Complications can arise during childbirth. When a mother is unable to push the baby through her birth canal, it must be determined what form of assistance she needs. If it becomes clear that the baby will not make it through the canal, a doctor may recommend an emergency cesarean section. If, however, the baby only needs a “little” help, the doctor may use forceps or a vacuum extractor to gently assist in a safe delivery of the baby.
However, vacuum extraction is a medical procedure used during birth that carries certain risks when not used properly. During a vacuum extraction, a plastic cup is placed on the head of the newborn. A vacuum attached to the cup will create suction allowing the cup to “stick” to the head. The delivering healthcare provider will then apply a pulling or other force upon the vacuum apparatus and head to help the baby descend through the birth canal.
Babies born through vacuum extraction can suffer form various conditions and injuries including: scalp swelling, bruising, bleeding around the brain (known as intracranial hemorrhage), skull fractures, bleeding between their skull and scalp (known as subgaleal hematoma), and other conditions. These complications can lead to permanent disabilities or even death.
Babies may also suffer injuries to the network of nerves (known as the brachial plexus) that travel from the spine to the shoulder, arm, and hand. The mother can suffer harm during a vacuum extraction as well. Possible risks to mothers include pain in the perineum, lower genital tract tears and bleeding, anemia, and trauma to the muscles, ligaments and nerves in the pelvis.
If you or your child suffered birth injuries as a result of vacuum extraction, it may be in your best interest to contact an experienced New Jersey birth injury lawyer to discuss your potential claim. It is possible for victims or their families to file a medical malpractice claim seeking compensation for significant losses caused by negligence on the part of medical professionals.