The birthing process can be challenging enough on its own, yet when birth injuries enter the picture, situations can quickly go from inconvenient to life-threatening. Pennsylvania’s birth injury litigations usually come with a number of obstacles, as each injury is unique. It is important for parents and expecting parents to know information on the common types of birth injuries, as well as the various medical malpractice resources to consider.
Most medical malpractice incidents are unique from patient to patient, but an article in Public Opinion highlights that birth injuries often take a common route: that of the incorrect use of surgical tools. In what experts consider to be the largest ever court-ordered award due to medical malpractice in the Pennsylvania’s Middle District, a Chambersburg couple recently received $42 million for drastic damage a doctor inflicted on their son. The doctor allegedly used forceps, a tool used in assisted vaginal delivery, to help deliver the child. However, professionals consider the dangers of extended use of forceps, and the doctor used this manuever extensively during delivery. The infant received an alarming amount of brain damage shortly after birth, and doctors say the child will never be able to carry out daily life functions on his own.
Incidents such as the recent Chambersburg case are, indeed, tragic, but forceps-related injuries are more common than one might assume. The U.S. National Library of Medicine clarifies common questions related to forceps misuse during birth, acknowledging that forceps-assisted vaginal births are safe only when an experienced doctor uses the tools correctly. Although forceps-related injuries can seem frightening, the USNLM points out that few cases are severe. Other minor risks include bruising to the baby’s face and injured nerves cause by pressure of the forceps, but these injuries typically heal over time.