When Vacuum-Assisted Baby Deliveries Go Wrong


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Vacuum-assisted delivery is a technique that an obstetrician uses in certain childbirth situations, such as when a mother cannot deliver vaginally by herself, and the use of forceps isn’t possible. Vacuum-assisted vaginal deliveries are considered operative vaginal deliveries, and they come with risks for the baby and mother. However, the vacuum extractor is an effective aid in difficult vaginal births in most cases. But if the equipment isn’t used correctly or used in the wrong situations, the outcome can be devastating for families.

What Is a Vacuum Extractor?

Vacuum extractors are medical instruments that are used during childbirth. The device is a vacuum pump with a handle and a cup, typically made of plastic, silicone, or polyethylene. The cup may be soft and bell-shaped or rigid and mushroom-shaped. The device’s cup is placed on the baby’s head during the delivery. Placing the cup correctly is critical to the health of the baby and mother and to the success of the procedure. It is also crucial that doctors know how much suction is warranted and when to use it.

While these devices can effectively help with delivery and prevent a caesarian section, they also increase the risks of birth injuries to the mother and baby. When damages like this occur due to misuse or negligence on the part of medical professionals, the family may file a claim against the responsible parties to recover compensation for damages they suffered.

What Types Of Injuries Might Be Caused By Vacuum-Assisted Deliveries?

Vacuum extraction deliveries can cause complications, even when they’re performed as they are supposed to be. When they are misused, the complications can be severe and sometimes lifelong. A baby’s skull is soft and malleable, which is essential to pass through the mother’s pelvis during delivery. However, that can put the baby even more at risk of head and brain trauma if the medical staff doesn’t act with sufficient care during a vacuum-assisted delivery. Some of the complications that may result from vacuum-assisted deliveries include:

  • Bruising including subgaleal hematoma (bleeding that occurs between the scalp and the skull)
  • Scalp and brain swelling or damage
  • A skull fracture or bone distortions
  • Intracranial hemorrhage (brain bleeds)
  • Jaundice
  • Stroke
  • Seizure
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Other injuries that can lead to medical problems, disability, or death
  • Similarly, the mother can have complications when a vacuum-assisted delivery is performed. Some of the severe complications and injuries for the mother include:
  • Perineum pain
  • Difficulty emptying the bladder
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Genital tract tears
  • Episiotomy-related pain
  • Urinary or fecal incontinence that can last for years

When Are Vacuum-Assisted Birth Injuries Medical Malpractice?

When vacuum extractors are not appropriately used during the delivery of a baby, and the infant or the mother is injured as a result, it may be a case of medical malpractice. Additionally, if doctors fail to provide prompt and appropriate treatment following the procedure, it could be a case of malpractice.

Doctors must monitor the newborn and the mother for signs of complications after a vacuum extraction delivery. For example, if the baby has hematomas, skull fractures, nerve damage, or jaundice, prompt treatment can help prevent long-term complications. And if the mother suffered any vaginal tears due to the vacuum extractor, doctors must monitor her condition and take precautions to prevent infections.

Contact A Birth Injury Lawyer At Ross Feller Casey

Suppose your child has suffered injuries due to a vacuum-assisted delivery, and you believe it was due to wrongful or improper use of the device. In that case, you must contact an experienced birth injury lawyer right away. At Ross Feller Casey, our attorneys have helped families like yours win these types of cases. The injuries may be long-term or permanent, and we know the monetary compensation can’t reverse that. But it can assist your family with the financial burden of the medical expenses you’ve sustained.

The legal team at Ross Feller Casey has an unmatched track record with all types of medical malpractice cases. One thing that sets us apart from other law firms is that we have medical doctors on our staff to review medical records and determine if and how medical malpractice happens. So let our experienced team help you like we have helped so many others.

Contact our office today for a free consultation. Out of pocket costs will not be a concern because birth injury claims are handled on a contingency basis. You don’t pay until we win or settle your case.

Disclaimer: Ross Feller Casey, LLP provides legal advice only after an attorney-client relationship is formed. Our website is an introduction to the firm and does not create a relationship between our attorneys and clients. An attorney-client relationship is formed only after a written agreement is signed by the client and the firm. Because every case is unique, the description of awards and summary of cases successfully handled are not intended to imply or guarantee that same success in other cases. Ross Feller Casey, LLP represents catastrophically injured persons and their families in injury and wrongful death cases, providing legal representation in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.