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The medical malpractice lawyers at Richards & Richards, LLP, have been helping families of babies who have been injured by forceps during the birthing process for more than 50 years. The use of forceps in obstetrics to manipulate a baby’s body out of his or her mother’s womb during the birthing process has been the cause of birth injuries since the practice was introduced in the mid-1800s.
The most common reasons for an attending physician or nurse to use forceps are breech presentations, shoulder dystocia, and other instances where the baby’s head will not pass swimmingly through the mother’s birth canal. A breech presentation occurs when the baby’s head is not in the correct position and baby’s rear end or feet leaves the mother’s pelvis first. Shoulder dystocia is an issue that arises when a baby’s shoulder cannot pass through the mother’s pubic bones. Other issues, such as a mother’s small pelvis, can also be the cause for the use of forceps.
In the past, the use of forceps was much more common than it is today. Fifty to a hundred years ago, if there was any sign of a problem, many physicians would not think twice about utilizing forceps for delivery. As the technology age developed, so too did the advent and use of specialized vacuums that are used in conjunction with the forceps to make the process faster and easier. However, it became apparent in recent decades that there were far too many injuries occurring as the result of forceps use. Today, most doctors must make absolutely sure that the benefits of using forceps and a vacuum extractor exceed the risks.
If a doctor is aware that there will be a difficult birth, a Caesarian section can be scheduled. If problems arise during birth, an emergency C-section can even be done with low chances of injury well into a woman’s labor. Of course, there is nothing we want more than our children to be born healthy and the process to be as painless as possible for both the mother and her newborn, but delivery problems are sometimes difficult to predict and serious measures must be taken.
Unfortunately, however, there are physicians and nurses who do not properly apply the use of forceps and extractor vacuums while attempting to extract the baby. This can happen because of negligence; however, more often we see that it is a lack of experience using the tools that leads to serious injuries in newborns.
When a doctor or nurse misuses or miscalculates his or her use of forceps and/or a vacuum extractor, it may result in lifelong health problems for both the mother and her child. Various problems that a mother can experience as a result of the misuse of forceps include injuries to the bladder and urethra, blood loss, infection, perineal injuries, and uterine rupture, which can be life-threatening.
Babies who are injured from the misuse of forceps can suffer from lifelong brain dysfunction, skull fracturing, physical disfigurement, and serious damage to facial nerves. In cases where the baby survives, years of medical treatment are necessary to ensure they will become a functioning adult. In cases where forceps were used for shoulder dystocia, the tool can damage the nerves or an extremity, causing that arm or leg to be paralyzed for the rest of the child’s life.
Do not let your child face a difficult life without all of the resources he or she deserves. Richards & Richards, LLP can help you secure full compensation for all of your losses. For a free initial consultation, call 412-261-2620 or contact us online.
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