Vacuum extraction devices allow the doctor to safely assist with a difficult delivery, but there are strict rules about when and how they should be used. If your doctor used this type of birth assistive device inappropriately or improperly, your baby may have sustained birth injuries and suffer life-long complications.
Reach out to the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today by calling 1-800-222-9529. You can connect with a birth injury lawyer in your state who can review your vacuum extraction birth injury case for free. You may be eligible to hold the doctor and hospital liable for your newborn’s injuries.
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Vacuum Extraction Injury Lawsuits & Injury Cases
Doctors have strict protocols they must follow based on the circumstances their patients face. There must be certain factors in play before the use of a vacuum extraction device during delivery, and they must follow certain rules when using them to prevent harm to the baby. Abiding by these factors to ensure the necessary level of care is known as the standard of care.
When doctors, other medical practitioners, or hospitals fail to provide an acceptable standard of care, it is medical negligence. This is grounds for a medical malpractice birth injury lawsuit. You may be able to hold the doctor and/or hospital liable if medical negligence caused your newborn to suffer a birth injury during vacuum extraction.
When you meet with a birth injury lawyer about your case, you will discuss:
- The facts of your case
- The deadlines to file your case
- How to identify the liable party(s)
- Enlisting the help of a medical expert witness to prove your case
- Your expenses and losses related to your child’s birth injury
If you can reach a settlement or get a court award, you may recover damages that include:
- Medical care costs related to the birth injury
- Therapy and rehabilitation
- Ongoing care costs
- Other related expenses
- Pain and suffering damages
- Emotional distress
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Vacuum Extraction Injury Types
The type of birth injuries your child may suffer from improper or inexpert use of a vacuum extraction device varies depending on the situation and the circumstances of your individual case.
In general, misuse of a vacuum extractor can lead to injuries that include:
- Skull fractures
- Subconjunctival and retinal hemorrhages
- Brachial plexus injuries including Erb’s palsy or Klumpke’s Palsy
- Brain hemorrhages
- Cerebral palsy
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
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Vacuum Extraction Injury Causes
Vacuum-assisted delivery requires training with the specific device in use as well as knowledge about how to perform this type of procedure safely. Preventable birth injuries may occur when a health care professional:
- Uses the device when not recommended
- Fails to follow device directions
- Misuses the device
- Has other issues with the use of the device
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Vacuum Extraction Injury Symptoms
The symptoms of a vacuum extraction injury can vary widely depending on the nature and severity of the injury. However, some common signs of a serious injury may include:
- Neonatal seizure
- Paralysis of any part of the body
- Paralysis of one arm
- Asymmetric movements of the face, paralysis on one side of the face
Infant Limpness or Weak Movement
While it is possible that a change in your infant’s behavior could be the result of a developmental milestone, infant limpness and weak movement are often the results of a more serious complication. Here are just a few of the serious defects or illnesses that can cause limpness or weak movement:
- Meconium aspiration syndrome: this occurs when a newborn breathes a mixture of meconium (stool) and amniotic fluid into the lungs during delivery.
- Group B streptococcus infection: this can happen if a woman was not tested for Group B Strep during pregnancy and passes it on to her child at birth.
- Birth asphyxia: this occurs when a baby’s brain and organs do not get the right amount of oxygen and nutrients at birth.
If your child’s limpness or weak movement is the cause of an injury or defect that went undiscovered at birth, you may be entitled to recover damages related to the injury.
Vacuum Extraction Injury Diagnosis and Treatment
If your newborn had a difficult delivery, and doctors opted to use a vacuum extractor device, the hospital should have a policy of continuously monitoring their vital signs and observing the infant for signs of complications.
If doctors believe your child suffered a head injury, they may perform a cranial ultrasound to look for subdural or subarachnoid hemorrhages. Alternatively, they may order a CT scan or an MRI to check for any traumatic brain injuries.
Vacuum Extraction Injury Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if my baby suffered a vacuum extraction injury?
It is almost impossible to know immediately if your newborn suffered birth injuries related to the use of a vacuum extraction tool unless they exhibit serious medical concerns such as paralysis right away. However, if you spot any unusual symptoms in your newborn, contact a trusted doctor immediately. Prompt treatment can limit the damage in some cases.
