During delivery, the attending physician might consider using forceps in the course of vaginal childbirth. Doctors might use forceps if the mother is pushing but labor is not progressing, if they are concerned about changes in the baby’s heartbeat, or if the mother has a health concern, like high blood pressure or heart disease.
In this type of assisted delivery, the doctor will apply forceps (an instrument that looks similar to salad tongs) to the baby’s head to help guide the infant out of the birth canal. While forceps delivery might be considered if the mother is having trouble pushing the baby out, the use of this instrument could also cause severe injury to both the mother and the baby.
If you or your child suffered severe injuries due to the use of forceps during delivery, you could have a medical malpractice claim against the doctor, attending nurses, or the facility. The respected birth injury lawyers of Salvi, Schostok, & Pritchard, P.C., can help. We will fight to hold the medical professionals accountable and demand the financial compensation your family needs.
Contact us today to set up a free consultation with our experienced team.
When Is a Forceps Injury Considered Malpractice?
Many people don’t understand that medical malpractice does not apply in every case in which the procedure does not go as planned. Simply being dissatisfied with the result does not mean the medical professional is guilty of negligence. If you were hurt during a forceps delivery or if your child was harmed by the use of the instrument, you could have a valid medical malpractice claim only if the medical professional deviated in some way from an adequate standard of care.
To prove negligence in a forceps delivery malpractice case, you must demonstrate:
- The doctor or attending nurse made an error in judgment or practice that another qualified professional would not have made in the same situation.
- That error in judgment caused the mother or infant to suffer harm.
- The harm the infant or mother suffered caused additional pain and suffering, required additional treatment or surgery to correct, or proved to be fatal.
A medical professional could be liable if he or she failed to identify key warning signs that the use of the instrument might cause harm to the mother or child. Some examples of the negligent use of forceps include:
- Use of the instrument before the head is engaged (known as a high forceps delivery), versus the use of forceps when the head is deeply engaged. Misuse of the instrument in a high delivery could kill the child and severely injure the mother.
- The use of forceps when the child is in the breech position or in a transverse lie.
- Lacerations caused by the use of forceps before the mother’s cervix was completely dilated.
- The medical professional does not get a firm grasp on the infant’s head.
- The medical professional attempts to use forceps when the baby’s head is too big to fit through the mother’s cervix, when a C-section should be ordered.
Proving medical malpractice can be challenging and is often more difficult than other personal injury cases. The medical professional, the facility, and the insurance company will likely do everything they can to avoid liability. Your birth defect lawyer will have to investigate and collect evidence, interview those involved, and consult with medical experts to establish that the medical professional’s actions failed to meet an adequate standard of care.
What Are Common Injuries During Forceps Delivery?
Both the mother and the child are at risk of severe injury if forceps are not used correctly or when necessary.
Risks to the mother include:
- Tears in the lower genital tract
- Injuries to the urethra or bladder
- Uterine rupture, which could include the baby pushing into the mother’s abdomen
- Weakening of the ligaments and muscles in the pelvic organs, causing pelvic organ prolapse
- Short- or long-term fecal or urinary incontinence, often caused by severe tears
- Difficulty urinating
- Pain in the perineum after delivery
Risks to the infant include:
- Facial injuries
- External eye trauma
- Facial palsy, or weakness of the muscles in the face
- Skull fractures
- Internal bleeding in the skull, brain damage, cerebral palsy
In severe and particularly tragic cases, the misuse of forceps could result in the infant’s death.
What Compensation Is My Family Owed for a Forceps Birth Injury?
If you or your child were severely injured due to the negligent use of forceps during delivery, know that you are not alone. Others have been through the same terrible ordeal and have been awarded the compensation they needed to pay their medical bills and ensure that their child can get the best possible care ─ both now and for however long in the future it is necessary.
In general, you could be eligible to claim compensation for:
- Medical expenses (current and future)
- Lost income for injured mothers who are unable to work
- Reduced earning capacity for the future
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Physical and mental suffering caused by the injury
When you choose one of our compassionate birth injury attorneys to represent you, we will evaluate the extent of your injuries and calculate the cost of those injuries on your life, not just now, but in the future. We will aggressively pursue a full settlement agreement to cover all of the expenses you have incurred or might incur. If the insurance company doesn’t offer a settlement that is appropriate, then our skilled trial lawyers will be prepared to pursue a birth injury lawsuit in court.
Do You Need a Lawyer After a Forceps Birth Injury?
For more than 35 years, the Chicago birth injury attorneys of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C., have fought to protect families who were hurt by the negligent actions of medical professionals. These are challenging cases to tackle, but our team has the experience and the resources necessary to take them on.
Our law firm has made a name for ourselves for building a team of top litigators with the knowledge and skills to hold medical professionals accountable when they fail to deliver the standard of care that we, as patients, must expect from them.
Contact us now to schedule a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case, and find out how our trial lawyers could help you.