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Don't let a faulty forceps delivery impinge on your baby's future

As nervous as you were about the impending birth of your child, you likely assumed that your baby's -- and your own -- best chance for a healthy delivery was to trust in the knowledgeable expertise of your New Mexico obstetrician. Of course, most of the time, this really is the safest plan, as doctors go through years of specialized training and education to ensure they can provide the best care possible. Sometimes, though, the very instinct telling you to follow your doctor's advice may be leading you astray.

Doctors are human, and unfortunately that can mean they are prone to human error. The thing is, it's not a simple mistake when a doctor's oversight or lack of judgment results in a serious injury to you or your baby. Even more upsetting, perhaps, is when a doctor makes a decision based on what is easiest and most convenient for him or her, rather than what is safest and best for you and your child. Take, for instance, the use of forceps during delivery.

A forceps delivery

What exactly is a forceps delivery? It's a type of delivery involving assistance doctors occasionally employ in vaginal births. The method utilizes an instrument -- forceps -- that resembles a pair of salad tongs or large spoon. The doctor uses the forceps on the baby's head during your contractions to help remove the baby from the birth canal. A physician could decide to use forceps for a variety of reasons, including if:

  • Your baby is facing the wrong direction
  • Your infant's heartbeat indicates there may be a problem
  • Your labor isn't progressing

The problem is that a forceps delivery might not always be the best option, and it's certainly not the only one. For example, your doctor's decision that your labor is "stalled" could just mean that he or she has lost patience and would prefer your childbirth to be advancing more quickly than it is.

The inherent risks

It's important to remember that if a forceps delivery becomes a possibility, this means that undergoing a Cesarean section is also an option. While C-sections aren't fun, they're definitely preferable to the injuries your baby could incur as a result of a faulty forceps delivery, including:

  • Facial injuries from the doctor applying too much pressure from the forceps
  • Facial palsy (weakness in the muscles of the face)
  • Eye trauma
  • Seizures
  • Intracranial bleeding
  • Skull fracture

While you may be more concerned with the health of your infant, you are not free from risk yourself, as forceps deliveries increase the likelihood of the mother suffering:

  • Perineal pain
  • Tears and wounds to the lower genital tract
  • Damage to the bladder or urethra that results in difficulty urinating
  • Fecal incontinence
  • Excessive blood loss resulting in anemia
  • Uterine rupture
  • Pelvic prolapse

Additionally, if your doctor decides to use forceps in conjunction with an episiotomy, your risks for infection and bleeding also increase.

Resources

When done correctly by a skilled New Mexico physician, a forceps delivery can help ensure that your labor progresses in a timely manner and may even save your baby's life. However, there are a number of serious risks involved if the doctor in charge of the procedure does not have the necessary expertise or if he or she performed the delivery in a negligent manner.

If you or your newborn suffered serious birth injuries due to such a careless error in judgement, this could be a case of medical malpractice. While such lawsuits are very complex and often difficult to navigate, there are legal professionals in the Albuquerque area who are familiar with the process of investigating and, if appropriate, even litigating such incidents. Such a professional would be able to offer support in a fight for just compensation to get the funds you and your baby need as a result of your doctor's negligence.

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100 Gold Avenue SW, Suite 201
Albuquerque, NM 87102-3476

Toll Free: 888-819-2544
Phone: 505-349-4003
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