Compassionate Mississippi Birth Injury Lawyers Protecting Children with Forceps and Vacuum Extractor Injuries
Our malpractice attorneys fight for the rights of your family
There are many hospitals from which to choose when you’re having a baby in Mississippi—Baptist Memorial Hospital, Garden Park Medical Center, North Mississippi Medical Center, Northwest Mississippi Medical Center, and many more. The majority of pregnant women in the United States experience their labor and delivery with no problems. Others, unfortunately, suffer complications during the process that require medical intervention.
This may necessitate the use of certain tools to speed up or help the delivery, such as forceps or vacuum extractors. When used correctly, these can deliver the baby safely in an uncertain situation. When used improperly, however, these tools can cause serious birth injuries to your child.
A considerable number of babies whose deliveries involved the use of tools like vacuum extractors or forceps suffer brain injuries and other physical impairments. The birth injury attorneys at Merkel and Cocke, P.A. hold doctors and other medical professionals accountable when they are negligent with their use of these tools, and will work to recover damages for your injured child.
Why would a doctor need to use forceps or a vacuum extractor?
In the event of a complicated or difficult labor and delivery, an obstetrician may use forceps or a vacuum extractor to free the baby from the birth canal. These tools are typically used when the birthing process needs to be sped up, such as when the infant or mother is in distress, or if the baby’s oxygen or heart rate are at dangerous levels.
A vacuum extraction or forceps delivery may need to be considered for a few reasons:
- Stalled or delayed labor. If a mother has been pushing for two to three hours but labor hasn’t progressed, labor may be considered stalled. In these cases, forceps or vacuum extraction are options to complete delivery of the baby.
- Baby in breech position. Breech is when the baby is positioned with their feet or buttocks to be delivered first, instead of the head.
- Changes to or problematic heartbeat. A doctor may become concerned about changes to the baby’s heartbeat during labor, and attempt to speed up delivery by using forceps or a vacuum extractor.
- Pre-existing condition. If the mother has a medical condition like a heart problem, her obstetrician may want to limit the amount of time she needs to push during labor by using a tool like forceps or vacuum extraction.
What complications can occur with these birthing tools?
When vacuum extractors and forceps are used correctly and in the proper situations, they are typically safe and result in healthy deliveries. However, complications can and do occur. Because these tools rely on force to extract the baby from the birth canal, the child can suffer severe injuries and, in tragic cases, death.
Injuries associated with forceps deliveries include:
- Eye trauma
- Facial injuries and palsy
- Cranial nerve damage
- Cerebral palsy
- Skull fracture
- Fractured clavicle
- Bleeding in the brain
- Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)
- Erb’s palsy
Vacuum extraction injuries include:
- Skull fracture
- Nerve damage
- Brachial plexus injuries
- Brain hemorrhage
- Cerebral palsy
- Subgaleal hemorrhage
My baby was injured with forceps or a vacuum extractor. What do I do now?
Medical professionals should only use forceps or vacuum extractors in urgent situations when no other options are available. And it’s crucial that doctors only utilize these tools with the highest level of care possible. When a medical professional doesn’t use their tools with the utmost caution—or uses them unnecessarily—a child can suffer needless harm. If this happens to your baby, you have the right to seek damages on their behalf.
Your first step is to determine liability for the birth injury. Your lawyers will typically look first to the obstetrician or healthcare provider who was responsible for delivering your baby. If they used forceps or a vacuum extractor but either didn’t need to or didn’t use them properly, they are likely responsible for your damages.
Parents may file a claim on behalf of their injured child. Typically, damages include costs of all injury-related medical expenses (medical bills, physical therapy, medication, etc.), pain and suffering, loss of ability to enjoy life, and more. In the rare instance that forceps or vacuum extraction leads to a fatal injury, parents may also seek compensation for funeral and burial expenses, as well as other losses.
We understand that complications during birth can lead to catastrophic results. It’s crucial to move quickly and collect documents, notes, reports, and speak to medical professionals to determine who is at fault for your child’s injuries.
Mississippi birth injury attorneys your family can trust
If a medical professional’s negligence caused your child to suffer a birth injury, we can help. The attorneys at Merkel & Cocke, P.A. have been fighting for the rights of children for decades, and dedicate themselves to holding responsible parties accountable for their harmful actions. We provide services from our home offices in Jackson, Oxford, and Clarksdale, and work with clients throughout Mississippi, including Tupelo and across the Gulf Coast region. We also handle cases in Tennessee and Arkansas. Please call us today at 662-799-1633 or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation.