Back to the Basics – The Dangers of a Vacuum Extraction

When labor begins, it is vitally important to deliver the newborn in an adequate amount of time. Extended labor can prove dangerous for the mother, as well as the baby. When faced with the situation, physicians commonly employ tools to assist with the delivery process. The decisions made during this time are extremely important and often mean the difference between a healthy delivery and a birth related injury.

Vacuum extraction is one of the tools often used in these situations. A cap-like cup is placed on the head of the baby. An attached vacuum is then used to apply gentle suction and guide the baby through the birth canal. Physicians may choose this method of delivery as an alternative to a Cesarean section, but the risks of a vacuum extraction may not be worth employing this option.

Weighing the Risks

According to the Mayo Clinic, vacuum extractions are not appropriate in certain birthing situations:

***Before 34 weeks of pregnancy
***Baby has been diagnosed with a medical condition that weakens the bones ***The physician cannot determine the position of the baby’s head ***The baby is coming through the birth canal with shoulders, arms or buttocks first
***The baby’s head has not yet reached the midway point of the birth canal
***The mother’s pelvis is not large enough to deliver the baby
When any of these conditions are present, the doctor should choose another method of delivering the baby. When this isn’t done, numerous circumstances may arise that threaten the well-being of the mother and the child. The following conditions are more likely to occur with a vacuum extraction:

***Increased pain in the mother’s perineum
***Urination difficulties ***Incontinence
***Tears and wounds in the lower genital tracts ***Pelvic organ prolapse, which is the weakening of muscles that support the pelvic organs. This can cause these organs to move out of place.
***Anemia, brought on by excessive blood loss during the delivery process

For the baby, the possible risks include:

***Collarbone fractures from forced movement through the birth birth canal ***Skull fractures
***Brachial Plexus, which is injury to nerves that run between the spine and the arms, shoulders and hands
***Bleeding inside the skull
It is the responsibility of the physician to make an informed decision about the best method of assisted delivery. The current condition of the mother and baby, along with the possible risks must be carefully considered before starting a vacuum extraction. If the decision is made to employ this method, and injury results, the treating physician and medical center may be held financially responsible. Medical malpractice cases are procedurally difficult, but the assistance of a capable attorney can make the challenge must more manageable.

If you are considering a lawsuit for medical malpractice based in a birth injury, a capable attorney can guide you through the requirements of litigation. Contact the experienced birth injury attorneys of Levin & Perconti today at (877) 374-1417 for a free consultation.

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