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Birth Injuries Caused by Medical Devices

Published on May 4, 2018 at 3:26 pm in Birth Injury.

Birth injuries can result from a range of negligent actions and conduct during pregnancy, labor, and delivery – including the improper use of forceps and vacuum extractors. While both of these medical devices can assist physicians during difficult deliveries, they must be used in accordance to strict standards. When medical professionals fail to use forceps or vacuum extractors properly, they can be held liable for preventable birth injuries, including those resulting in long-term and life-altering effects on children and their families.

At Shrager & Sachs, our Philadelphia attorneys have established our firm as a proven practice capable of protecting the rights of victims who suffer preventable harm due to medical malpractice. Over the years, our team has been dedicated to protecting the rights of families who have suffered injuries and losses as a result of substandard medical care – including substandard care resulting in preventable birth injuries. In birth injury cases involving forceps and vacuums, we closely evaluate the facts and circumstances at hand to hold treating nurses, doctors, or other medical professionals accountable for their negligence.

Forceps Injuries

Forceps are devices that enable a physician or health care provider to guide a baby’s head through the birth canal, and are typically used during difficult deliveries, when a mother has become exhausted, and when other factors or complications are present. Because the head and neck of a newborn are incredibly fragile, forceps must be used properly without applying excessive pressure or twisting. They must also be correctly positioned, as incorrectly placed forceps can cause catastrophic injury, and used at appropriate times.

When used improperly, forceps can cause a number of serious injuries, including:

  • Facial lacerations or nerve damage
  • Skull fractures
  • Blood clots and strokes
  • Hypoxic brain damage
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Injuries to the mother

Determining whether birth injuries resulted from improper forceps use requires close evaluation of the circumstances present during labor and delivery. Among the many factors at play, our legal team focuses on whether the use of forceps was appropriate (as there are situations when they should not be used) and whether they were used properly by the treating medical professional. Should it be determined that forceps were improperly used or used at an inappropriate time, victims may have the right to hold the treating health care provider accountable for negligence, and liable for resulting injuries and damages.

Vacuum Extractor Injuries

Vacuum extractors are another medical device used to facilitate birth in difficult deliveries. Because they pose significant risks of injuries to newborns, however, there are strict standards in place for when and how they should be used. For example, FDA warnings have approved vacuum delivery only under clarified and limited circumstances:

  • The baby is younger than 34 weeks
  • The baby is not too large for the mother’s pelvis
  • The baby should not require repositioning
  • The baby’s head is low enough in the birth canal
  • The mother is fully dilated

When misused, vacuum extractors can cause trauma-related injuries such as:

  • Skull fractures
  • Hemorrhaging
  • Seizures
  • Motor and mental impairment
  • Brachial plexus injuries
  • Hypoxic brain damage
  • Cerebral palsy

Medical Malpractice & Your Rights

Victims of medical malpractice have the right to hold negligent nurses, doctors, and health care providers accountable for preventable injuries. If you believe you or your child suffered harm as a result of improperly used forceps or vacuum extractors, our experienced Philadelphia birth injury attorneys are standing by to review your case, discuss your rights, and explain how we can help you pursue the compensation you rightfully deserve. Contact us for a FREE consultation.

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