Childbirth is inherently risky, even when the mother and child are in perfect health otherwise. When deliveries become prolonged or complicated, vacuum extraction is often used to assist the birth.
Unfortunately, improperly performed vacuum extractions can injure the infant and mother. Here’s what you need to know about vacuum extraction birth injuries.
What are vacuum extractions?
Vacuum extractions use a device with a soft cup that is attached to the baby’s head. The device has a vacuum pump, which creates suction on the head. The mother pushes while the doctor guides the baby, still attached to the vacuum device, out of the birth canal. Once the baby’s head is visible, the cup is removed and the birthing process continues normally.
Because vacuum extractions involve some risk, they’re usually reserved for when an infant has an abnormal heart rate, when labor stops progressing or when the mother can no longer push on her own.
Vacuum extraction complications are riskier if the baby is too large, the baby’s head hasn’t moved to the middle of the birth canal or the doctor cannot determine the head position. It’s also risky when the mother is less than 34 weeks pregnant or the baby has a bone or bleeding disorder.
Vacuum extraction complications
If a vacuum extraction is performed improperly, it can cause complications and injuries to mother and child. Mothers may experience issues like tearing and cuts, leading to postpartum bleeding, urinary problems and incontinence.
Infants can experience even more severe injuries. Sometimes the suction stretches or tears the nerves in the baby’s neck, which can cause or increase the risk of spinal cord injury. If too much suction is used, the child may experience mild to severe head and scalp injuries. For example, because newborn skulls are soft, vacuum extraction can lead to skull fractures. Improper extractions can also cause intracranial hemorrhage (bleeding in and around the brain) or subgaleal hemorrhage (ruptured veins cause blood to accumulate between skull and scalp). Hemorrhages can cause brain damage, shock and even death if not identified and treated appropriately.
It can take months or years to notice developmental injuries as a result of vacuum extraction, while certain types of hemorrhages can take days to build up.
If you or your child suffered severe complications as a result of a vacuum extraction, help is available. Call the Law Offices of Tim Misny to find out more about your legal options.
Talk to an Ohio birth injury attorney today
The Law Offices of Tim Misny can help you with your birth injury claim. If you or your child were injured due to a medical provider’s negligence or recklessness, I’ll Make Them Pay!® Call my office at (877) 944-4373 so that I can evaluate your case right away.