Improper Use of Forceps During Delivery

Delivery room doctors, nurses, and anesthesiologists owe their patients a very high legal duty of care. Precisely, they must follow all of the necessary delivery room protocols and use the proper tools and techniques when delivering a child from its mother’s womb.

When medical providers make serious mistakes, such as misusing forceps and other instruments during delivery, medical complications may result for the mother and the child. In some cases, the child may suffer brain damage leading to cerebral palsy or other significant medical complication.

If you or your child suffered an injury during the birthing process that resulted from improper use of forceps or some other serious medical mistake you need proper medical care right away.

In addition, consult a knowledgeable and compassionate birth injury lawyer in your area. Your lawyer can review your circumstances with you, consult an independent medical provider, and determine your eligibility for filing a medical malpractice claim against your treating healthcare provider.

If you move forward with a case, your attorney can help you file a claim with the at-fault provider’s insurance company and work to secure the monetary compensation you need for your own injuries or your child’s injuries.

If the insurance company refuses to settle your case fairly, your attorney can file a lawsuit against the negligent medical provider and pursue your case through the state court system. Your attorney will then aggressively litigate your case and help you maximize the monetary damages you ultimately recover.

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Different Types of Forceps That Medical Providers Use During the Delivery Process

During the delivery process, medical providers may use forceps. The kind that the provider uses will depend on the shape of the mother’s birth canal, the shape of the infant’s head, and the stage of the delivery process at that time. However, forceps all have the same essential design, which includes two blades or prongs.

The primary purpose of the prongs is to gently take hold of the infant’s head during delivery.

To aid with delivery, medical providers may use:

  • Kielland forceps
  • Wrigley’s forceps
  • Elliot forceps
  • Piper’s forceps
  • Simpson forceps

Doctors may misuse any type of forceps, even if they have significant experience. When a doctor decides to use forceps, a slight mishap can cause devastating injuries to your infant.

Doctors may need forceps to help deliver a child if:

  • The infant’s heart rate changes
  • The mother has a dilated cervix
  • The infant is in the feet-first position, as opposed to the head-first position
  • The labor process is not moving forward, and the mother is becoming tired
  • The mother suffers from heart disease, hypertension, or some other severe medical complication
  • The infant’s position is low in the mother’s birth canal

Moreover, if the delivery room doctor is unsuccessful in using forceps in any of these circumstances, the delivery team should be ready to immediately perform a cesarean section. When a doctor fails to order a c-section and continues to use forceps for too long, serious problems can arise.

What Can Happen if a Medical Provider Misuses Forceps During the Delivery?

Serious medical complications can occur when a delivery room doctor or other healthcare provider misuses forceps during the delivery process. In fact, the mother and the infant can incur many physical injuries and medical complications.

Medical complications for the mother may include:

  • Incontinence, on either a short-term or long-term basis
  • A rupture of the uterus
  • Tears to the vaginal area
  • Perineal tearing
  • Pelvic organ prolapse
  • Pelvic organ weakening
  • Damage to the urinary tract
  • Damage to the bladder

In addition, improper forceps use can result in numerous complications for the infant, including:

When a delivery room doctor fails to use forceps correctly, the infant may suffer different types of palsy, leading to lifelong complications.

The child may suffer from cerebral palsy if the child’s brain does not receive sufficient oxygen during delivery. If the child contracts cerebral palsy because of a medical provider’s improper use of forceps, they may experience permanent and lifelong complications, including impaired motor function, loss of muscle tone, and balance problems. They may also experience epilepsy, deafness, or blindness.

Moreover, if a medical provider fails to resolve shoulder dystocia prior to using forceps to remove the infant from the mother’s body, the infant may suffer a broken arm or brachial palsy, which causes damage to the nerves. In a worst-case scenario, the infant may suffer some type of arm paralysis due to brachial palsy.

Suppose you believe that your child suffered a birth injury due to a medical provider’s improper use of forceps during the delivery process. In that case, you should immediately consult with an experienced birth injury attorney near you. Your lawyer can speak with you about the circumstances, review medical documentation in the case, and speak with an independent medical provider to determine if you are eligible to file a claim for medical negligence or malpractice.

If you proceed, your attorney can file a claim on your behalf with the negligent medical provider’s insurance company, gather the necessary supporting documentation, and pursue fair settlement compensation on your behalf. In addition, if the insurance company does not make you a fair and reasonable settlement offer, your lawyer can take your case to a civil jury trial or binding arbitration proceeding.

Medical Negligence and Malpractice in Birth Injury Cases

As the claimant in a medical negligence or malpractice case, you have the burden of proving several legal elements. The negligent healthcare provider, conversely, does not need to prove anything in the case or satisfy any legal burden of proof. Instead, the claimant bears the legal burden, and if they fully meet their burden of proof, they may recover monetary compensation and damages.

