Vacuum Extraction Injuries
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If the labor or delivery of a baby is prolonged or difficult, doctors might consider the use of birth-assisting tools, such as vacuum extraction or ventouse. These methods have been used for decades, but still, they have the potential to cause significant injuries to the baby (such as Erb’s palsy) during labor.
The vacuum extraction process occurs during a contraction when the doctor applies a soft or hard cup to the top and back of the baby’s head. This provides suction that is used to help assist the delivery. Unfortunately, vacuum extractors can be risky, and can cause serious harm to the baby. In certain situations, vacuum extraction is necessary, but the baby must be in the right position, not disproportionately sized, and the mother should be dilated fully.
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Symptoms of Vacuum Extraction Injuries
When vacuum extractors are used incorrectly, it can cause serious injuries and lead to life-altering conditions such as Erb’s palsy, cerebral palsy, shoulder dystocia, Klumpke’s palsy, and brain hemorrhages. If untreated, these conditions can result in lifelong disability. Some could even result in death. It is important to seek treatment options immediately if you notice any symptoms that may be the result of a vacuum extraction injury.
Symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- Weakness in the arm
- Limp arm
- The appearance of a cramped hand
Officials have been aware of the dangers of vacuum extractors for nearly two decades. In a report published back in 1998, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated that:
“While no instrumented delivery is risk free, we are concerned that some health care professionals who use vacuum assisted delivery devices, or those who care for these infants following delivery, may not be aware that the device may produce life-threatening complications. We are also concerned that if health care professionals responsible for the care of neonates are not alerted when a vacuum assisted delivery device has been used on a particular infant, they may not adequately monitor for the signs and symptoms of device-related injuries.”
Take Action After Negligence-Related Issues
It is important to know that vacuum extraction injuries are entirely preventable. The mother has the ability to make a decision regarding vacuum extraction and should be warned of the potential dangers associated with the tool. Any injuries can result in a long recovery process or even permanent injury. When negligence on the part of the medical professional causes serious injury to a newborn, the parents may file a medical malpractice lawsuit to hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions.
Power, Rogers & Smith, L.L.P. has been helping families dealing with tragic birth injuries since we founded our firm. We have helped our clients recover more than $4 billion in verdicts and settlements. We know that medical negligence is unacceptable. Our firm works on our clients’ behalves to obtain the compensation they need to cover medical costs, expenses for treatments, and any long-term effects the injury may cause.
Contact Power, Rogers & Smith, L.L.P. at (312) 313-0202 to speak with a Chicago birth injury attorney today.