According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Report (AHRQ), about 6 to 8 out of every 1,000 infants born in the United States is born with a birth injury. When it comes to birth injuries for mothers, the injury rate is highest for those who undergo birthing tool-assisted deliveries, and who are between the ages of 25 and 34. The lowest incidence of injury to mothers occurs when the mothers are 40 to 54.
Forceps birth injuries
Forceps are an implement that obstetricians use to assist a vaginal delivery. The instrument, which looks like giant salad tongs, is used to help ease the baby out of the birth canal as the mother pushes during a contraction according to the Mayo Clinic. While a forceps intervention might sound harmless, it can pose a serious risk of injury for the baby and the mother.
Some of the different types of birth injuries that can occur from the misuse of forceps include the following:
- Facial palsy and other facial injuries
- Bruising and swelling of the infant’s head
- Fractured skull
- Brain damage
- Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)
Vacuum extractors and birth injuries
A vacuum extractor is another medical device that medical professionals use to assist in vaginal deliveries. The device works like it sounds. The doctor attaches a small, rubber cap to the baby’s head and gentle vacuum pressure is applied in an effort to coax the baby out of the birth canal. If used safely and properly, a vacuum extractor can help facilitate a healthy delivery. According to the Association of American Family Physicians (AAFP), a vacuum extractor may be useful when the mother is too exhausted to push the baby out, or if there is a need to avoid excessive pushing due to cardiac issues for the mother. A vacuum extractor should not be used on premature infants, in situations where the cervix has not dilated completely, where there is suspected macrosomia (birth weight above 8 lbs., 13 ounces), or when the delivery requires rotation or excessive traction.
If a vacuum extractor is not used properly or used under the wrong circumstances, it can cause any of the following injuries to the infant:
- Scalp lacerations
- Intercranial hemorrhage
- Erb’s palsy
- Shoulder dystocia
- Brachial plexus palsy
- Klumpke’s palsy
If your doctor used forceps or a vacuum extractor to assist in the delivery of your child and your child now has a birth injury such as a seizure disorder or HIE, you may want to speak with a compassionate, Memphis birth injury attorney from the law firm of Bailey & Greer, PLLC. Our attorneys will explain the legal options available to you based on the facts specific to your case.
If your child has suffered a serious birth injury that was caused by the negligence of a medical professional, the compassionate Memphis birth injury attorneys at Bailey & Greer, PLLC, are here to listen and discuss your case with you. We are strong advocates on behalf of our clients, and we will help you get the compensation you deserve for your loss. Please contact us at 901-680-9777 today or fill out our contact form to schedule a free initial consultation.
As founder of Bailey & Greer, R. Sadler Bailey has battled his fair share of insurance giants and wrongdoers and has achieved numerous multimillion-dollar results for the victims of catastrophic injuries and their families. What’s more, he has been involved in more than 40 appellate court decisions affecting Tennessee personal injury law, including many landmark appearances before the Tennessee Supreme Court.
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