Can Forceps Really Cause Injuries During Delivery?

Any instrument used to deliver a baby may carry risks. However, in cases of prolonged labor, breech positioning of the baby, or other birth complications, the use of forceps is often thought to be the best option for safe delivery. The forceps give the doctor a better grip on the head and ideally allow him to pull the baby out just as it would be naturally delivered.

Types of Birth Injuries Caused By Forceps

The problem arises when the forceps are not used correctly. Since the method involves putting a squeezing pressure on the baby’s head, forceps delivery in Virginia can cause temporary or even permanent damage to the infant.

  • Bruising. A temporary side effect of forceps, bruising will usually last about a week.
  • Facial nerve damage. This is especially noticeable when the baby cries. If the infant’s facial structure appears asymmetrical, the damage may be permanent.
  • Brain damage. In extreme cases, trauma to the child’s head can result in brain damage. This type of force should never be used, and may be grounds for a medical malpractice suit in DC.
  • Depressed skull fractures. If excessive force is used when clamping down on the infant’s skull, it may result in a depressed skull fracture, which may require surgery to correct.
  • Cerebral palsy. A permanent condition, this affects a child’s muscle control and coordination for the rest of his life.

Cerebral palsy is arguably the most devastating of birth injuries. The child may appear normal immediately after delivery, but later exhibit signs of neurological impairment, such as seizures and decreased motor skills. It is hard for children affected with cerebral palsy to become fully independent as adults, and they may require assistance with daily tasks, such as eating and dressing, for their entire lives. Over the course of a lifetime, parents and family may spend nearly one million dollars in the care and treatment of a child with cerebral palsy in Virginia. Forceps delivery is often cited as the cause of the condition, and there is currently no known cure.

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You May Need a Fairfax Medical Malpractice Lawyer

A baby’s head is extremely vulnerable. The bones of the skull are specifically placed so that they may shift during delivery. In many cases, these plates will mend themselves after forceps delivery—but if improper technique or force was used, they may not be able to repair the damage on their own. If you believe your baby suffered brain trauma during a forceps delivery, we can help you seek compensation for your child’s treatment and get the justice your family deserves. Contact the trusted attorneys at Shevlin Smith today at (703) 691-5919 for more information on your Fairfax birth injury case.