First, the claimant must demonstrate that the medical provider owed a legal duty of care. This element is usually a given since healthcare providers owe their patients the highest possible duty of care to act reasonably under the circumstances. Precisely, a medical provider must follow the standard of care applicable to a hypothetical reasonable medical provider operating under the same or similar circumstances. In most cases, a medical specialist must follow a national standard of care.

Second, a medical malpractice claimant must demonstrate that the treating medical provider breached or violated their duty of care somehow. For example, the medical provider might have used forceps improperly during the delivery process – or used the wrong type of forceps to deliver the child.

Proving a breach of the duty of care is often arduous in a medical negligence case. Therefore, you will need to have an independent, qualified medical provider on board in your case who practices in the same field as your treating medical provider.

The independent provider can then review all of the necessary medical documentation and other evidence in the case. Based upon a reasonable degree of medical probability, the provider must then be willing to state that your treating healthcare provider made a mistake and acted unreasonably under the circumstances.

The independent healthcare provider must also show that as a direct result of the treating provider’s negligent actions or inactions, a medical complication occurred, leading to the subject birth injury.

A skilled birth injury attorney in your case can help you satisfy these legal elements and put you in a position to recover favorable monetary damages. Although no amount of financial compensation can ever fully compensate you or your child for a birth injury and the resulting complications, it can help to bring about a sense of justice for both yourself and other family members.

However, given the short statute of limitations, take prompt legal action and involve a skilled medical malpractice attorney in your case as quickly as possible.

Negotiating a Settlement with the Insurance Company

Many medical malpractice and negligence cases settle out of court. In fact, if every case went to a jury trial in court, it would overwhelm court staff, including civil court judges. A skilled medical malpractice attorney can secure fair monetary compensation from the negligent medical provider’s insurance company.

When it comes to settlement negotiations, you need skilled legal counsel representing you at every stage of the proceedings. Insurance companies do not make it easy on anyone during settlement negotiations. Insurance companies want to save themselves as much money as possible and will do anything to undermine the value of a medical negligence claim.

In some situations, the insurance company may try and downplay the medical provider’s alleged negligence. At other times, they may even deny liability and argue that the medical provider did not behave negligently under the circumstances. Medical testimony from an independent healthcare provider can help in these situations.

After submitting the necessary documentation to the insurance company, your attorney can engage the adjuster in ongoing settlement negotiations. Those negotiations typically go back and forth between the plaintiff’s attorney and the medical provider’s insurance company until the case either resolves or the parties fail to reach a settlement agreement.

In the latter instance, the parties may take their case to a civil jury trial for a resolution.

At a medical malpractice jury trial, the attorneys will present evidence on behalf of their respective clients and call independent (expert) medical providers in support of their positions. The jury will then decide all disputed issues in the case, including the amount of monetary compensation to award for a birth injury.

A skilled medical malpractice attorney can help you decide whether you should accept a settlement offer from the insurance company or pursue a favorable litigation result in court.

Damage Awards in Birth Injury Cases that Result from Medical Negligence

If your child suffered a birth injury due to improper use of forceps during delivery or from some other type of medical negligence, you may receive monetary compensation. That compensation usually depends on the nature and extent of your child’s injuries, the egregiousness of the medical provider’s negligent actions or inactions, and other fact-specific circumstances.

Monetary damages that you may recover in your case may include compensation for:

  • Anticipated medical treatment that the child may need to undergo, such as surgeries and other future procedures
  • Permanent disabilities, medical complications, illnesses, or deformities
  • Past and anticipated pain and suffering
  • Long-term care costs
  • Loss of the ability to use one or more body parts due to paralysis

A skilled and compassionate birth injury attorney in your area can help you establish realistic expectations for your case and determine which of these monetary damages you may recover. Your lawyer can also give you a ballpark figure as to the approximate value of your birth injury claim or lawsuit.

Speak With an Experienced Birth Injury Lawyer Right Away

Tatiana Boohoff, Lawyer for Motorcycle Accident cases near Tampa area.
Tatiana Boohoff, Birth Injury Attorney in Tampa.

If you believe that your child suffered a birth injury due to improper forceps use during the delivery process, you must take prompt legal action. You need to have someone with experience on the subject on your side advising you because you face a complicated matter.

A birth injury lawyer can determine your eligibility for filing a medical malpractice claim with a negligent healthcare provider’s insurance company and assist you with every step of the process. Moreover, if your case must proceed to a jury trial, your personal injury attorney in Tampa can aggressively represent you, fight for your rights, and help you secure the highest possible monetary award possible in your case.

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July 10, 2023
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