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All pregnancies have risks. Fortunately, technology has brought us a long way and we are usually able to detect problems before they happen. However, there are still those instances during the delivery of the baby where problems can arise and emergency extractions, such as the use of a vacuum and/or forceps, must be used to enhance the safety of your newborn.
Most OBGYNs and midwives are excellent at their profession. They pay close attention to details and quickly understand when a problem is occurring. If they feel the need to use a vacuum, the delivery can be fast, painless, and free of injury to both mother and baby.
Unfortunately, however, when vacuum extractors are not used as they were intended or are used by an inexperienced physician, the results can be devastating. Injuries from vacuum extractors are sometimes irreversible and can lead to a lifetime of unending medical and nursing care. And this does not even take into effect the mental suffering of parents who did everything they could to keep their baby healthy while in the womb, only to be shocked when a vacuum extraction severely injures their newborn.
When complications during delivery lead to the baby being stuck in the vaginal canal, a vacuum extraction may be employed. Sometimes, a vacuum extractor is used alongside forceps for deliver; other times, the vacuum is used alone. The vacuum assists the nurse or doctor who is delivering your baby for you. It helps to guide the child through the birth canal. It is a machine with a metal or plastic cup on the end of it that is placed on the baby’s head while the baby is being delivered. Once the cup is in place, a physician or nurse can manually stimulate suction with a hand pump, or use an electronic compressor to create the suction needed to assist the medical professional with delivering the child.
There are various reasons why a vacuum extractor might be used. If the woman is experiencing a prolonged labor and has been pushing for more than two hours without any progress, a vacuum can be used to assist the doctor when pulling the baby through the birth canal. A vacuum can also be used during a breech birth. If the child is being born in a breech position, that is feet- or buttocks-first, a vacuum can be used to speed up the birthing process. If a child’s shoulders are too large to fit through the birth canal and the child gets stuck, otherwise known as shoulder dystocia, a vacuum can be used to aid the attending physician. Vacuums can also be used to avoid a C-section, if the mother is too tired to adequately push, or if it is determined that the baby is going through fetal distress and needs to be delivered quickly.
There are several reasons why a mother-to-be should not have a vacuum extractor used on her during the delivery process. When a physician or nurse uses a vacuum extractor and serious injuries are sustained by mother and/or child, it may be a case of medical malpractice. Medical professionals should think twice before performing a vacuum extraction if the mother is less than thirty-four weeks into her pregnancy, has a blood disorder, a small pelvis, or if the use of forceps or a vacuum extractor failed during a previous pregnancy. If the baby is experiencing any type of problems, such as cephalopelvic disproportion, cranial edema, or overlapping cranial bones, the use of a vacuum may cause brain injuries. In addition, if the position of the baby’s head is not known, or the baby has a bone or blood deficiency, a vacuum may cause injury. And, most importantly, if the doctor or nurse delivering the baby is not experienced in using a vacuum extractor, it is not recommended.
Other reasons a vacuum extractor may be suggested against include: if the baby is abnormally positioned, if the baby has not passed at least half way through the birth canal, or if the baby is excessively big or heavy. If the baby is excessively big, the doctor or nurse should have known that prior to labor and plan to perform a caesarian section.
If a medical professional used a vacuum extractor during your birthing process and either you or your baby suffered injuries, you may have a medical malpractice claim against that professional and the institution where they are employed. Birth injuries can lead to a lifetime of medical bills and personal pain and anguish for you and your child. Call the birth injury attorneys at Richards & Richards today for a free consultation at 412-261-2620. Attorney Veronica Richards is both a nurse practitioner and a certified Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawyer. She prides herself in her passion for patient care and uses her medical knowledge to help her clients get the compensation they deserve because of the negligence of other medical professionals. Call today.