Doctors May Be Held Liable For Birth Injuries Caused By Forceps

On behalf of Pat Crispi at Keogh Crispi PC

In the United States, approximately five in 1,000 newborns are injured during the birthing process. Though some of these birth injuries are unavoidable, some could have been prevented through proper use of birthing tools like forceps.

What is an Assisted Delivery?

An assisted delivery occurs when a doctor uses a birthing tool to help a baby through the birth canal during the pushing phase of labor. Birthing tools are used when labor is not progressing normally or when a mother or baby is in distress. Forceps are one tool doctors use to help manipulate the baby's position in the birth canal.

Forceps look like a pair of spoons or tongs and are used to reposition the baby for a vaginal birth or to pull the baby through the birth canal. Doctors will numb the vaginal area with a local anesthetic, and then perform an episiotomy to facilitate the use of the forceps. Unfortunately, babies can be injured by the use of forceps.

What are the Complications of a Forceps Delivery and Who is at Risk?

Forceps-assisted deliveries can cause birth injuries for babies. Common complications include bruising, swelling, and lacerations on the baby's head. In some cases, fracturing may occur as well.

Babies and mothers with certain conditions may have a greater chance of having an assisted delivery. Large babies, babies that are breech or transverse, babies with a developmental disorder or premature babies are more likely to need a forceps-assisted delivery. New mothers, mothers with long pregnancies, or mothers with long labors or very rapid labors are also at increased risk of a forceps-assisted delivery.

Who is Responsible for Forceps-Related Birth Injuries?

Though some birth injuries are unavoidable, others are the result of a physician's improper use of forceps or failing to recognize that there is a problem during labor. Doctors may be held responsible for birth injuries through a medical malpractice lawsuit if their actions or lack thereof caused the injury. If you suspect that your doctor's improper use of forceps was the cause of your baby's birth injury, you will need to provide evidence that care was inadequate. To help build your case, please contact an experienced personal injury attorney.