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Understanding Vacuum Extraction Risks During Childbirth

In certain situations during childbirth a doctor will need to use special tools and techniques to ensure a child is born as soon as possible. Various fetal problems can place the health of the baby and/or mother in jeopardy which makes it imperative that a medical team act quickly to get the child out of the womb. Each Chicago birth injury lawyer at our firm knows that at these times doctors often used forceps or vacuum extraction devices. When those tools fail, an emergency C-section might need to be performed. Unnecessary delay or excessive force used at these times may result in severe birth injuries and might be a sign of medical malpractice.

Of the three options mentioned above-forceps, vacuum extraction, C-section-the vacuum extraction is likely the method that is least familiar to most community members. Like regular household vacuums, the idea behind vacuum extraction devices used in childbirth is to provide suction in order to pull a child out of the birth canal. It is used in the later stages of a delivery. The process usually works by placing a plastic cup on the newborn’s head. The cup is then attached to separate vacuum extraction equipment. Expectedly, the device provides suction force which, when working properly, helps guide the child out of the mother’s body.

Unfortunately, our Illinois birth injury attorneys know that when used in incorrect ways or at certain times, a mother or child might be hurt by used of these devices. The suction occurs on the child’s head, with added pressure that can harm the baby in the process. Of course, infant bodies are incredibly vulnerable to harm from excess force. This susceptibility to head injury is made more potent during birth because it is the first time that the baby’s head does not have the protection of amniotic fluid. Brain injuries, eye injuries, skill fractures, and other harms occur far more than they should when one of these devices is used.

After a child is born via vacuum extraction, parents are well-served by keeping a close eye on their child’s development. Deficient motor skills or seizures are a sign the baby might have suffered a birth injury related to use of the special equipment. Unfortunately, cognitive injuries can occur which mean that a child may have trouble ever living on their own. It is not uncommon for children with more severe brain injuries to need close around the clock care for the rest of their lives. It goes without saying that the extreme risks from improper use of these devices makes it critical that doctors exercise reasonable skill at all times during these deliveries. The law protects families from receiving care below this standard.

The presence of these injury risks via use of vacuum extraction devices does not necessarily mean that they should never be used. As always, medical decisions should be made in conjunction with your medical experts after learning fully about the potential benefits and harms from those professionals. However, that does not mean that all harm resulting from the process is acceptable. Doctors are still charged with using the device properly and in a timely fashion. Any deviation from basic standards of care with use of these devices may very well be medical malpractice for which a patient can receive redress.

If you or a loved one has suffered a birth injury that may have been connected to use of a vacuum extraction device, please visit with an experienced legal professional to share your story and learn your rights.

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