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Ohio and Northern Kentucky Lawyers for Vacuum Extraction Injuries
Attorneys for Vacuum Extraction Birth Injuries
During labor and delivery, if a baby cannot descend through the birth canal on its own, health care providers may need to use assistive devices to help vaginally deliver the baby more quickly. One of these devices is what is called a vacuum extractor tool. While vacuum extraction can be a useful way to help speed up delivery, when used improperly, it can also lead to catastrophic results.
If negligent vacuum extraction led to your child’s injury, you may have a birth injury case. Our skilled Ohio and Northern Kentucky medical malpractice attorneys at TLF: The Medical Injury Law Firm are prepared to guide you through the complexities of a birth injury lawsuit so you and your family can obtain the maximum compensation to which you are legally entitled in order to provide your child with everything he or she needs to reach their full potential.
What is a Vacuum Extractor?
A vacuum extractor is a tool used in an operative vaginal delivery that works by applying suction to the baby’s head when the second stage of the birthing process (delivery) is stalled. Vacuum extraction helps pull the baby through the birth canal while the mother pushes simultaneously.
There are a number of reasons why labor may stall and a medical professional may need to use a vacuum device. For example, the shape of the mother’s pelvis, the baby’s size, the baby’s heart rate (fetal distress), the position of the baby in the birth canal, and maternal exhaustion are all factors that may contribute to the need for vacuum-assisted delivery. However, there is a higher risk to the mother and baby with a vacuum delivery than a natural birth, so the procedure should only be done if necessary. The use of forceps or the need for a cesarean section (C-section) may also be considered to help quickly deliver baby.
How Does a Vacuum Extraction Delivery Work?
When the decision is made to go forward with vacuum extraction, a medical professional will attach the cup of the vacuum device to the top of the baby’s head, applying the appropriate amount of traction with either a mechanical or electrical pump in time with the mother’s contractions. The medical professional will then pull on the device while the mother is pushing, guiding the baby’s head through the birth canal. If successful, the cup will be removed from the baby’s head once it has breached and the remainder of the delivery process can go on naturally.
If too much force is applied, the vacuum cup may “pop-off” the baby’s head. After multiple pop-offs or with prolonged use of the vacuum, injuries can happen, such as bruising, hemorrhage, or other head trauma to the baby. When it becomes clear that a vacuum delivery will not be successful, the vacuum extraction method should be quickly abandoned and a decision should be made on how best to proceed. Failure to abandon vacuum-assisted delivery when all signs point to an unsuccessful procedure can lead to severe birth injuries for the child and potentially a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Vacuum Extraction Risks to Baby
When not administered properly, the use of vacuum extractors can lead to serious injury to the baby. Some of the more common vacuum extraction birth injuries we see include:
- Cerebral Palsy – Cerebral palsy, or CP, is a neurological disorder characterized by a disorder of movement, muscle tone, or posture that results from damage to the developing brain and can affect a child’s muscle control.
- Brain Injuries – Medical professionals must be extremely gentle when applying and using vacuum extractors in order to avoid a brain injury. When the baby’s brain suffers injuries, a lifetime of complications may result.
- Perinatal Stroke – Perinatal strokes or perinatal infarctions occur as a result of disruption to the blood flow in or to the baby’s brain. The traumatic forces of improper vacuum extraction can cause injury to blood vessels due to either a burst vessel that leaks blood into the brain or a blood clot that blocks blood flow within or to the brain. Like other brain injuries, perinatal strokes can result in lifelong limitations.
- Bruising, Fractures, or Abrasions of the Scalp – Because vacuum extractors are used on the baby’s scalp, it is imperative that healthcare professionals use the appropriate amount of suction and pressure to avoid soft tissue damage. If a head injury becomes apparent during the procedure, professionals should immediately abandon the vacuum extraction delivery to avoid further damage. Resulting head injuries may include skull fractures, bleeding under the scalp (cephalohematoma), scalp bruising, and swelling of the scalp (caput).
