Forcep Injuries in Washington DC

Washington, D.C. Birth Injury Lawyers Handling Forceps Injury Claims

Skilled birth injury lawyers assisting families in Washington, D.C.

Sometimes your newborn needs a little help being delivered. When a natural childbirth does not go smoothly on its own, a doctor may use forceps to help guide the baby’s head out of the vaginal opening. If the doctor uses excessive force, however, he or she could do serious and long-term damage to your child.

At Paulson & Nace, PLLC, we help families whose newborns suffered trauma during delivery because of the negligent use of forceps. Our skills have helped to secure the compensation Washington, D.C. families need to look after their child and themselves when negligence during delivery led to a serious injury.

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Why do doctors use forceps during birth in Washington, D.C.?

During the childbirth process, normally your baby will descend into the birth canal in the correct position. In some cases, however, a child may need some help getting there. The doctor may decide it is necessary to use forceps – described by the Mayo Clinic as a tool that looks like a large pair of salad tongs – to gently grasp your child’s head and pull him or her into the correct position.

Forceps are usually used when:

  • The baby is in a breech position, meaning his or her feet are positioned to exit the birth canal first, or the head needs to be rotated to the proper direction.
  • Underlying health conditions make it impossible for the mother to give birth unassisted.
  • The baby is showing signs of fetal distress.
  • The labor has stalled, meaning the mother has been pushing but no child has yet emerged.
  • Your child has not fully descended into the birth canal.

Forceps are commonly used in first-time births because the delivery of your first child is sometimes more challenging than the birth of subsequent children you may have. Forceps are incredibly useful tools when used correctly. But when a doctor attempts to use forceps on a child who is too far up inside the birth canal, or on a woman who is not fully dilated, the doctor is putting the child and the mother at risk.

How often are forceps used in delivery?

In the United States, approximately one percent of all births require the use of forceps during delivery. The odds are pretty good that most mothers will go through a typical birth but when taking into consideration that about 10,800 babies are born across the country every day, that equates to almost 40,000 births requiring the assistance of forceps each year.

The different types of forceps

There are different types of forceps that every OB/GYN should be skilled at using in addition to knowing which situation calls for a particular style. Forceps more commonly used include:

  • Simpson forceps. These are used when the baby’s head has been squeezed into a pointy shape by the birth canal.
  • Elliot forceps. This style is used when the baby’s head is round.
  • Kielland forceps. These are often used when the baby needs to be rotated.
  • Wrigleys forceps. These are designed to reduce the risk of uterine rupture when the baby is far along in the birth canal or during a C-section.
  • Pipers forceps. These are designed to fit around the underside of your baby’s body allowing the doctor to grasp the baby’s head during a breech delivery.

While the need for using forceps has decreased, the number of serious injuries while using them has skyrocketed significantly in recent years. If a doctor is not experienced enough to recognize a situation that requires a specific set of forceps it can easily cause damage to the baby and mother.

What are the risks of using forceps during delivery?

The problem with forceps is that if the doctor is not careful, he or she can use them too forcefully. The pressure can literally squeeze your child’s head and lead to a skull fracture. The baby may have permanent facial disfigurement, partial or full loss of eyesight, or suffer with permanent brain damage or facial paralysis. If the child is already showing signs of fetal distress, it is possible for the baby to have a seizure. If the negligent use of forceps does not trigger a seizure themselves, they can certainly leave your child permanently scarred.

Other potential injuries that may result from the use of forceps are:

  • Tears of the bladder or uterine walls, increasing the mother’s chances of developing a serious infection, such as sepsis. It is also possible to render a mother incapable of having more children if the damage done by the forceps is too great or leaves too much scar tissue.
  • Third- or fourth-degree vaginal tears involving the muscle or wall of the anus or rectum, which occurs in an average of 10% of all forceps assisted births.
  • Blood clots, which have a higher chance of forming in the legs or pelvis and can result in sudden death due to pulmonary embolism.
  • Anal incontinence where the mother may experience leakage after suffering a third- or fourth-degree tear.

Paulson & Nace has helped Washington, D.C., families just like yours whose doctors negligently or incompetently used forceps on a new baby. We understand how even the seemingly smallest errors can have lifelong repercussions for the baby and the mother. The statutes of limitations in medical malpractice cases vary, so it is crucial that you seek our help quickly, so that we may assess your options and help you decide how to move forward.

Helping clients feel confident in moving forward with forceps injury claims

The knowledgeable attorneys at Paulson & Nace, PLLC focus on the litigation side of personal injury claims so that our clients in the greater Washington, D.C. area can focus on their physical, mental, and emotional recovery. Our hard-hitting attorneys fight for the compensation you deserve while striving to resolve your forceps injury claim as quickly as possible so that you can get on with your life. Schedule your free case evaluation in our Washington, D.C. or Charleston, WV office by calling 202-463-1999 or by reaching out to us through our contact page.