment, or death. The mother can also experience injuries from improper use of forceps

Get Compensation for a Birth Injury

Every healthcare professional in the labor and delivery room has an obligation and standard of care to uphold for both mother and baby. Things can and do go wrong during birth. Carrying out life-saving techniques in moments can prevent traumatic birth injuries from occurring.

If your child or you have sustained a permanent birth injury because of medical negligence, it is your right to seek monetary compensation for your family. Contact Thurswell Law for a free consultation with an experienced birth injury lawyer. We do not charge any fees unless you collect. Call (248) 354-2222 today to schedule your consultation.

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