Despite extensive medical advancements over the centuries, childbirth still remains a tenuous, oftentimes difficult process. While medicine gives us new ways to see a child developing in the womb or testing for problems over the course of a pregnancy, deliveries can still be filled with challenges. When a child who becomes ‘stuck’ complicates a delivery, doctors may use a vacuum or forceps to help move things along. Simple in concept, these tools still require extensive skill and expertise to use properly. When put in the wrong hands, a vacuum or forceps can lead to injuries, including Erb’s Palsy and Cerebral Palsy, that impact the child for a lifetime.
What are Forceps? A tool shaped like ‘large spoons or salad tongs,’ forceps are inserted into the birth canal and applied to the child’s head. From there, the child’s head is guided from the birth canal with reasonable pressure and pull.
What is a Vacuum? A vacuum (or vacuum extraction) involves the use of a tool involving a cup with a handle and vacuum pump to attach to a child’s head and help guide the child through the birth canal. With proper use, the vacuum extraction takes place between contractions to ease the child out of the birth canal in the safest way possible.
Why Are Forceps or a Vacuum Possibly Dangerous? Given the fragile nature of a child during delivery, it is absolutely critical that the medical professional using these tools knows exactly what they are doing and uses the devices properly. Using the improper amount of pressure can result in a wide variety of damage, including broken bones, skull fractures, brain damage and more. Included in that ‘more’ are conditions like Erb’s Palsy and Cerebral Palsy, lifelong diagnoses that will impact the health of your child for a lifetime.
What Can I Do? Although the damage may be irreversible should a medical professional fail to use tools like forceps or a vacuum improperly, there are steps forward. The first step, ultimately, is to request a Medical Legal Review. This assessment, carried out by a team of medical and legal professionals, examines your recollection of the pregnancy and delivery, as well as medical records surrounding your child’s birth, to determine where deviations from medical standards took place. In the event your child’s Cerebral Palsy or birth injury is determined to have been preventable, your child can be eligible for critical Lifetime Benefits that pay for decades of therapy, adaptive equipment, medical procedures, home/vehicle modifications and more.
If your child was born with the use of forceps and vacuum and now has been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, Erb’s Palsy or suffers from a birth injury, contact us today. Doing so can begin the process for Lifetime Benefit eligibility and provide answers around why your child will face challenges for years to come.