Vacuum extractors are medical devices that doctors use when delivering a baby. These devices can play an important role in the birth of a child and help doctors to overcome complications that arise. However, if misused, a vacuum extractor can cause a child to suffer serious injuries, including permanent brain damage and brachial plexus injuries.
About Our Vaccum Extractor Misuse Lawyers
If you believe that your child suffered harm due to vacuum extractor misuse, you should seek immediate help from an experienced birth injury lawyer at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. We will thoroughly investigate your case, determine what went wrong during your child’s delivery and pursue the answers and compensation that you are due.
For more than 30 years, we have helped birth injury victims and their families in Chicago and throughout Illinois. We know how to hold negligent medical professionals accountable, and we are passionate about pursuing justice for the children and families we represent. To learn more, call or reach us online today. Our initial consultations are always free and confidential.
What Are Vacuum Extractors?
A vacuum extractor basically consists of a soft cup that is placed on the baby’s head and a pump that produces suction. During a complicated delivery, a doctor may use a vacuum extractor to ease the baby out of the birth canal.
Why Are They Used?
Doctors commonly turn to these devices when the baby experiences distress or has an irregular heartbeat. They also use them if the mother suffers from a heart condition or, due to a prolonged labor, she becomes too exhausted to push.
Are There Risks to Vacuum Extraction?
The decision to use a vacuum extractor is a critical one. As we discuss below, it carries significant risk of injury to the child. This is especially true if the child is premature. The doctor should consider and discuss with the mother all other options, which could include the performance of a C-section or attempts to reposition the baby.
Types of Vacuum Extractor Misuse
If a doctor goes forward with the use of a vacuum extractor during delivery, the doctor must use skill and care throughout the process. If the doctor fails to do so, the child may suffer permanent injury. For example, misuse of a vacuum extractor can occur when the doctor:
- Incorrectly positions the cup
- Uses the extractor for too long of a period
- Applies too much suction or pressure on the child’s head.
Types of Injuries Caused By Vacuum Extractor Misuse
Brachial Plexus Injuries
Brachial plexus injuries are among the most severe injuries that a child may suffer due to vacuum extractor misuse. These injuries involve damage to the network of nerves that travel from a baby’s spinal cord to the arms, shoulders, wrists, and fingers. The four main types of brachial plexus injuries are:
- Avulsion – Tearing the root of the nerve from the spinal cord. No surgery can repair the damage.
- Ruptures – Stretching of the nerve, which causes a partial or full tearing. Unlike an avulsion, surgery may repair a rupture.
- Neuromas – Forming of scar tissue around the injury which, in turn, restricts signals from the nerves to the muscles.
- Praxis/neurapraxia – Mild stretching of the nerves. The damage may be repaired through non-surgical treatment.
A child who suffers brachial plexus injuries may suffer long-term damage such as Erb’s palsy (injuries to upper nerves which can cause partial or full paralysis of the arms) or Klumpke’s palsy (damage to the lower nerves which can result in paralysis of the child’s forearms and hands).
Other Types of Injuries
Unfortunately, these are not the only types of injuries that vacuum extractor misuse can cause. Newborns can also suffer:
- Skull fractures – These injuries often occur due to using too much suction to deliver the baby. Serious damage can occur if shards of the skull become lodged in the brain.
- Brain injury – The use of a vacuum extractor may cause blunt trauma to the child’s brain or cause the brain to be deprived of oxygen.
- Cerebral palsy – If a vacuum extractor causes damage to a child’s developing brain, it may cause the child to develop symptoms of cerebral palsy such as speech problems and lack of muscle control. Several forms of treatment can help a child to live with cerebral palsy, but there is no cure for this condition.
- Shoulder dystocia – This occurs when a baby’s shoulder becomes lodged behind the mother’s pubic bone even though the head has passed through the birth canal. Shoulder dystocia can cut off oxygen to the brain.
These injuries can have devastating consequences for infants and their families. The child may suffer from permanent physical and cognitive deficits and require lifelong care and treatment. As a result, families may quickly find themselves buried in medical debt.
Seeking Compensation After Your Child Suffered Vacuum Extraction Injuries
If a doctor negligently used a vacuum extractor during a child’s delivery, and this negligence caused the child to suffer injury, the parents of the child have the right to seek full compensation.
The damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit can include:
- Past and future medical expenses such as the costs of surgery
- Assistive devices
- Ongoing therapy
- Pain, suffering, emotional anguish, and more.
Although these damages cannot undo the harm that the child and family have suffered, it can help the family to move forward in life.
How Our Attorneys Can Help With Injuries Caused By Vacuuum Extractor Misuse
At Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., our experienced birth injury attorneys will thoroughly investigate your case to determine the role that vacuum extractor misuse played in your child’s injury.
We will interview witnesses, review medical records, and consult with highly knowledgeable experts. We will prepare a solid demand for a settlement and, if necessary, we will be prepared to take your case to trial.
Our medical malpractice lawyers have a record of success. The results we have achieved for birth injury victims and their families include some of the largest verdicts or settlements of their kind in Illinois history or in the history of the county where the injury occurred. We are ready to put that experience to work for you and seek the justice and compensation you deserve.
Contact Our Vacuum Extractor Misuse Attorneys
If you believe that your child suffered injury due to a doctor’s vacuum extractor misuse, contact the Chicago birth injury lawyers at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., without delay.
We will provide a free consultation through our offices in Chicago or Waukegan, and we will charge you nothing unless we obtain a financial recovery for you. To learn more, call or reach us online today.