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Forceps, Vacuum Deliveries Linked With High Rate of Injury in Canadian Mothers, Babies

Cropped shot of an unrecognizable baby’s adorable feet at home while his mom is holding them

How do forceps and vacuums cause birth injuries?

Many birth injuries involve the use of forceps and vacuums during the childbirth delivery process, according to a recent scientific study concerning the high rate of birth injuries in Canada involving forceps and vacuum deliveries.

"It's hidden. No one speaks about it because of obvious reasons like it's embarrassing or some people think this is just a normal side effect of childbirth, and it's not," Giulia Muraca, lead author of the scientific study and a professor at McMaster University in Hamilton, said in an interview with CTV News.

About 25% of infants sustain birth injuries due to forceps

The recent study conducted by Muraca and others at McMaster University found that one out of four childbirth deliveries resulted in a birth injury in Canada. The study was based on 10 years of birth injury data. In addition, researchers noted that "Canada has the highest rate of maternal trauma after births in which tools like forceps and vacuums are used," CTV News reported.

Doctors often use forceps and vacuums to assist with the delivery of a newborn infant when labor stalls and the mother cannot push to aid with the delivery. If used properly, forceps and vacuums should not cause a birth injury.

However, such medical devices can sometimes cause serious injuries to newborn infants and mothers. Examples of how such medical devices sometimes cause birth injuries include:

  • Too much pressure is applied to a baby's head when using forceps during the birth-delivery process.
  • Waiting too long to use forceps or vacuums during delivery results in a delivery injury.
  • Using the wrong size cup during a vacuum-assisted delivery.
  • Placing the vacuum cup in the wrong position on a baby's head.
  • Too much suction when using a vacuum pump to assist with a baby's delivery.
  • Twisting a baby's head or neck using forceps or a vacuum cup.

Common birth injuries involving forceps and vacuums

Birth injuries involving forceps and vacuum cups can cover a wide range, including:

  • Severe perineal and cervical lacerations. According to the recent study, these injuries occurred in one out of every four forceps deliveries and one out of every eight vacuum deliveries in Canada.
  • Vaginal tears to the mother.
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) to a newborn infant.
  • Cerebral palsy. CP is often caused by a lack of oxygen during birth.
  • Broken bones and bone fractures to the newborn baby or mother.

How common are birth injuries in Ohio?

Birth injuries vary from year to year and state to state. But in general, roughly 7 out of every 1,000 births result in a birth injury nationwide, according to numerous medical studies and birth injury data collected by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

To put such numbers in perspective, 129,791 babies were born in Ohio in 2021, according to the March of Dimes. As a result, if 7 out of 1,000 births resulted in a birth injury, that would mean at least 908 children suffered a birth injury in Ohio.

However, many birth injuries are not identified right away and are sometimes underreported. This is especially true if the impact of a birth injury is not apparent immediately after the birth of a child. As a result, such birth injury numbers could be even higher in Ohio.

What legal options are available to parents after a birth injury?

Depending on the circumstances of a birth injury sustained by an infant or the mother during the delivery process, there can be several options available, such as:

  • Accept a one-time settlement payment to pay for a lifetime's worth of expenses associated with a birth injury.
  • Ask for additional compensation and negotiate a better birth injury settlement claim before agreeing to accept such an offer.
  • Take legal action and file a birth injury lawsuit seeking damages, the legal term for financial compensation.

How can a Cleveland birth injury attorney help?

Birth injury claims involving injuries to a newborn baby or the mother often quickly turn into complicated legal cases. One reason is that there's often a lot at stake for the parties involved, especially if the baby or mother needs long-term medical care as a result of their injury.

Rather than compensating victims with the financial compensation they deserve, many doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies will do everything possible to deny wrongdoing.

Our Ohio law firm knows what's at stake. That's why we're here to help. Attorney John A. Lancione of The Lancione Law Firm has years of experience handling complex birth injury cases. As a result, he knows exactly what to do to build the strongest possible legal case.

Get the law firm that gets results. Contact us and schedule a free consultation to learn more about your legal rights. When you have a Cleveland birth injury attorney on your side, you can make sure your voice is heard loud and clear. Reach us online or call (440) 331-6100 or (877) 515-4369 to speak with attorney Lancione. We handle birth injury cases nationwide.

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