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When it’s time for a baby to be born, they may get stuck during the delivery process. One way that doctors will try to get out the baby is by using forceps or vacuum extraction in an operative or assisted delivery.
Forceps are metal devices that look like long spoons and can assist a doctor in guiding a baby’s head through the birth canal if it’s a challenging delivery. The baby’s head will be cradled and traction will be applied. These will be used in the pushing stage of delivery and timed in conjunction with your contractions.
When doctors use a vacuum, or a vacuum extraction during labor, they are applying a soft suction device to a baby’s head. It has a handle that lets a doctor guide a baby through the birth canal. The suction and traction can work together to move a baby. If a baby cannot be delivered vaginally and with the assistance of forceps or a vacuum extraction, then the mother may need to have a C-section instead.
Symptoms of Injuries Caused by Forceps or Vacuum Extraction
Birth injuries can sometimes occur if a doctor does not use forceps or a vacuum extractor in the proper manner, or if they apply too much force when using them. Possible symptoms of injuries include:
- Skull fractures
- Brain damage
- Retinal hemorrhage
- Swelling on the scalp
- Bruises, marks, bleeding, and wounds on the scalp
- Bleeding in the skull
- Stretching of the nerves on the neck
Injuries can range from a bruise on the scalp, which may heal itself, to brachial plexus injury, which may require massage and physical therapy, to cerebral palsy, which is a lifelong condition where a child will not be able to control their muscles and movements. Some symptoms of severe brain damage could include:
- Floppy arms and legs
- Uncontrolled movement in the arms and legs
- Delays in meeting milestones like crawling, rolling over, and walking
- Poor balance
- Involuntary tremors and movements
- Difficulty grasping and clapping
- Not being able to lift the head by the age of development
- Difficulty with fine motor tasks
- Contracting and tightening of muscles
A doctor will able to diagnose and treat a baby if they were injured due to forceps or vacuum extraction.
Treatment for Injuries Caused by Forceps or Vacuum Extraction
The treatment for injuries that emerged as a result of forceps or vacuum extraction is going to depend on what the injuries are and how severe they appear to be. The doctor may prescribe treatment plans that include the following:
- Physical and occupational therapy to improve outcomes and help children work on their fine motor skills
- Massage to alleviate the effects and pain of certain conditions like brachial plexus injury
- Medications such as anti-seizure medicine as well as sedatives and muscle relaxers
- Surgeries to improve physical outcomes
Some injuries may heal on their own, while others will affect the child for the rest of their life. A child may need special medical equipment to function from day to day along with ongoing help from caregivers and doctors.
How Do I Know if Medical Malpractice Caused Injuries from Forceps or Vacuum Extraction?
It’s tough to prove medical malpractice, but you may have a case if any of the following happened to you:
- Your doctor delayed a C-section or didn’t perform one even though it may have prevented injuries
- Your doctor used the forceps or vacuum too forcefully or incorrectly
- Your doctor did not monitor you and/or your baby properly during pregnancy, in labor, or after birth
Doctors are under a lot of pressure and sometimes they make mistakes. Even still, this might not amount to negligence. You will need sufficient evidence to prove that your doctor breached their duty of care and was negligent, and that negligence then led to your baby’s injury. Otherwise, your case won’t go through because the legal system makes it incredibly difficult to sue doctors. If it were so easy, people would sue practitioners all the time, and then nobody would want to enter the legal field because of the high liability.
In order to have the best chance of proving medical malpractice, you’ll need a birth injury lawyer who has experience with these kinds of cases.
How Much Will I Receive From a Birth Injury from Forceps or Vacuum Settlement?
If you have adequate evidence and an experienced lawyer on your side, then you could win damages for things like:
- Medical bills
- Loss of companionship and enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Future medical care
- Loss of earning capacity
The amount of your settlement is going to depend on what injuries your baby is now contending with because of medical malpractice. For instance, brachial plexus injury could resolve on its own and your medical bills won’t be so high. Therefore, your settlement would not be as high. But if your baby now has lifelong issues, then you could get a settlement for current and future medical expenses as well as noneconomic damages like pain and suffering.
Your lawyer will be able to calculate your damages, but they can’t predict whether or not you’ll get a settlement or what the exact amount will be. They will work hard to get you the highest settlement possible, though.
Settlement Offers in a Birth Injury from Forceps or Vacuum Case
The way the legal process works with medical malpractice is you need to prove negligence and that the negligence caused the injury through the right evidence. This could include photographs of the injuries, medical records, and witness statements. If you are missing any evidence or you’re too busy to gather it, then your lawyer will be happy to assist you in collecting more proof.
Once your lawyer has the details of what happened and the evidence, they’ll reach out to the defendant, who is your doctor, and then attempt to negotiate a fair settlement for you. If you receive a settlement offer but want a higher one, your lawyer can always renegotiate. In the event that the defendant does not want to settle, then your lawyer will help you prepare to go to court. Typically, these cases do not go to court because settling is easier and quicker.
Why Contact a Birth Injury Lawyer?
A birth injury lawyer will be there for you in your time of need. They’ll fight for you to get you the proper settlement and make sure you have time to focus on your baby, your family, and yourself right now. What you just experienced is traumatic, and you need time and space to fully recover.
Injury from Forceps or Vacuum Birth Injury Attorneys
If you believe that medical malpractice caused your baby’s injuries during a forceps or vacuum extraction, then reach out to birth injury attorneys Gilman & Bedigian for help.
Contact Gilman & Bedigian 24/7 for a free consultation at (800) 529-6162.