- Brachial Plexus Injuries (Erb’s Palsy) – A brachial plexus injury occurs when the brachial plexus is stretched, compressed, torn, or avulsed. These nerves provide movement to the baby’s arm and shoulder, as well as sensation and feeling. A more severe brachial plexus injury can cause loss of muscle function and paralysis in the baby’s upper arm.
- Shoulder Dystocia – Shoulder dystocia occurs when a baby’s shoulders fail to follow the baby’s head through the birth canal during labor and delivery. In these instances, the head is able to breach the mother’s pubic bone, but one of the shoulders remains stuck. As a result, the baby’s shoulders require prompt medical assistance from the obstetrician to maneuver the child’s body and resolve shoulder dystocia.
- Retinal Hemorrhages – Retinal hemorrhaging simply refers to bleeding of the eyes. The traumatic pulling motion of the vacuum can injure the vessels that supply blood to the retina.
Can I Sue for Vacuum Extraction Injuries?
When health care professionals breach the standard duty of care for their patients and preventable birth injuries occur, this is an act of medical negligence that warrants a malpractice claim. At TLF: The Medical Injury Law Firm, our team of Ohio and Northern Kentucky medical malpractice attorneys recognize how distressing this situation is, and we will work to ensure that the medical professionals responsible are held legally accountable and that you and your family receive the compensation you deserve for the injuries sustained by improper vacuum extraction during labor and delivery. It can sometimes take months or even years to notice potential complications from a vacuum delivery. Please give us a call as soon as you can if you believe you have a medical malpractice claim for the preventable harm or wrongful death of your child.
Why You Need an Experienced Birth Injury Lawyer from TLF: The Medical Injury Law Firm
When vacuum extraction is not performed in adherence to the set medical standard, it can result in your baby’s injury and years of complications and medical care down the road. If this happened to you, you may be able to recover compensation through a vacuum extraction birth injury claim. Our birth injury attorneys from TLF: The Medical Injury Law Firm have handled a number of different birth injury claims, including claims from improper vacuum extractions and other mismanaged operative vaginal deliveries. We know what it takes to fight for a fair settlement or, if it comes down to it, a fair jury award at trial. We will thoroughly evaluate your medical records and make sure all past and future medical expenses are accounted for, including all medical bills for corrective surgeries or treatment, physical therapy, occupational therapy, assistive medical devices, and more.
To speak with an experienced lawyer from The Lawrence Firm today, give us a call or reach out to us online for a free consultation. An injury attorney from our firm can help evaluate your claim and discuss with you the potential of your case. If you do have a valid claim, we will get straight to work collecting evidence, medical records, and consulting with medical experts to ensure your case is as strong as possible and you receive the compensation you deserve for your child’s injuries.
Vacuum Extraction Medical Malpractice Suit? Call TLF For a Free Consultation Today
The long-term impacts of birth injuries include physical disability that may require lifetime assistance as well as significant delays in cognitive and behavioral development. This may result in one parent needing to provide around-the-clock care for their child. Many families cannot afford to lose a primary source of income on top of covering the costs of the necessary medical care for the child’s injuries. That is why it’s crucial to have a group of Ohio and Northern Kentucky birth injury lawyers on your side that your family can trust.
If a doctor’s failure to properly use vacuum extractors led to your child’s birth injury, you may be entitled to compensation through a birth injury lawsuit. The Ohio and Kentucky birth injury lawyers at TLF: The Medical Injury Law Firm have handled numerous birth injury and medical malpractice cases, so we know what it takes to hold the appropriate parties liable and recover maximum damages on your behalf. For a free case evaluation, give us a call at (800) 698-4054 today.
You Pay No Fees Unless We Win!
We are happy to offer a free consultation to evaluate your case. If you hire us as your legal counsel, we will represent you on a contingency-fee basis. You will pay no attorneys’ fees unless we recover financial damages.