The Dangers of Vacuum Extraction and Forceps Deliveries

When facing a difficult, prolonged, or strained vaginal delivery, doctors may turn to two delivery assistance tools to help deliver the baby—vacuum extractors and forceps. However, with incorrect or careless use by a medical professional, vacuum extractors and forceps can lead to dangerous neonatal head trauma. Throughout this page, our Michigan birth injury lawyers and professionals will discuss how mishandled vacuum extractor and forceps deliveries can lead to infant brain damage, cerebral palsy (CP), and lifelong injuries.

Whether you’re seeking legal help for a vacuum extraction or forceps delivery problem or for another birth injury, the qualified birth injury lawyers at Michigan Cerebral Palsy Attorneys can assist you. Call our Michigan cerebral palsy lawyers toll-free at (888) 592-1857 or complete this contact form for a free evaluation of your child’s cerebral palsy case. The Michigan Cerebral Palsy Attorneys no-fee policy ensures that clients will not pay a cent until our birth injury attorneys win or settle your case.

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 What are Vacuum Extractors and Forceps?

Vacuum extractors and forceps are delivery tools that doctors use to assist in the vaginal delivery of babies. If a physician detects that an infant is in distress, she may opt to aid the delivery with the gentle use of either one of these delivery instruments.

  • Forceps: Resembling a large set of tongs, the physician places each side of the forceps around the baby’s head and guides the infant downward and out of the birth canal during each contraction.
  • Vacuum extractors: In a vacuum extraction delivery, the physician places the delivery device’s small, soft cup on the baby’s head and uses the subtle suction of a vacuum hand pump to adjust the baby’s positioning and pull her out of the birth canal.

What Injuries Are Associated with Vacuum Extraction and Forceps Deliveries?

While the correct usage of vacuum extractors and forceps can help doctors safely deliver babies, the misuse of these delivery assistance instruments can lead to a number of complications, primarily severe head injuries.

  • Intracranial hemorrhages (brain bleeds): Incorrect placement of a vacuum extractor cup or forceps blade during delivery may inflict head trauma on a newborn, resulting in bleeding within the skull.
  • Fetal stroke: Misuse of vacuum extractors or forceps can cause blood clots to form inside a baby’s blood vessels, ultimately leading to infant stroke.
  • Cerebral contusions: Pressure on the head from vacuum extractors or forceps can bruise a baby’s brain tissue, potentially resulting in mental impairment.
  • Stretching and tearing of the blood vessels and brain tissue: Pressure may cause mental impairment and brain injury in a newborn.
  • Compression of the brain: Excessive pressure from vacuum extractors or forceps may cause changes in a newborn’s blood flow, resulting in a number of possible brain injuries.
  • Skull fractures: Vacuum extractors and forceps, when improperly used, can break an infant’s skull and leave lasting brain damage.

How Do Forceps and Vacuum Extraction Delivery Complications Lead to Cerebral Palsy (CP)?

Since both vacuum extractors and forceps are applied to a baby’s head during delivery, misuse of these delivery assistance instruments can cause the serious head injuries that often result in cerebral palsy. When vacuum extractors or forceps are applied unevenly, placed incorrectly, or used with too much force, doctors risk inflicting lasting damage to a baby’s brain, skull, and face. A doctor may cause brain damage during the delivery if he twists the baby’s head or neck, spends over fifteen minutes delivering the baby, or pulls on the head excessively. Furthermore, if the vacuum falls off over three times during delivery, the physician should resort to C-section.

How Can Vacuum Extraction and Forceps Injuries Be Minimized?

  • Monitoring brain bleeds: Because intracranial hemorrhages are so dangerous, it is important for physicians to closely monitor a baby who had a traumatic vacuum extraction delivery or forceps delivery. Monitoring should include measurements of red blood cells, vital signs, head circumference, and head imaging.
  • Emergency C-section: To ensure that proper oxygenation is maintained during delivery, doctors should only use vacuum extractors or forceps for about ten or fifteen minutes. If these devices fail to deliver a baby in distress within this time frame, the doctor should immediately resort to an emergency C-section.

Legal Aid for Children with Cerebral Palsy from Vacuum Extraction and Forceps Injuries

Michigan Medical Malpractice Lawyers Making a Difference

Cerebral palsy is a difficult area of law to pursue due to the complex nature of the disorder and the medical records that support it. Our award winning lawyers have decades of experience with birth injury cases that involve oxygen deprivation in the brain, brain bleeds, seizures, brain injury, hypoxic ischemic encephaplopathy (HIE), and forceps and vacuum extraction. To find out if you have a case, contact our firm at (888) 592-1857 to speak with an experienced lawyer. You may also fill out this online contact form.

The birth injury lawyers at Michigan Cerebral Palsy Attorneys have decades of experience handling medical malpractice cases related to the misuse of delivery assistance tools. To read more about past settlements and verdicts achieved by our birth injury lawyers related to vacuum extractor and forceps injuries, please visit this page.

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