Florida Vacuum or Forceps Birth Injury Malpractice Attorneys
When a mother has been in prolonged labor and is having difficulty pushing the baby out of the birth canal, doctors may decide she and her baby need help. They may rely on forceps or a vacuum extractor to assist in delivering the baby.
In many cases, the use of these tools is safe and necessary to facilitate the birth of the baby. However, if the tools are used negligently, the mother and baby can both suffer unnecessary and preventable injuries. In these cases, the negligent doctor or other health care practitioners can be held accountable and the victims of their negligence may be able to receive compensation for their injuries, pain, suffering and losses.
The Florida birth injury malpractice attorneys of Paul Knopf Bigger are experienced medical malpractice lawyers committed to obtaining justice and substantial compensation for those who have been injured by the actions or inactions of a negligent health care practitioner. If your child was injured by negligent use of forceps or a vacuum extractor during delivery, we will help you achieve justice with a Florida medical malpractice claim.
Why Does a Doctor Use Forceps or a Vacuum Extractor?
In many cases, a doctor’s use of forceps or a vacuum extractor is necessary to help the baby exit the birth canal. Some indications that the baby needs this assistance are:
- The mother has been in labor and pushing for several hours, but the baby has still not exited the birth canal.
- The mother is too tired to continue pushing.
- There is a medical problem that makes it too risky for the mother to continue pushing.
- The baby is showing signs of distress and needs to be delivered quickly.
What are the Problems that Can Arise Due to the Use of Forceps or a Vacuum Extractor?
The use of forceps or a vacuum extractor may cause injury to both the mother and the baby. The mother may experience pain in the perineum, tears in the lower birth canal, damage to the urethra and/or bladder, difficulty urinating or moving her bowels, uterine rupture, or pelvic organ prolapse. The baby may have one or more problems from a forceps or vacuum extractor delivery, including:
- Minor facial injuries like bumps or bruises.
- A cone-shape to the head for a few days
- Facial palsy due to damage to the facial nerves
- Eye trauma
- Skull fracture
- Scalp wounds
- Bleeding within the skull resulting in brain damage
- Shoulder dystocia
- Brachial plexus injuries
- Damage to the baby’s limbs
Some injuries may heal quickly. Others, such as bleeding within the skull and strokes, may result in severe damage that will affect the child throughout his or her life.
When is the Use of Forceps or a Vacuum Extractor Considered Medical Malpractice?
Not all cases of forceps or vacuum extractor birth injuries are the result of medical malpractice, but it is important to your baby’s future to determine if an injury was due to medical negligence and if so, to hold the responsible health care practitioner(s) liable.
A birth injury is likely the result of medical malpractice if forceps or a vacuum extractor were used in one of the following situations:
- The baby’s head had not moved past the midpoint of the birth canal.
- The position of the baby’s head was unknown.
- The baby was in a breech position.
- The baby was too large to fit through the birth canal.
- The baby has a condition that affects the strength of its bones.
Also, if the tools were used according to established protocol, such as if the baby was in distress and needed assistance to exit the birth canal, but were used incorrectly, the negligence of the health care practitioner may be the cause of the birth injury.
How is a Florida Medical Malpractice Claim for a Forceps or Vacuum Extractor Birth Injury Initiated?
Florida law provides for a medical malpractice claim to be filed against a health care practitioner when all the following elements are met:
- Duty — The negligent health care practitioner(s) had a duty to provide you the standard of care accepted by other reasonably prudent practitioners of the same or similar area of health care.
- Breach — The health care practitioner(s) breached the duty of care by providing care that fell below the acceptable standard of care.
- Cause — The health care practitioners’ breach of the duty of care caused harm to your baby.
- Damages — The harm your child suffered due to medical negligence caused damages.
If you can demonstrate these four elements of medical malpractice, you can pursue a claim for damages.
What Compensation Can Victims of a Forceps or Vacuum Extractor Birth Injury Receive?
Under Florida law, you may be able to receive both economic (medical expenses and lost wages) and non-economic (pain and suffering) damages. Examples of damages for which you may be compensated include:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish for your baby and for you due to you having to watch your child suffer
- Diminished earning capacity
- Medical expenses, including past, current, and future
- Speech and occupational therapy
- Other damages that may be unique to your specific circumstances and recoverable under Florida law
Proving negligence on the part of the health care practitioner or practitioners is a complex process. For optimum results, you need to work with attorneys who are skilled and experienced in handling medical malpractice cases.
Contact Proven, Trusted Florida Birth Injury Malpractice Attorneys
The medical malpractice attorneys of Paul Knopf Bigger are experienced trial attorneys who will put their expertise and resources to work for you. We have won multi-million-dollar settlements and awards for many of our clients who have been injured by medical malpractice and have the experience and skill you can depend on to win your child’s birth injury case.
Other attorneys throughout Florida and the U.S. trust our lawyers to handle their clients’ complicated Florida medical malpractice claims. If your child was injured due to medical negligence, you too can trust us to provide the outstanding legal representation, exceptional personal service and total commitment to achieving justice you deserve.
If you suspect your baby’s injury was caused by medical negligence, please submit the Free Case Evaluation form on our website or call us at 855.292.2111. We will discuss the circumstances of your case with you and advise you on your best course of action.
Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (1998-2021). Forceps delivery.
Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (1998-2021). Vacuum extraction.
Medline Plus. (2021, May). Assisted delivery with forceps.
Medline Plus. (2021, May). Vacuum-assisted delivery.