Forceps are instruments commonly used to aid in the delivery of the fetus by applying traction to the fetal head. Assisted births using forceps may be necessary for a number of reasons, including if the fetus becomes distressed, or during a vaginal birth of a breech baby. Unfortunately, the use of forceps to deliver a baby can result in bruises or cuts on the baby's face and head, and can cause even more serious birth injuries. If the doctor performing the delivery puts too much pressure on the face with the forceps, the child may suffer from damage to the facial nerves, which could require surgical repair. If the doctor or obstetrician uses too much force in pulling on the baby's head, birth injuries like Erb's palsy or brachial plexus palsy may result. If your child has suffered from a serious birth injury, which you believe to be the result of a medical mistake, contact a birth injury attorney to discuss your legal options.
Despite the significant risk of injury surrounding the use of these instruments, forceps might be used during delivery for the following reasons:
Birth injuries like brachial plexus palsy, Erb's palsy and Klumpke's palsy can occur when forceps or vacuum devices are used with too much pressure during pregnancy. These birth injuries are characterized by severe injury to the network of nerves that travel from the spinal cord to the arms and hands. Pressure to the facial nerves caused by improper use of forceps can also result in weakness of the muscles on one side of the face. This birth injury is evident when the newborn cries and the face is asymmetrical. If a doctor applies excessive pressure while pulling a baby through the birth canal with forceps, the baby's skin may tear open and bleed.
If a doctor causes deep bruising due to excessive pressure using forceps while delivering a child, the newborn may develop poor muscle coordination and possibly even some form of paralysis. If serious facial bruising occurs, there may be a pinched facial nerve below the surface that could cause facial paralysis possibly requiring surgery. Even more serious injury can be caused by excessive pressure using forceps, including a condition called cephalohematoma, a birth injury characterized by one or more blood pools forming between the bone and fibrous covering of the head.
Assisted delivery using forceps can cause fetal swelling, bruising, tissue damage, and/or fractures. Adverse effects of applying excessive pressure using forceps can include life-altering problems like permanent scarring and birth injuries like cerebral palsy. Unfortunately, doctors and obstetricians continue to use these instruments despite the significant risk of birth injury, possibly to reduce the rising rate of Cesarean sections. If you or a loved one has suffered from serious side effects associated with excessive pressure using forceps during delivery, contact a birth injury attorney for legal help. You may have grounds to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the allegedly negligent doctor, hospital, or Ob/Gyn responsible for your care, in order to pursue financial compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. You are not at fault for any injuries resulting from a medical error on the part of a healthcare professional. With the help of a qualified birth injury lawyer, you can protect your rights and collect the compensation you deserve.