Can a vacuum extraction injury be fatal?
Vacuum extraction can lead to a newborn’s death in rare cases, if it causes a significant brain injury or if doctors fail to treat other complications. Serious vacuum extraction birth injuries can also cause life-long conditions including paralysis, difficulty with muscle control, and intellectual disability. Prompt treatment can help limit the severity of some of these conditions.
Who is liable for a vacuum extraction injury?
Vacuum extraction devices have become an instrument of choice for many doctors looking to move away from using forceps for difficult deliveries. However, when misused, these devices can lead to serious birth injuries. If a doctor did not follow protocol or otherwise misused a vacuum extractor and your baby suffered injuries, you may be able to hold the doctor liable.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, the hospital or other medical personnel may also be liable.
What is the statute of limitations for a vacuum extraction injury?
How long you have to pursue a legal case against the doctor who caused your newborn’s birth injury depends on the state laws where the incident occurred. You will need to work with an attorney in your state to take legal action. They can also explain the statute of limitations, the statute of repose, and any tolling for minors that may apply in your case.
Vacuum Extraction Injury Glossary Terms
- What are Superficial Scalp Wounds? Superficial scalp wounds are cuts and scrapes to the scalp of the newborn. They are common with vacuum extraction and only affect the skin.
- What is Subgaleal Hematoma? A subgaleal hematoma is a potentially deadly complication of vacuum extraction that occurs when blood accumulates outside of the newborn’s skull.
- What is Intracranial Hemorrhage? An intracranial hemorrhage is dangerous bleeding inside the skull. This complication can occur because of a skull fracture or other head injury.
Talk to a Vacuum Extraction Injury Lawyer in Your State
If your newborn suffered complications because of improper or inexpert use of a vacuum extraction tool, the Birth Injury Lawyers Group can help you understand your options for taking legal action. Call 1-800-222-9529 today to reach an attorney in your state who will evaluate your case for free.
Vacuum Extraction Injury News
A court in Ireland listened to the story of a mother whose baby died in her arms 12 hours after birth in 2012. RTE has the story.
The court ruled that there was a “medical misadventure” after they heard that doctors tried six times to use forceps and vacuum extraction to deliver a baby. Due to the rough treatment, the baby was born with a broken skull and brain injuries.
Doctors decided to use the tools after an 11-hour labor. In a 13 minute period, the six attempts were made. The baby was delivered and taken immediately to a NICU. Four hours later, the baby had to be resuscitated. Eight hours after that, he died.
This caused the baby to die 12 hours later. The hospital apologized to the family a year ago after a different court ruled that the damage was their fault. It took them until 2017 to admit liability though.
Tools like vacuum extractors and forceps can help with difficult births, but they have a high risk of causing damage to babies as well. It takes a lot of experience to use these tools properly without causing damage.
This also means that when injuries happen from these tools, doctors need to be held responsible. The choice to use these tools is all in the hands of the doctors.
Most people are familiar with vaginal and Cesarean births, but sometimes things to wrong during labor. There are two main tools at hand, forceps and vacuum extraction. A report in ContemporaryObgyn.net talks about the risks and the lack of training in the medical community with vacuum extraction.
Vacuum extraction procedures have been undergoing a steady decline since 1995 when it was done for about 5.9% of all births. There are fewer residents who have undergone training in the procedure during their residency, though they may still have experience with using these devices.
One of the reasons the device was invented was that delivering a baby with forceps has a high risk of injuring the child. Nevertheless, there are risks associated with vacuum extraction. A big but rare complication is neonatal encephalopathy. A much more common one is intracranial hemorrhages (brain bleeding). Vacuum extraction increases the risk of traumatic hemorrhages ten-fold and doubles the risk of non-traumatic ones.
While a follow-up study in Sweden says that children delivered by vacuum extraction have cognitive outcomes similar to those delivered by unplanned Cesarean births, it’s little comfort. The report recommends that hospitals develop simulation training exercises to train doctors on how to do the procedure for those rare instances when using vacuum extraction is necessary.
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