Vacuum extraction is a type of assistive birth that helps move infants who become lodged through the birth canal. The use of vacuum extraction (VE) goes back as far as the 18th century, with the electric version used today becoming popular in the U.S. in the 1980s.
Proper use of vacuum extraction can help deliver children during difficult or prolonged labor. But misuse of the device can cause serious injury. If you think a doctor was negligent in their use of this or another assistive birthing device, talk to a New York lawyer for vacuum extraction injuries at Buttafuoco & Associates. Call 1-800-NOW-HURT.
When do doctors use vacuum extraction?
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists provides the following guidelines for use of operative vaginal delivery, such as vacuum extraction:
- Prolonged second stage of labor
- Suspicion of immediate or potential endangerment to the infant
- Shortening of the second stage of labor for maternal benefit
Before use, doctors should confirm or perform the following:
- The cervix is fully dilated and retracted
- The membranes have ruptured
- The fetal had has started to engage
- Determine position of the fetal head
- Estimate the child’s weight
- Determine if pelvis is adequate for vaginal delivery
- Ensure adequate anesthesia provided
- Mother’s bladder is empty
- Mother consents to the procedure
The ACOG also states that the doctor should be willing to abandon the procedure and have a back-up plan in place in case the vacuum extraction fails.
Injuries Caused By Improper Use of Vacuum Extraction
Injuries that may be related to use of vacuum extraction may include:
- Scalp bruising and lacerations are minor injuries that go away with time. Lacerations may become infected if not properly cleaned and monitored.
- Cephalohematomas are areas of bleeding underneath the cranial bones. This condition causes a raised lump on the infant’s head and typically dissipates within weeks or months.
- Caput succedaneum is characterized by swelling of the soft tissues of the infant’s scalp that usually disappears without intervention.
While many of these injuries are minor and dissipate within a few weeks or months, some experience complications (e.g., jaundice) that may be related to the injuries. Improper monitoring or management of these injuries and complications may lead to further injury or medical concern, for which a doctor may be liable.
Among the more serious injuries that may arise from use of vacuum extraction is subgaleal hemorrhage. This is a rare but potentially life-threatening condition. It causes bleeding in the space between the skull and the scalp. An infant may develop hypovolemic shock if not properly monitored and treated.
Talk to your doctor if you believe your child is suffering from an injury or medical conditions related to a birth injury. If you believe the injury is related to negligence, you may also seek legal counsel regarding your rights.
Filing a Claim for Damages Caused by Improper Use of Vacuum Extraction
To claim damages for injuries caused by vacuum extraction, you must be able to prove the doctor acted negligently in his application of VE. The injury must be significant and the result of a doctor acting outside of the standard of care.
Buttafuoco & Associates with evaluate your case for the legal options available to you. Let us help you identify and prove negligence, liability, and the value of your damages. Call 1-800-NOW-HURT.