To assist with the delivery of a newborn, medical providers can sometimes opt to use medical devices. When used appropriately, birth-assisting medical equipment can be an optimal solution to what might have been a difficult, laborious, or extensive birth. On the other hand, a medical provider unfit or untrained to use the medical equipment can actually cause far more harm through their misuse. In some cases, the result can be a permanent birth injury.
What Types of Medical Devices can Cause Birth Injuries?
Commonly used birth-assisting medical devices that may harm a newborn or mother when misused:
- Forceps: When a baby is incorrectly positioned in the birth canal or womb, forceps can be carefully used by a medical provider to reposition the infant. Done correctly, the birth can be completed readily. Used incorrectly and the forceps can actually harm the child. In many instances, children are born with lacerations that turn to scars from the harsh use of forceps. Others can be pulled, twisted, and contorted by a medical provider using forceps without the right training or acceptable level of care.
- Vacuum extractors: Some children are born in the correct position but resist being birthed for other reasons, like size, weight, or the relative weakness of the mother’s contractions. A vacuum extractor, when used correctly, can gently pull a child headfirst to complete the delivery. As the name suggests, it uses gentle vacuuming to extract the newborn. Vacuum extractors can be dangerous, though, if the child is not positioned correctly, or if the force of the vacuum is too powerful for their head. Some children can suffer permanent brain injuries as a result of a vacuum extractor.
- Pitocin: To increase a mother’s oxytocin levels and therefore improve the strength and frequency of her contractors, a medical provider may use a synthetic drug called Pitocin. However, Pitocin has been linked to numerous health risks to the mother and child alike. Examples of serious complications include water intoxication, pulmonary edema, and fetal distress. Medical providers must be extremely cautious when using Pitocin, choosing to use the drug only as a last resort. Otherwise, it could amount to medical malpractice if the mother and/or her child are hurt after it is used.
What Are Some Examples of Birth Injuries Caused by Medical Devices?
Medical device birth injuries caused by medical malpractice can range from small lacerations to injuries that result in profound, long-lasting impacts on both the newborns and their families. When medical instruments are misused, they can result in serious birth injuries in newborns, including:
- Vacuum and Forceps Injuries: The improper use or excessive force implemented when using a vacuum or forceps could lead to injuries such as facial nerve damage, skull fractures, brain hemorrhages, or nerve injuries in the neck or shoulder area.
- Fetal Monitoring Device Injuries: Although continuous electronic fetal monitoring devices are commonly used to track the baby’s heart rate and contractions, if medical staff incorrectly interprets the data or fails to respond promptly to abnormal readings could result in oxygen deprivation and birth asphyxia that can cause conditions like cerebral palsy or cognitive impairments.
- Cesarean Section (C-Section) Complication Injuries: Improper surgical technique or inadequate monitoring of the mother’s and baby’s vital signs can lead to complications like lacerations, nerve damage, or infections.
- Birth Defects Caused by Medications: Certain medications taken during pregnancy or labor, such as anti-seizure drugs or antidepressants, may put the developing fetus at risk and cause congenital abnormalities or other health issues.
- Birth Control Device Failure Injuries: In rare cases, birth control devices like intrauterine devices (IUDs) or contraceptive implants can result in complications during pregnancy. Failure to prevent conception or migration from the intended position may result in ectopic pregnancies or other complications requiring medical intervention.
The list above is not exhaustive and other birth injuries may be possible due to medical device negligence. The classification of birth injuries can vary in both severity and nature, but when any such injury occurs, it’s crucial to seek legal guidance and medical support to understand your rights and obtain the appropriate care for the child.
How Can I Tell if My Child’s Birth Injury was Caused by a Medical Device?
Although a medical equipment birth injury may seem obvious to diagnose, it can actually be a complex process requiring thorough investigation and consultation with medical professionals. Here are some steps you can take to determine if a medical device was potentially to blame for your child’s injury:
- Medical Records Review: Obtain copies of all relevant medical records including prenatal, labor, and delivery records. Look for any documentation related to the use of medical devices during the birth process and pay attention to details like type of device used, circumstances surrounding its use, and any complications or adverse events noted.
- Consult with Medical Experts: Seek the opinion of medical experts who specialize in birth injuries and medical device-related complications. They can review your child’s medical records and provide an objective assessment of whether a medical device may have contributed to the birth injury as well as help determine if the device was used appropriately or the practitioner deviated from standard medical practice.
- Seek Legal Consult: Consult with an attorney experienced in medical malpractice and birth injury cases. They’ll evaluate circumstances surrounding your child’s birth injury, review medical records, and guide you through the legal process. An experienced attorney can also help determine if there is a potential claim for compensation against the healthcare provider or the manufacturer of the medical device.
- Research and Document: Conduct thorough research on the specific medical device involved in your child’s birth injury. Look for any known risks or previous cases of complications associated with that device, as this information will support your case and help establish a link between the device and birth injury. Your lawyer should be able to provide you with such background information, as well.
- Collaborate with Support Organizations: Reach out to relevant support organizations who specialize in birth injuries or medical device complications. These organizations will often have resources, information, and networks that can provide guidance and support throughout your journey.
Can I File a Lawsuit for a Medical Device Birth Injury?
Yes, you can file a lawsuit for a birth injury that has been caused by medical device malpractice. If you believe that a medical device used during the birth of your child caused their injury, it’s crucial to consult with an attorney specializing in medical malpractice and product liability cases. An experienced attorney can evaluate the specific circumstances surrounding your child’s birth and help determine if you have grounds for a lawsuit. To establish a successful claim, it needs to be demonstrated that the medical device was defective or improperly used and directly caused the injury. Your attorney will guide you through the legal process, gather evidence, consult with medical experts, and work to build a strong case on your behalf. It’s important to note that the statute of limitations for filing a medical device birth injury lawsuit varies by jurisdiction, so it’s advisable to seek legal advice as soon as possible.
National Birth Injury Lawyers Who Never Back Down
Were you or your newborn seriously injured during the delivery of your child? Is it possible that a medical provider’s misuse of medical equipment was the cause? You need to start exploring your options and the right to compensation.
Come to The Simon Law Firm, P.C. if there could be any chance that medical malpractice caused your child’s birth injury. We take birth injury cases of all sorts, from comparatively moderate harm caused to permanent health complications. While we are based in St. Louis, our birth injury attorney are ready to be of service to clients across the country.
Call (314) 241-2929 to schedule a 100% free case evaluation with our team now.