Mechanically-Assisted Deliveries And Serious Birth Injuries
Although there are obvious warning signs, shoulder dystocia still takes many delivery physicians by surprise. Sometimes, these doctors see the indicators during prenatal visits, but they dismiss them with an “I’ve got this” overconfident mentality. Other times, when the mothers have no prenatal care, doctors do not adequately review the patient’s file or physical condition.
Essentially, shoulder dystocia means that the baby is too large to move naturally through the mother’s narrow birth canal. If that happens, the umbilical cord may cause brain asphyxia in as little as five minutes. Since there is so much time pressure, panicked doctors often make poor choices in these situations.
Until fairly recently, doctors performed episiotomies whether the mothers needed them or not. These small incisions on the mother’s perineum are designed to make the birth canal wider. The extra few inches can make a big difference in shoulder dystocia cases. So, an episiotomy was basically a preventative measure.
But doctors now know that an episiotomy often leads to massive bleeding. There is an abnormally large collection of blood at this area during delivery, because of the mother’s and the baby’s bodies. Any slip may cause uncontrollable bleeding in either the mother or the baby.
Even if everything goes according to plan, episiotomies may still cause serious injury. They often take many months to heal. In the meantime, they often cause intense pain, especially during sexual intercourse. This pain makes it difficult to function in everyday life.
These instruments are essentially giant salad tongs. Since the early 1800s, doctors have used these instruments to literally pull babies from out of their mothers when labor stalls.
A newborn baby is so tiny that the risk of serious injury is very, very high. Even a little undue pressure may cause permanent injury or even death.
Even if used gently, forceps often leave permanent marks on the baby’s head. These depressions often cause permanent brain injuries as well. A newborn baby’s bones are almost paper-thin. So, the same bruising that appears on the skin might also appear on the brain.
In lieu of forceps during delivery, many doctors use vacuum extractors. These gadgets quite literally suck the baby out of the mother’s womb. There are several different designs. But typically, the doctor straps a metal cap onto the baby’s head. This cap is connected to a surgical vacuum.
There are basically two potential problems with vacuum extractors. One is that the vacuum might have too much pressure. Even a little extra force can cause serious injury. Sometimes, the cap itself is a problem. As the vacuum pulls the baby out and the mother’s womb the baby in, the baby’s head is caught in the middle. The pressure from the metal cap often causes skull fractures and brain injuries.
In all three of these instances, families are often entitled to substantial compensation. In addition to money for economic damages, like medical bills, and noneconomic damages, like pain and suffering, Hillsborough County jurors often award substantial punitive damages in these cases. A breach of trust in doctor-patient relationships is one of the most serious matters in Florida negligence law.
Contact Dedicated Lawyers
A brief lapse in birthing situations often leads to permanent injury. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Tampa, contact The Matassini Law Firm, P.A. Home and hospital visits are available.