Can Using Forceps During Childbirth Injure a Baby?
While it is uncommon for babies to suffer serious birth injuries during an assisted birth, it can still happen if the doctor miscalculates or misuses a device.
If a mother is having difficulty during labor, a doctor will sometimes use forceps or a vacuum to help guide the baby through the birth canal. However, this should not be the first step to coaxing a baby through a difficult birth. It is risky to pull too hard on a baby during birth because it can lead to:
- Nerve damage;
- Muscle weakness;
- Exterior eye injury;
- Skull fracture;
- Seizures; and
- Bleeding within the skull.
Most of the time the injuries are minor cuts to the baby’s scalp or wherever the forceps grab the baby, but parents whose child sustained more serious injuries should file a medical malpractice lawsuit as soon as possible.
Why Are Forceps Used During Childbirth?
Occasionally, a mother will need assistance during labor to get the baby out safely. Situations involving elongated labor, baby’s heart-rate dropping, and the position of the baby can lead to the need for the doctor to help with a device called “forceps.”
This device looks like a pair of long-handled spoons and it is used to gently grasp onto the baby’s head while it is moving through the birth canal. Once a grip is made, the doctor can then guide the baby – gently pulling – through the birth canal to be born.
Before choosing this procedure, the doctor should suggest other options to the parents because it is the parents’ decision whether to perform this procedure. The less extreme option is to try a Pitocin drip. Pitocin is a mild drug used to start or speed up labor. It is less likely to result in injuries to mother and baby.
If the Pitocin still cannot help, then the doctor should move on to assist with forceps – or sometimes a vacuum. If even the assisted birth is not doing the trick, a doctor should proceed with a cesarean (C-section) birth.
How Can I Receive Compensation for My Injured Child?
Though it is rare, a child can be injured during a forceps-assisted delivery. If the doctor is not gentle with the forceps, a child can suffer brain injuries that can have lasting effects on their motor skills or mental development.
Illinois law distinguishes between medical malpractice and birth injury lawsuits. Cases of medical malpractice have a time limit of two years from the time of the injury to file for a lawsuit. Birth injuries have a longer time limit of eight years from the time of injury since it may go unnoticed until the child grows past the baby years.
Parents of the child can be granted monetary compensation for medical bills with no limit for the amount of time that treatment is necessary.
Contact an Orland Park, IL, Birth Injury Attorney
It is important for parents to file for a birth injury lawsuit as soon as symptoms are recognized. The lawyers of Schwartz Injury Law offer guidance and support through a birth injury lawsuit and can help get your family the compensation that it deserves. To schedule a free consultation with a DuPage County birth injury lawyer, call 708-888-2160.