Healthcare providers are essential during childbirth for ensuring a safe delivery and healthy infant. The responsibilities these caregivers have are enormous and parents must place their trust in their team of doctors during a physically vulnerable and emotionally heightened moment. While most deliveries are successful and parents are rewarded with the joy of meeting their child for the first time, some deliveries are complicated and require quick, deft decision-making and medical treatment.
When labor is not progressing or a baby needs urgent delivery, doctors may recommend a forceps delivery to help the baby come out more quickly. Birth forceps are exactly what they sound like – specialized tools that help a doctor grasp an infant and guide them out with pulling motions. While birth forceps can be very effective, they can result in serious injuries if they are used inappropriately.
When Are Forceps the Right Delivery Tool?
Certain situations require the use of forceps and a doctor’s experience, training, and good medical judgment will determine whether they are used in a specific instance. Situations that may require the use of forceps include:
- Labor is not progressing, despite full dilation, ruptured membranes, and pushing efforts from the mother
- The baby’s heartbeat is slow or weak
- The mother has certain medical conditions, such as heart disease or high blood pressure, that may make extended pushing dangerous
Just as these conditions may make forceps use necessary, other conditions make forceps use dangerous. A doctor needs to be aware of her patient’s health status and keep a careful eye on the baby’s position, heart rate, and movements.
Common Injuries From Improper Forceps Use
Tragically, mistakes or careless maneuvers by doctors using forceps can turn a moment of joy into a moment of confusion and sorrow. Both the mother and the infant can be seriously harmed by forceps even with the most careful use. Potential injuries to the baby include, but are not limited to:
- Facial palsy
- Eye, ear, and other facial injuries
- Skull fractures with the potential for dangerous brain bleeding
- Brain damage
- Nerve damage
- Cerebral palsy
Mothers are also at risk from forceps injuries. While some of these injuries are unavoidable and most can be healed with time and careful treatment, parents who suffer emotional trauma, medical expenses, and even loss of life may be able to pursue a case for damages against the medical provider who is responsible.
Contact an Experienced Illinois Birth Injuries Lawyer
At Birth Injury Law Alliance, Ltd., our specific experience in birth injury lawsuits equips us to help with even the most complicated or tragic birth injury cases. Even if you are uncertain whether your child’s injury resulted from medical malpractice, schedule a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable Chicago birth injuries attorneys so we can review your case and offer our help. Call us today at 312-462-4200.