Vacuum extraction is a last-resort method that doctors sometimes have to use to deliver a child. When there are complications during birth that prevent the baby from being born vaginally and when a C-section is no longer an option, doctors will sometimes opt to use a vacuum device to deliver the child. There are very real risks in using this technique. A couple in Pennsylvania, for instance, filed a lawsuit in November of 2012 over allegations that the use of this technique killed their child.
How it Works
Doctors use a vacuum device that applies suction to the child’s head to aid it in getting out of the birth canal. This is done in situations where the mother is unable to deliver and where the birth has become very dangerous. Maternal exhaustion that carries so far that the child and mother are both at risk, for example, is a situation that doctors sometimes remedy by using this technique. The reason it is almost always a last resort, however, is because it poses real risks to the child.
The suction applied to the child’s head can result in brain damage, bleeding and other injuries. The suction can also cause injuries to other parts of the baby’s body indirectly. In all cases, this is one of the last ways that a doctor will want to deliver a child.
Brain Injuries and Infants
Those infants that survive this procedure may end up suffering conditions that are very much associated with brain injuries sustained during birth. Cerebral palsy, for instance, may result from the brain injuries that a child suffers during a vacuum extraction. Of course, because of the suction, there is also the risk of the child dying outright, which is every parent’s nightmare, and in some cases, which may have been completely avoidable.
Mistakes and Malpractice
Birth injuries from medical mistakes aren’t as common as they once were, simply because medical technology and techniques have advanced so much over the years. Not every new technique is desirable, however, and some of them carry very real risks. Drug therapies given to mothers, extractions involving dangerous techniques and other medical procedures can pose risks to a child’s life and limb.
Some parents, such as the couple in Pennsylvania, end up suing over these incidents. The cases where a child is brain damaged, but survives, sometimes end up in lawsuits, as well, on the behalf of the child.