Improper Handling & Use of Forceps During Delivery
For centuries, birthing tools have helped doctors save lives during difficult deliveries. While there's no denying their benefit when used correctly, the negligent use of tools like forceps can cause devastating injuries. Only a small percentage of babies ever require forceps during delivery, but the number of infants injured by the tool is troubling. Despite the risks associated with forceps, they remain a go-to instrument for doctors under pressure.
What are forceps?
Resembling a pair of salad forks, forceps are a birth-assisting tool that have been used in childbirth since the 1700s. They're placed on the infant's head to help guide the baby out during the mother's contractions. Most doctors agree that forceps are a risky tool to use, but under dire circumstances, they can be used safely and effectively.
When are forceps necessary?
Sometimes, a mother is unable to push out her baby by herself. Exhaustion, illness, infection or hemorrhage can weaken a woman and prevent her from pushing alone. When the baby is breached, or their heart rate is increasing to an unsafe level, forceps can be used to pull the child from the mother's body. In nearly all situations, forceps are used as a last resort when a Caesarean section cannot be performed.
Do parents have a say in the use of forceps?
Doctors have a duty to keep parents informed of the risks they're undertaking during delivery. Parents can recommend doctors avoid using forceps if they feel strongly opposed to the risks. In many cases, though, parents put their trust in their doctor and follow their advice without question.
What birth injuries are associated with the use of forceps?
Infant injuries can include:
- Brain damage
- Facial palsy
- Skull fractures
- Swelling and bruising of the head
What are the symptoms of forceps injuries, and what can they lead to?
Many times, symptoms of the injuries include bruising and swelling. Lacerations can sometimes occur. If you do notice these symptoms, have your baby examined right away. Doctors should check for seizure disorders, strokes, cerebral palsy and hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE).
New Mexico Birth Injury Lawyers
If you believe your child’s birth injury was caused by a medical mistake, contact our attorneys to discuss your situation. You do not owe us any legal fees unless we settle or win your case. Set up a free, no obligation, consultation today at 877-544-5323.
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