Vacuum extraction is a common medical procedure used during childbirth to assist in the delivery of a baby. While it can be a helpful tool in complicated deliveries, there are potential risks involved, such as “pop offs.”
Parents should understand what pop offs are, why they occur and how they can be indicative of medical malpractice.
What is vacuum extraction?
Vacuum extraction is a procedure in which a doctor attaches a vacuum device to the baby’s head to help guide them through the birth canal. It is typically used when the mother is experiencing difficulties during labor, such as prolonged second-stage labor or fetal distress. The vacuum device creates suction, allowing the healthcare provider to apply gentle traction to assist the baby’s descent.
According to MedlinePlus, vacuum extraction has a number of risks. For example, it can lead to bleeding under the baby’s scalp, jaundice, bleeding in the skull and a temporary cone-shaped head.
What are pop offs?
During the vacuum extraction process, the vacuum device may occasionally detach from the baby’s head. This is a “pop off.” It can happen due to various reasons, including incorrect placement, improper technique or insufficient vacuum pressure. When a pop off occurs, it can cause scalp injuries, such as bruising, swelling or lacerations. In severe cases, the baby may experience bleeding within the skull, known as a subgaleal hematoma. Additionally, pop offs can prolong the delivery process, leading to oxygen deprivation and potential brain damage if not addressed promptly.
When a healthcare provider fails to properly monitor the vacuum device or neglects to follow established protocols, it can be a breach of the standard of care. To prevent pop offs and potential medical malpractice during vacuum extraction, healthcare providers must have proper training, carefully monitor the vacuum device, ensure correct placement, use appropriate vacuum pressure and promptly address any pop offs that occur. By understanding the risks, complications and preventive measures, both healthcare providers and patients can work together to ensure a safe and successful delivery.