Washington DC Vacuum Extractor Injury Lawyer
Vaginal births comprise almost 70% of the births in the United States annually. Although most vaginal childbirth occurs without incident, at times the vaginal deliver becomes an operative procedure, with use of a vacuum extractor or forceps. Forceps deliveries have declined over the past few years, but % of vaginal births are accomplished with the use of either forceps of a vacuum extractor.
A vacuum extraction procedure is often indicated when the infant fails to progress through the birth canal during the second stage of labor, which begins when the cervix thins and dilates to 4 centimeters. The vacuum pump is also indicated when delivery is underway and the fetus is in distress.
If the mother is unable to make an adequate effort at expulsion, is exhausted or failing to cooperate, these are relative indications. However, the technique is not always successful and Caesarean section is sometimes required to deliver the child.
The delivering physician applies a soft or a rigid cup with a handle and a vacuum pump, and this is used to assist delivery of the infant’s head through the birth canal as the mother is having a contraction. There are definite risks both to the mother and child as a result of using a vacuum extractor. Poor outcomes or injury may occur if the cup is not correctly placed on the infant’s head.
Permanent scarring may result from bleeding or swelling on the face, as a result. Because the skull is not fused, there is more risk of injury to the brain. A physician may use excessive force on the head of the infant, causing injury to the brachial plexus, which is an important nerve bundle that enervates the arm. Inappropriate maneuvers, such as twisting the infant’s head or neck may result in Erb’s palsy, a disorder of the upper trunk of the brachial plexus.
Should the vacuum extractor fail to work, the physician must perform a Caesarean section, or the infant will be deprived of oxygen, and this can cause devastating injuries, both neurological and cognitive.
Death may occur for this reason, or because of faulty equipment. An excess of suction may result in either skull fracture or intracranial hemorrhage. Normally, the physician will attempt other manual maneuvers first.
Contraindications to use of vacuum extraction include pre-term infants, generally accepted as less than 34 weeks gestation, neonates with prenatal defects of injury to the skull revealed by ultrasound, and delivery by vacuum extraction has no place when labor is progressing normally.
Vacuum extraction is not appropriate when the infant is high in the pelvis. The mother should be pushing. Relative contraindications include active bleeding, an incompletely dilated cervix, malpresentation, a large infant (macrosomia) or cephalopelvic proportions. In these cases, the risks and benefits must be carefully weighed.
Because there are risks and benefits under any circumstance when assisted delivery is required, including forceps delivery, Caesarean section, and vacuum extraction, the mother must be given the opportunity to weigh the risks and benefits and give informed consent.
Contact A Misuse of Vacuum Extractor in Washington DC
If your child has suffered an injury that may be due to negligence, the legal and medical professionals at The Rich Firm, PC may be able to assist you. There are medical doctors on staff who can review your records and answer your questions.