Forceps have been used to help deliver babies for many decades. A pair of forceps looks a bit like a pair of large salad tongs with curved ends. Typically, the curved ends are placed around the baby’s head and used to help guide the infant out of the birth canal.
While many healthy babies have been born during a forceps-assisted birth, improper or negligent use of forceps can also cause serious injuries. Most doctors are aware of the risk of forceps delivery injuries. When steps are not taken to minimize the risk of these injuries occurring, serious harm—and malpractice—may result.
What Are the Risks of Forceps Births?
Both the parent and the child may suffer injuries if forceps are used during a birth. Risks to the birthing parent include tears or lacerations in the genital area, pain in the genital area, incontinence, anemia, and injuries to the urethra or bladder. For the child, risks include injuries to the head and face, skull fractures, and brain and nervous system injuries including seizures, brain damage, or facial palsy in which one or more of the nerves of the face is permanently damaged.
What Can Be Used Instead of Forceps?
Forceps are most often used when there are complications with delivering the baby in the usual way. Exhaustion, prolonged delivery in the second stage, illnesses or infections, and other factors can all keep the birthing parent from being able to deliver the baby alone. Doctors may use forceps in an emergency situation, such as a breech birth or troubling readings on a fetal heart monitor.
In nearly all of these situations, options like an emergency cesarean section (C-section) can be used, along with other types of tools.
If your baby has been injured and you suspect negligence may be involved, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced Pittsburgh medical malpractice lawyer who can help you find out what happened and seek the compensation your child needs and deserves.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.