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Improper use of Vacuum Extraction Devices

Syracuse Lawyers for Hospital Malpractice

Vacuum extractors are medical tools that can be used to help a fetus’s head pass through the birth canal during childbirth. They are machines with a piece that extends to cover a fetal skull. They are often used in connection with delivering a baby when the labor and delivery are complicated or difficult. There are risks associated with vacuum extraction. It’s important that your doctor let you know those risks and obtain your informed consent before attempting vacuum extraction. If you are concerned about birth injuries arising out of improper use of vacuum extraction devices, a knowledgeable Syracuse medical malpractice attorney may be able to help.

Improper Use of Vacuum Extraction Devices

There are certain situations in which an OB-GYN may choose to use a vacuum extraction device to help a baby be born. This includes when labor isn’t progressing properly and the fetus is not moving through the birth canal with just pushing and contraction. Another common situation in which a vacuum extraction device may be used is where a fetus is suffering stress from prolonged labor or because pharmaceuticals have been provided to the mother. When the mother has a heart condition that restricts how much physical exertion is possible during childbirth, this may also necessitate the use of assistive methods such as a vacuum extractor.

Vacuum extraction is associated with a range of birth injuries. It is a tool that should generally only be used under extreme circumstances and used only by those with the skill and experience to understand how to avoid injuries to mothers and babies.

A doctor should obtain informed consent when a vacuum extractor is to be used. Informed consent is obtained where a doctor explains a particular medical procedure, explains what risks are involved, and explains what other options are available. Before agreeing to the use of a vacuum extraction device, it is important to know what the risks are for you and the baby. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer can help to assess whether informed consent was sought and obtained in your case.

Risks of Using Vacuum Extraction Devices

There are certain circumstances in which it is not inadvisable to use vacuum extraction. These include when a fetus is under 36-weeks-old, the use of forceps during delivery failed, the baby’s skull is deformed, the baby’s position is unknown, the baby’s skull has a bone density issue, or the baby is too large to be pushed out.

Risks to a baby when vacuum extraction is used include cerebral palsy, brain damage, facial injuries, eye trauma, intracranial bleeding, cervical fractures, seizures, skull injuries, spinal cord damage, and hemorrhage. Mothers also face risk from vacuum extraction, including bladder injuries, anemia, long term urinary tract problems, perineum problems, uterine rupture, sexual problems with perineal injury, and weakened muscles that can later result in pelvic organ prolapse.

Medical Malpractice

It may be possible to recover damages where the improper use of vacuum extraction devices cause injuries to either the mother or the baby. To prove medical malpractice you’ll need to show: (1) there was a doctor-patient relationship that gave rise to a duty, (2) breach of the professional duty of care, (3) causation, and (4) damages. The breach of the professional duty of care may be that the health care provider improperly used the vacuum extraction device.

An alternative theory under which it might be possible to recover is informed consent. Where the issue is a lack of informed consent over the vacuum extraction device, you will need to show that the doctor didn’t get informed consent and that you suffered harm from the expected complications of vacuum extraction device usage.

Retain a Birth Injury and Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you were harmed by improper use of a vacuum extraction device in Syracuse, a seasoned medical negligence lawyer can help you evaluate your options. DeFrancisco & Falgiatano represents medical malpractice victims and their families in Syracuse and Rochester, as well as Elmira, Lyons, Cooperstown, Herkimer, Auburn, Canandaigua, Wampsville, Oneida, Lowville, Utica, Watertown and Oswego. Please call us at 315-479-9000 or contact us via our online form.

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