Forceps Delivery Complications
Were you or your unborn baby the victim of medical malpractice that led to a birth injury? Did the doctor make an error that led to a forceps birth delivery complication?
The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers handle medical negligence cases and can serve as your legal advocates.
Call our birth injury lawyers today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or use the contact form to schedule a free case evaluation to discuss your family's legal rights concerning your baby's preventable birth trauma caused by medical malpractice. Let us review your confidential or sensitive information and seek justice on your behalf.
Specific birth injuries are not uncommon, and the majority of injuries suffered during delivery are minor and easily treated with proper monitoring and care.
Forceps deliveries increase the risk of trauma and complications and should only be performed if there is fetal distress or extended labor when the baby cannot easily make it through the birth canal.
An obstetrician needs to be selective about the use of forceps or vacuum extraction (which is similar to the use of a forceps delivery). Improper use of forceps during an immediate delivery process can cause a severe birth injury.
In addition, forceps use is a complicated medical procedure, notwithstanding how the medical provider describes it.
Why Doctors Use Forceps
For decades, doctors have used forceps, a medical instrument to extract the baby during labor and delivery. The instrument works similarly to a pair of salad tongs or long spoons. For example, the delivery doctor could use the two large spoons to pull the baby's head through the birth canal gently.
A medical professional using forceps improperly during an assisted vaginal delivery increases the risk of severe brain damage and other specific forceps birth injuries. In addition, even the proper use of forceps can cause catastrophic life-altering injuries to the baby's head, shoulders, neck, and torso.
The doctor is responsible for the early diagnosis of prenatal distress that could cause oxygen deprivation, leading to cerebral palsy and developmental delays. Any forceps delivery injury caused by a lack of oxygen could lead to severe injuries, including:
- Brain bleed
- Brain damage
- Challenges with speaking
- Difficulty swallowing
- External eye trauma
- Facial nerve damage
- Facial nerve palsy
- Major and minor facial injuries
- Muscle stiffness
- Poor muscle coordination
- Restricted facial movement
- Severe nerve injuries
- Skull fractures
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Traumatic head injury
- Tremors and ticks
During childbirth, the attending doctor might consider a forceps delivery if the mother is in labor and pushing, but the birthing process stops progressing.
The doctor may be concerned over the baby's heartbeat rate (fetal distress), or the mother's heart disease could be a contributing factor to complications, or blood pressure is too high. Any complication may require an immediate assisted delivery using vacuum extractors or forceps.
Vaginal Delivery or C-Section?
In many forceps birth injury cases, the doctor will use forceps to guide the baby's head, neck, and shoulders out of the birth canal. While a forceps delivery might be the best option for a vaginal birth if the mother is challenged pushing the baby through the birth canal, a C-section (cesarean section) might avoid harming the baby.
Because the chance of a forceps birth injury is high, the doctor will likely choose to use forceps only if the hospital or birthing center can do a C-section. Any unsuccessful forceps delivery will likely result in a C-section to avoid childbirth injuries.
Although severe injuries are rare from others, forceps injuries can cause life-changing damage requiring ongoing, extensive medical care.
Some severe injuries to the mother could include perineum pain, lower urethra (lower genital tract) tears, short and long-term urinary incontinence, short and long-term fecal incontinence, and urethra uterine rupture, weakening ligaments and muscles in the pelvic organs.
The Medical Standards of Care for Using Forceps
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the health care provider must follow criteria to proceed with the use of forceps during vaginal deliveries, including ensuring that the mother's cervix is fully dilated. The criteria include:
- There must have been a rupture of membranes while the infant's head is engaged
- The baby is in an abnormal position in the birth canal
- The infant's weight can be estimated
- The mother's pelvis is adequate to deliver through the birth canal and will not require an emergency cesarean delivery
Doctors use forceps in approximately one percent of all vaginal deliveries. However, the use of forceps has fallen dramatically in recent decades as the medical community recognizes that cesarean births are safer.
Injured victims file many medical malpractice claims harmed by negligent use of forceps, where the doctor's mistakes cause catastrophic consequences for the mother or baby who suffered severe injury.
The Signs of Cerebral Palsy
Any complication using vacuum extraction or forceps during delivery could cause severe complications. Statistically, about 10% of all cases involving cerebral palsy were sustained when the doctor uses forceps.
