A baby’s birth is one of life’s most rewarding experience. All parents dream of smooth, safe deliveries, but sometimes, serious childbirth complications arise. At such moments, your medical team must respond quickly and competently to ensure the health and safety of both you and your child. Toward this end, birth-assisting tools, such as vacuum extractors and forceps, are sometimes necessary to aid the birthing process.
The Need for Assisted Delivery
Sometimes a baby’s birth necessitates assisted delivery. Some mothers, for example, experience protracted, difficult births that leave them too exhausted to push a baby to delivery. Additionally, unborn babies can experience fetal distress, exhibit dangerous vital signs, or be in dangerous birthing positions that medical teams must address immediately. If a cesarean section is not a possibility, the delivering doctor may call upon birth-assisting tools to help ensure the health and safety of both the mother and child.
The Use of Birth-Assisting Tools
The most commonly used birth-assisting tools are vacuum extractors and forceps. These tools have been in use for decades and can play an important role in safe and healthy deliveries. When used incorrectly, however, these tools can lead to serious birth injuries. Medical professionals have a duty of care in all facets of the birthing process, and failing to use birth-assisting tools correctly can be in direct conflict with this duty. While birth-assisting tools can help decrease delivery time as well as decrease serious and often life-threatening complications, they can also cause permanent and even fatal injuries.
When a vacuum extractor is employed, the doctor who is delivering the baby uses a flexible suction cup that attaches to the baby’s head and helps guide the infant safely through the birth canal. When properly implemented, the vacuum’s pressure can cause the newborn to suffer only temporary injuries. These can include bleeding inside the eye (retinal hemorrhage) or swelling of the infant’s head. When a vacuum is used incorrectly, however, it can cause far more serious, permanent injuries.
Some unborn infants are positioned in such a way that the delivery doctor will resort to using forceps to help right the baby’s positioning and carefully pull the baby through the birth canal. These forceps consist of curved surgical tongs that can be used to carefully grip the baby’s head and to move the baby forward. Forceps often cause temporary bruising to the infant’s head and face, but incorrect usage can lead to serious permanent injuries, including spinal injuries.
Making the Right Medical Decisions
The medical team in charge of your delivery must assess your unique delivery situation. This team is responsible for making the important medical decisions that will help ensure the safe delivery of your healthy new baby. Most medical professionals have the experience, skill, and dedication to respond to medical situations appropriately and effectively. Sometimes, however, they make egregious mistakes that can have catastrophic consequences.
There are numerous birth injuries that are often linked to the improper use of birth-assisting tools, such as the following:
- Swelling of the baby’s head or scalp
- Facial paralysis
- Blood clots or hemorrhaging
- Birth asphyxia, which can cause fetal stroke
- Brachial plexus injury (weakness or loss of feeling or movement in the shoulder, arm, or hand)
- Dejerine-Klumpke palsy or Klumpke paralysis (partial palsy of the lower brachial plexus)
- Strangulation or injury by the umbilical cord
- Spinal cord damage
- Brain injuries from lack of oxygen
- Cephalohematoma (pooling of blood underneath the scalp)
- Cerebral palsy (movement, muscle tone, or posture disorder)
- Erb’s palsy (paralysis of the arm)
- Shoulder dystocia (slow or difficult birth caused by shoulder obstruction that creates risk factors for both the mother and the baby)
- Bone fractures
Having a baby is naturally one of the most joyous occasions you will ever experience. If your delivery becomes complicated and your medical team does not cope with those complications adequately, you could face tragic consequences. Your obstetric nurses and doctor are professionally trained to monitor for signs of fetal distress throughout your labor and delivery, and most deal with the first signs of complications quickly and competently. Failing to do so, however, can lead to tragic birth injuries that could have been avoided. If your infant has suffered a birth injury that you believe could have been caused by medical error, you may have a viable legal claim.
Birth Injuries Can Have Lifelong Consequences
Birth injuries caused by birth-assisting tools can lead to lifelong cognitive and physical disabilities. The consequences of such injuries are often physically, financially, and emotionally overwhelming for the entire family. Children who suffer severe injuries can require ongoing medical treatment and, in accommodation of their special needs, often require additional caregiver and daily-living services. Some parents are even forced to stop working to provide full-time care.
The consequences of birth injuries are potentially so dire that you should retain immediate legal counsel if you believe your child suffered a birth injury due to inadequate medical treatment. In such an event, it is important to act quickly. The process of determining fault is often complicated, and your skilled birth accident lawyer will immediately begin collecting evidence, interviewing the medical professionals involved, and determining fault for your child’s birth injury.
Contact a New Port Richey Birth Injury Law firm
With the advent of modern medicine, giving birth has become a much safer endeavor. Unfortunately, the same modern advancements that can successfully assist in the miracle of birth also have the potential to cause serious injury when administered incorrectly. While some birth injuries are simply unavoidable, others are caused by medical negligence and these injuries can have catastrophic consequences. Medical negligence is not always easily recognizable, so if your baby has a birth injury, consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible after recognizing the injury. The experienced New Port Richey birth injury attorneys at the Dolman Law Group are here to help. We are dedicated to helping birth-injury victims, and we have the skill and commitment to bring your birth injury case to its best possible resolution. Please contact or call us at (727) 853-6275 for a free consultation today.
Dolman Law Group
5435 Main Street
New Port Richey, FL 34652