Portland Forceps Injury Lawyer

A pregnant woman and her doctor can set out her preferences for the delivery process as much as she wants and the delivery still may not go as planned. One common hiccup that may arise is that the baby is not traveling smoothly through the birth canal. If a baby will not fit or will not travel through the birth canal, a C-section may often be necessary. However, there are other tools a doctor can use before ordering a C-section, which can save the mother the trauma of major surgery.

One commonly used method of assistance during delivery is forceps. The doctor can use forceps to grasp the head of the baby and pull gently to help the baby move through the birth canal. In many cases, forceps are successful and everyone is happy and healthy. However, in other cases, a doctor may make a mistake in the use of forceps that can injure the baby.

Using forceps can be risky because the skull of a baby is not yet hard and the bones are not fused completely. The scalp is also highly sensitive and vulnerable to disfigurement, bruising, and other injuries. If a doctor uses forceps and causes injuries to a child, parents may have the right to hold the doctor liable for any additional medical bills they incurred or any pain and suffering experienced by their child. If your child has suffered a forceps injury, call the Johnston Law Firm in Portland, OR. We will thoroughly examine the facts of your case and recommend your best medical malpractice option.

Common Forceps Injuries

Forceps are metal tongs that are curved in order for a medical professional to clasp the tongs onto the sides of a baby’s head. A doctor is expected to use necessary care when both clasping the head and when pulling on the baby. If the doctor does not pull gently enough, serious injuries can result.

The following are some examples of possible injuries to a baby from the use of forceps:

  • Indentations on the baby’s head from excessive pressure;
  • Abrasion or contusions on the baby’s scalp;
  • Permanent disfigurement of the baby’s scalp or head;
  • Erb’s Palsy or shoulder dystocia, which is an injury that damages the brachial plexus nerves in the baby’s shoulder.

While many bruises or indentations may clear up on their own in a matter of weeks, some disfigurements of the head may persist, worsen, and may become permanent. Erb’s Palsy can result in partial or total paralysis in the arm and hand of the shoulder that was injured. In some cases, the baby’s nerves will heal on their own and they will regain mobility and sensation in their limb. However, other babies with Erb’s Palsy may require surgical procedures or other medical treatment to repair the nerves that were damaged due to the serious forceps injury.

Forceps Injuries Due to Medical Malpractice

If you are trying to deliver a baby and your doctor recommends the use of forceps, you should be able to trust that forceps are a safe choice under the circumstances, that delivery assistance is necessary, that your doctor is properly trained in the use of forceps, and that your doctor will take the appropriate time and care when using the forceps on your baby to prevent birth injuries. If your doctor does not provide the required medical standard of care in your particular situation, you may have the right to hold them accountable for medical malpractice.

While medical malpractice cases can be difficult to prove, negligent doctors should be held liable for the losses of their patients. Such losses claimed in a medical malpractice case can include the following:

  • Bills for the medical care required to treat the injury or repair damage caused by the misuse of forceps;
  • Any other financial losses caused by the forceps injury, including medical equipment, lost income for the parents during medical treatments, and other potential damages;
  • Pain and suffering of the injured child;
  • Permanent disability to the child.

Contact a Portland Forceps Injury Lawyer For Help

At the Johnston Law Firm in Portland, we believe that medical professionals throughout Oregon should live up to the high standard to which they are held and that patients should be able to trust doctors to keep them and their babies safe. In the event a forceps injury happens to your child, we can fully evaluate the circumstances of the injury and advise you whether you may have a viable medical malpractice claim against the doctor who delivered your child. Please call a medical malpractice attorney today at (503) 546-3167 for a free consultation.