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Birth Injury
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Types of Birth Injuries Caused by Forceps

During a difficult childbirth, a doctor may use forceps to pull the baby from the birth canal. In most cases, the use of forceps results in a healthy baby and happy parents, but if used improperly, forceps can injure a newborn’s skull and brain. When this occurs, parents often feel alone and confused about their rights. Continue reading to learn more about two major dangers of forceps injury and other mechanical birthing devices.

 1. Hemorrhaging

  • Bleeding between the skull and the scalp is commonly known as subgaleal hemorrhaging. This particular type of hemorrhaging is usually caused by vacuum extraction, but it can be caused by forceps as well. If the forceps fracture the delicate skull of a newborn, bleeding can cause the child to go into shock.
  • When a hemorrhage occurs between the periosteum and skull, a cephalohematoma can form. A cephalohematoma can be caused by the incorrect use of forceps— if it is not treated, the child can suffer from low blood levels (anemia) and low blood pressure (hypotension). In a newborn, both of these conditions can lead to medical complications, permanent injury, and even death.
  • Intracranial hemorrhaging occurs when blood accumulates inside of the skull. This condition can result in permanent brain damage and even death. When blood pools inside of a newborn’s skull, the brain is instantly deprived of oxygen. If this occurs, even for a brief moment, a child can face a plethora of physical and developmental problems in his future. This type of injury sometimes occurs when a blood vessel in the brain is injured by the forceps.

2. Swelling of the Scalp

  • Caput succedaneum, or swelling of the scalp, usually doesn’t result in death, but it can lead to medical conditions such as jaundice or permanent bruising. Caput succedaneum occurs when a traumatic injury to a newborn’s head or brain causes the scalp to swell. Forceps and other mechanical devices are usually responsible for this condition.

Who Is Responsible for My Child’s Injuries?

Before they are allowed to attend childbirth, physicians must learn how to properly use forceps. Medical practitioners should also know what steps to take if the child is injured during delivery. It is also the responsibility of the medical staff (doctors, nurses, physician assistants, etc.) to monitor the baby after birth. If you believe that a physician’s or hospital’s negligence resulted in the injury of your newborn, you may have a birth injury claim. To find out more about your legal rights and options, speak to birth injury attorney Laura Brown for a free consultation. Call (214) 974-4121 today.