One of the most devastating things that can happen to a parent is to learn that their newborn baby was injured during labor or delivery. According to the CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, birth injuries happen to about 1 to 2 infants out of every 1,000 live births in the United States. There are many reasons why an injury may happen. One of the most common reasons is the use of devices to assist in the birth such as forceps and vacuum units.
Birth Injuries Caused by Forceps
Forceps are used to assist with difficult deliveries. The doctor may need to help pull the infant, which may be done with the help of forceps. When used properly, forceps are usually safe. However, they can cause injuries to the baby, especially if excess force is used. Some of the most common birth injuries which could be caused by forceps include:
- Shoulder Dystocia
- Brachial Plexus Injuries
- Brain Damage
- Erb’s Palsy
- Cerebral Palsy
- Spinal Cord Injuries
Some injuries are more severe than others. Minor injuries may heal within a few weeks while other problems may be disabling.
Babies at Risk for Birth Injuries
Some births are at an elevated risk for the possibility of injuries than others. Babies that are large are more likely to suffer birth injuries. Delivery is difficult with a large baby and the infant may become lodged during birth. The doctor then must assist by turning or pulling the baby. Forceps help the doctor get a grip on the baby. Difficult or lengthy labor can also cause a risk to the baby. The mother may be unable to continue pushing the baby and the doctor must help. Additionally, mothers who are given epidurals could have more trouble with the birth.
Prevention of Birth Injuries
Birth injuries caused by the use of forceps and other devices can be prevented. If the baby is at high risk for a difficult birth the doctor should consider performing a c-section. The doctor should discuss the risks with the parents so they can help make the decision. A c-section allows the doctor to remove the baby surgically, thus avoiding the possibility for complications. The mother and baby must be properly monitored during pregnancy to determine the size of the baby. Also, doctors must be properly trained on how to use forceps and vacuums to safely assist with deliveries.
Legal Resolution for Birth Injuries
Birth injuries that are caused by a mistake by a doctor are considered medical malpractice cases. The infant may face months, years, or even a lifetime of treatment. The parents may be entitled to compensation for costly medical bills, rehabilitation, and care for the child. In addition, if the child is permanently disabled, additional compensation should be provided for loss of enjoyment of life. If your baby was injured at birth because of a mistake made by the doctor, call the lawyers at Levin & Perconti to schedule a consultation.
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