Forceps Delivery Errors

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The use of forceps to assist in a difficult delivery has been common practice for a long time. In general, forceps are meant to grasp the baby around the head when the doctor has a difficult time reaching it, and help to gently slide the baby out of the mother's womb. Unfortunately, this does not always occur.

There are several medical criteria that must exist in order for a physician to use an assisted delivery tool to deliver an infant. The baby's head must be fully engaged in the pelvis, and the cervix must be fully dilated. It is also important that the doctor has exact knowledge of the position of the baby's head in order to use the forceps correctly.

The decision to use forceps to assist in a delivery must be carefully considered by the doctor who is delivering the baby. The mother must be in the second stage of labor before an assisted delivery can even be contemplated. Failure to do so can result in permanent injury to the baby as well as to the mother.

A forceps delivery is permissible after the second stage of labor has commenced or if there is a significant delay during this stage. The mother may be too tired and may be having difficulties pushing the baby out, particularly during long, strenuous labors. Forceps would then be used to help gently slide the baby out of the birth canal.

Epidurals have the benefit of relieving the birthing mother from labor pains. However, epidurals may also prevent the mother from feeling contractions needed for pushing. In this case, an assisted delivery using forceps or a vacuum may be permissible. Fetal distress is another reason doctors consider using forceps during a delivery. When the baby's monitor indicates that the infant is not tolerating the labor well, but the labor has gone too far to do an emergency cesarean section, the physician may use forceps to assist in a quicker delivery.

Regrettably, a delivery that requires the assistance of forceps does come with some serious risks to both the mother and the child. Facial bruises or lacerations are minor injuries that can occur through the use of forceps. Facial nerve traumas can also occur, which can leave the baby unable to feel part of his or her face, possibly leading to speech problems later in life.

Forceps delivery errors can cause more serious problems, however. Cephalohematomas, or bleeding under the baby's skin near the scalp, is one of the more serious complications that can occur. Most cephalohematomas complications are resolved on their own, slowly shrinking within a month or so following birth. Others, however, do not and require further medical intervention.

Intracranial hemorrhaging can also be caused by forceps delivery errors. Intracranial bleeding occurs when a blood vessel in the head has ruptured or leaks. It is a serious medical emergency because the buildup of blood within the skull can lead to increases in intracranial pressure, which can crush brain tissue or limit its blood supply, resulting in brain damage or even death.

Forceps delivery errors can cause serious bleeding in the mother, causing her to lose an excessive amount of blood, which can push her into a state of shock. Errors in the use of forceps can also cause an intrapartum rupture of the uterus. Even when unintentional, these types of medical mistakes cause long-term ramifications, and responsible parties should be held liable.

It is very important that you contact an experienced birth injury lawyer if you have had complications resulting from a forceps assisted delivery. Women who have experienced forceps delivery errors during the birthing process may be eligible for compensation for medical fees. While personal injury attorneys may feel comfortable handling you case, it is best to contact one with experience handling birth injuries lawsuits as a result of medical malpractice or negligence. Along with the emotional distress suffered from these types of injuries, recuperating from them is financially burdening. Treatments, therapies, and medications are costly obligations, prohibiting you from working. The long-term effects that careless medical errors can have on your developing child are irreversible. It is best to contact a lawyer to support you and you claim. He or she can work with you to represent your needs and the rights of your child.


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