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What Types of Birth Injuries Can Be Caused by Vacuum Extraction?

Posted on in Birth Injury

Cook County medical malpractice attorney birth injury

Every expectant mother hopes that her delivery will go as smoothly as possible. However, complications during the birthing process sometimes necessitate the use of special procedures and equipment that may present a risk to the baby. Vacuum extraction or vacuum-assisted delivery is a procedure used during a vaginal delivery when a baby needs help traveling through the birth canal. A device called a vacuum extractor creates suction on the baby’s head and allows the doctor to gently pull the infant out while the mother pushes. Although vacuum extraction is a common procedure, it is also associated with an increased risk of serious, sometimes life-threatening birth injuries.

Why Is a Vacuum Extractor Used During Labor and Delivery?

If labor is not progressing normally, a vacuum extractor may be used to encourage the baby through the birth canal. Vacuum extraction is often used when a mother experiences ruptured membranes or trouble pushing the baby out. Atypical heart rate indicating infant distress may also prompt an obstetrician to use vacuum extraction. This procedure is typically not recommended if a woman is less than 34 weeks pregnant, the infant suffers from certain health conditions such as hemophilia or osteogenesis imperfecta, the baby is in a breech position, or if the baby’s head is too big to fit through the mother’s pelvis.

Negative Consequences of Vacuum Extraction

Although vacuum extraction can be a beneficial procedure, it can cause significant damage to the newborn if performed incorrectly or conducted under the wrong circumstances. If a doctor uses excessive traction, misplaces the suction cup on the baby’s head, pulls the baby at the wrong time during contractions, or fails to order a necessary Cesarean section, preventable birth injuries may occur. Vacuum extraction can cause the baby to suffer damage to the head and eyes including skull fractures, retinal hemorrhage, subgaleal hemorrhage, and intracranial injury. The process can also lead to shoulder dystocia, a major medical complication in which the baby’s shoulders become lodged behind the mother’s pubic bone. Shoulder dystocia can cause severe damage to the nerves in the baby’s neck and arms. This can lead to brachial plexus injuries such as Erb’s Palsy. In some cases, birth injuries caused by vacuum extraction may cause an infant to suffer from lifelong medical complications. Other times, a medical mistake during vacuum-assisted delivery can cause an infant’s death.

Contact a Chicago Medical Negligence Lawyer

If your baby was injured during labor and delivery, you have a right to know why. At Birth Injury Law Alliance, we help parents determine whether or not their child’s birth injuries were caused by medical negligence. If medical malpractice led to your child suffering a preventable birth injury, you may be entitled to compensation. To learn more, schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with one of our skilled Illinois birth injury attorneys. Call our office today at 312-462-4200.



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