Cerebral palsy is usually the result of depriving the child's brain of oxygen that compromises the baby's breathing and circulatory system. Cerebral palsy is usually identified in the early stages of infancy or during the child's preschool years. Common signs of cerebral palsy that could alter the child's life include:
- Involuntary movements
- Unsteady walking
- Flabbiness in the arms and trunk
- Abnormal reflexes
- Abnormal posture
Cerebral palsy is a result of traumatic injury to the head during or after childbirth. The brain injury affects the child's balance, movement, and muscle tone.
Attorneys for Medical Malpractice Claims for Forceps Injury
Doctors and attending nurses may be liable for medical malpractice for any act of negligence during a forceps delivery that causes a birth injury if it is determined that the severe injury could have been prevented.
The medical malpractice claim may result in financial compensation for your family. The monetary recovery can pay your medical bills & lost wages and compensate for the pain and suffering and future medical expenses to treat the medical condition.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC is a personal injury law firm in Chicago, Illinois, dedicated to holding every negligent medical professional accountable for harming innocent victims. Our legal team builds cases to ensure that the families living with the lifelong consequences of a forceps delivery injury do not need to endure an additional financial burden.
Call birth injury lawyers at (888) 424-5757 or use the contact form today to schedule a free consultation if you need a medical malpractice attorney. Our legal team works directly with the defendant's insurance company or attorneys to resolve your injury case through a negotiated settlement or present evidence in court before a judge and jury.
Stuck in the Birth Canal: Risks to the Mother During a Forceps Delivery
Forceps deliveries may cause harm to the mother as well as the child, and common injuries that occur to the mother include the following.
- Damage to the lower urinary tract, resulting in difficulty urinating, incontinence, pain, swelling, and infections
- Uterine rupture, which is when the delivery causes the child to be pushed through the uterus into the mother's abdominal cavity, posing a severe risk to her life
- Anemia brought about by internal bleeding
- Pelvic organ prolapse, which is caused by weakened pelvic muscles that are unable to hold the pelvic organs in place
The injuries caused by improper use of forceps are avoidable. Medical staff should exercise due care when deciding to use forceps, like when executing a delivery with this surgical instrument.
Risks to the Child During a Forceps Delivery
The newborn is at risk for many complications during a forceps delivery and may have suffered trauma before the procedure was ordered. Fetal distress is often why a medical professional will order a forceps delivery, and using forceps is often the last option chosen before an emergency cesarean section.
The most common injuries to infants during a forceps delivery include the following.
- Injuries to the face vary in severity. In some forceps delivery injury cases, there may be paralysis of facial muscles known as facial palsy. In other cases, the baby may suffer from Erb's palsy.
- A skull fracture causes multiple complications such as internal bleeding, brain damage, cerebral palsy, or death
- Other bone fractures in areas damaged by the obstetric forceps
- Swelling or internal bleeding inside the skull present even in the absence of a fracture caused by damage to the baby's head during childbirth
- Seizures brought on by severe injury to the brain
- Injuries to the shoulder such as a brachial plexus injury or shoulder dystocia
While a medical professional may decide to use forceps as a life-saving measure, it often places both mother and baby at significant risk of severe injuries and long-lasting health problems.
In rare cases, delivery by forceps causes catastrophic injuries, where parents must file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor or hospital for their negligence or wrongdoing.
When to Consult a Birth Injury Lawyer After a Forceps Delivery
Medical malpractice cases can be challenging and have a lower success rate than other personal injury cases. Has your child suffered a severe forceps delivery injury? Collect as many details as possible about the care provided through the delivery and speak with an attorney about your legal options.
The medical malpractice attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC will evaluate and investigate the details of your medical malpractice case for free if you feel that you do not know where to begin collecting information. In addition, our law firm has medical experts available who will support your claim and provide testimony to prove deviation from the standard of care when it causes severe birth injury.
Contact a birth injury lawyer at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today to schedule a free and confidential consultation. Then, we can begin to fight on your behalf for the compensation you are entitled to receive. Of course, we will never expect payment until we win or settle your medical malpractice lawsuit.
All confidential or sensitive information you share with our medical malpractice law firm remains private through an attorney-client relationship. In addition, our entire team of birth injury attorneys currently follow CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Covid-19 (coronavirus pandemic) social distancing guidelines to ensure our clients' safety.
Many medical malpractice cases have already been resolved through million-dollar settlements to ensure families have sufficient financial compensation for providing all the treatment and caring their child requires.