Vacuum extraction for a baby? When it’s time to have your baby, you probably wouldn’t want the doctor coming anywhere near you with a vacuum hose! But this obstetric device has been around for a long time and can sometimes help with a difficult birth. Of course, it can also create more hazards for your baby if used improperly.
Birth injury attorney Laura Brown shares a case of her own, explaining why vacuum extractors MUST be used only when necessary.
A vacuum extractor is a medical device that can be used to help deliver the baby in an operative vaginal delivery. It is essentially a suction cup that fits on the baby’s head and that is attached to a lever. The suction cup is pressurized so that it is sucking on the baby’s head to stick and during a contraction, the doctor will pull on the lever, pull on the suction cup to try to cause the baby to descend down the birth canal. For a variety of reasons a vacuum extractor is potentially very dangerous and should only be used by people who are very knowledgeable about how to use a vacuum extractor and only when there are specific reasons to use it. It shouldn’t be used casually, there needs to be a specific reason to use it – because the cup is causing this pressure on the baby’s head and can cause a bleed in the baby’s brain which can result in an injury to the baby.
In a case that I had representing a beautiful little girl, it was her mother’s first delivery, first child – everything about the labor had been completely normal. The doctor comes in to deliver the baby and the mother has been pushing for hour or so the doctor decides to use a vacuum extractor. She puts the vacuum extractor on the baby and with the first pull the baby’s heart rate became completely abnormal showing that there were signs that the baby wasn’t getting enough oxygen. The doctor panicked and continue to use the vacuum extractor when she should not have and as a result the baby was deprived of oxygen causing a very severe and permanent injury to her brain. And reading literature about the vacuum the CDC–the Centers for Disease Control–have published a bulletin to all doctors, nurses, obstetric providers about the dangers of using a vacuum extractor when you’re not experienced in their use. If you had a delivery involving a vacuum extractor and your child has suffered an injury and you would like to know whether or not the vacuum extractor played any role, call my law firm and we’ll be happy to talk to you, obtain your records, and see if the vacuum extractor played a role.