Risks Associated with Vacuum-Assisted Deliveries

When a pregnant mother begins the birthing process, she may find it difficult to complete her child’s birth. Complications with the birthing process may call for the use of a vacuum-assisted delivery. Medical providers may elect to use a vacuum extractor to help complete the birth, but this decision must be made carefully.

A vacuum-extractor should only be used when one or more of the following circumstances arise during a birth:

  • Prolonged second stage of labor
  • Mother is extremely exhausted
  • Dangerous fetal heart rate or similar complication

The misuse of a vacuum extractor can be more dangerous than not using one at all. It is not uncommon for a vacuum extractor to cause some sort of mild complication to either the mother or her newborn. The risk of a serious injury is estimated to be about 5% in ideal situations, and much higher if the vacuum extractor should not have been used in the first place.

Some of the worst birth injuries caused by an unsafe vacuum-assisted delivery are:

  • Scalp lacerations, or bleeding on the surface of the skin.
  • Cephalohematoma, or bleeding beneath the skin.
  • Subgaleal hemorrhage, or ruptured vein between scalp and sinuses.
  • Intracranial hemorrhage, or bleeding actually inside the skull.
  • Facial nerve paralysis, occurring in one or both halves of the face.
  • Hyperbilirubinemia, a blood toxicity that can cause jaundice.

Many of these risks can cause severe or permanent injury to the child, who will need to live with the consequences for the rest of their life in most cases. Even the cost of immediately necessary medical care can reach well into the thousands. It is important for the parents of a child injured due to the misuse of a vacuum extractor during an assisted or operative delivery to consider their legal options afterward.

At Abramson, Brown & Dugan, our New Hampshire birth injury lawyers are serious about standing up for those who have been wrongfully injured due to medical provider neglect. We are proud to be able to say our law firm has won more medical malpractice settlements and verdicts than any other in New Hampshire. See how we can help you and your child after a birth injury by calling (603) 323-4622 now and arrange a free consultation.


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