Forceps may be used under certain circumstances during the delivery of a baby. Forceps are meant to allow a doctor to apply additional grasping and pulling force which they feel may be needed to effectuate delivery. However, there are particular dangers associated with using forceps which can put the baby and mother at risk of suffering injuries. Accordingly, doctors need to exercise caution when utilizing these instruments.
The most common consequence of improper forceps use is bruising (typically on the baby's face or head). Facial and head bruising usually resolves without incident. However, babies may sustain more severe injuries including damage to facial nerves (Bell's Palsy), or skull fractures, blood collections (cephalohematomas) on the head, intraventricular hemorrhage, subdural hemorrhage, cerebral hemorrhage, subarachnoid hemorrhage and/or subgaleal bleeds, all of which can cause neurological impairment. In addition, the mother may suffer from internal tissue lacerations, nerve injuries, bruising and muscle strain.
Using forceps requires proper training in how to apply the instruments to the baby's head, and the utilization of the proper degree of force. In fact, in certain circumstances, forceps use is contraindicated. These include:
Further, the application of mid forceps (where the station is between 0 +2 cm) also increases the risk of shoulder dystocia, and as a consequence, the risk of there being a brachial plexus injury (Erb's Palsy). Further, due to an increased risk of harm to the baby and mother from their use, mid-forceps deliveries are seldom performed. Similarly, the use of a high forceps delivery (where the head is not engaged) is an extremely dangerous procedure and has no place in modern medicine due to the increased risk of harm and injury that it can cause. A high forceps delivery should be avoided.
One of the most joyous occasions in a family's life can be permanently affected when a newborn or a mother suffers permanent injuries as a result of the birth. Patients rely upon doctors to exercise caution, and to practice within standards established and accepted by the medical community. When healthcare providers fail to practice within those standards, and cause unnecessary harm to patients, they may be held liable for the damages they cause.
If you and/or your baby have sustained injuries due to the improper use of forceps at delivery, contact a New Jersey birth injury lawyer at Blume Forte today for a no cost consultation with one of our experienced New Jersey birth injury lawyers. Call us at (973) 635-5400.
If you need to consult a New Jersey personal injury attorney, you need to contact Blume Forte Fried Zerres & Molinari. The initial consultation is always free.