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“If you, your child or a loved one’s has suffered problems after Forceps Delivery or Birth injury due to negligence, then our birth injury solicitors can assist you with
Forceps Delivery Negligence Claims.”
Forceps or Ventouse deliveries are commonly used forms of assisted delivery to aid women who are having difficulty during vaginal birth or spontaneous delivery. While both forms are generally safe, they come with risks and must only be employed when it is absolutely necessary.
What are Forceps?
Forceps are large smooth spoon-like or tong-like metal instruments designed to fit around the baby’s head during delivery and guide the baby out of the birth canal. A forceps delivery is usually carried out during the 2nd stage of labor (the “pushing” phase) after the baby has already descended past the midpoint of the birth canal.
Indications for Forceps Delivery
About 1 in 8 births require an assisted delivery. There are various reasons why a forceps delivery may be recommended by your Obstetrician. These include:
- Prolonged and unprogressive labour.
- Fetal distress like changes in baby’s heartbeat which means the baby will need to be delivered in a hurry.
- Your baby is stuck in the birth canal or is in an unfavorable position during the pushing stage necessitating the use of forceps to rotate the baby’s head.
- Your cervix is fully dilated, the baby is low in the birth canal but you are experiencing trouble pushing.
- To quicken the delivery process if you are exhausted or you have some medical conditions either a heart condition or high blood pressure and pushing may be life threatening.
Forceps Delivery Contraindications
Your Obstetrician may advice against use of forceps if;
- Your baby is too large to fit through your pelvis or your pelvis is too small for the baby.
- Your baby’s head is above the midpoint of the birth canal; here a C-section may be recommended.
- The position of your baby’s head is unknown.
- Your baby’s shoulders or arms are leading the way through the birth canal.
Your obstetrician, midwife or medical professional in charge of the delivery should inform you of the risks associated while providing the best possible care to ensure the delivery is successful.
If for any form of negligence, there are birth injuries to the mother, or the child suffers child birth defects, then you may be entitled to compensation for maternity negligence. Our specialist forceps delivery negligence claims solicitors will provide you with the legal advice you need and assist you make a claim for a deserved compensation.
What is a Ventouse?
A ventouse or vacuum cup is a slightly complex suction device attached to the baby’s head by suction. It consists of a soft or hard plastic or metal cup attached at the end of a long tube to a vacuum suction device. The cup is designed to fit firmly to the baby’s head during birth.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says it’s generally better for doctors to use the ventouse delivery system if necessary because the risk of complication for the mother is lower than with forceps delivery. Forceps delivery however have been associated with greater success rates than the ventouse delivery in performing assisted deliveries, although they do carry a greater risk of vaginal tear.
Ventouses usually leave behind a small swelling on your baby’s head, known as cephalohematoma but this shouldn’t cause any alarm as it usually disappears within 24-48 hours post-delivery. Ventouse delivery is less likely to cause vaginal tearing. It is however recommended to use forceps over ventouse if the mother is less than 34weeks pregnant as the baby’s head would be too fragile for a vacuum cup to be used.
The choice of assisted birth type should be discussed with you, why it has to be used and the risks associated. You will have to give your consent before the procedure is carried out.
You may make Ventouse delivery claims if you, your child or a loved one had been a victim of birth complications as a result of negligent care suffered during the use of the ventouse assisted delivery.
Risks Associated With Forceps Assisted Delivery
Possible risks to the mother include:
- Pain in the perineum ( the tissue between the vagina and anus) after delivery
- Trouble urinating after delivery
- Tear in the wall of the uterus — when the uterine wall is torn, the baby or placenta could be pushed into the mother’s abdominal cavity.
- 3rd or 4th degree vaginal tear which happens in 8-12 in 100 women having forceps delivery. This number drops by less than 50% in women having a ventouse delivery.
- Short-term or long-term urinary or anal incontinence (involuntary urination or defecation) if a severe tear occurs
- Anemia, due to blood loss during childbirth
- Injuries to the bladder or urethra
- Weakening of the muscles and ligaments supporting your pelvic organs, causing pelvic organs to drop lower from their anatomical position in the pelvis (pelvic organ prolapse)
The Obstetrician may also have to perform an episiotomy — an incision of the tissue between the vagina and anus — to enlarge vaginal opening before placing the forceps.
Possible risks to the baby include:
- Minor facial injuries due to the pressure of the forceps which goes away in a few days
- Cephalohematoma- (swelling of the baby’s head) this will return to normal in a few days
- Temporary Facial palsy (weakness in the facial muscles)
- In rare cases there could be minor external eye trauma
- Very rarely there could be fracture to the skull
- Seldomly there could be bleeding inside the skull
If your assisted delivery was carried out incompetently or below the acceptable standard causing harm for you or your baby or you suffered maternity negligence during forceps delivery, you may be entitled to a birth injury compensation.
What Compensation Can I Claim?
There are a number of compensations you can claim if your assisted delivery is not performed to the acceptable standards of medical practice leading to various complications for your, your child or your loved one. Some of them include:
Negligent delay in employing the use of forceps or ventouse causing birth injuries to the mother or baby. You may make a birth injury claim for forceps delivery.
- Negligence of duty resulting in the wrong choice for assisted delivery. For instance, when forceps delivery is used where the baby’s head is above the midpoint of the birth canal or when the ventouse delivery is used for a woman who is less than 34weeks pregnant. This would cause harm to the woman and the baby. If the baby suffers head injuries, you can make head injury claims. Our medical negligence solicitors can assist you with your claims.
- In event the medical personnel performing the delivery lacks the expertise to competently carry out the delivery leading to brain injuries such as cerebral palsy, for the child, you are entitled to make cerebral palsy claims. Our child brain injury claims solicitors can help you make that claim.
- You can also make Erb’s Palsy claims if the medical personnel applied too much force or pressure in the use of forceps causing injury to the brachial plexus nerve resulting in Erb’s Palsy where the child loses muscle control and sensation in the arms.
What do I need to make a successful claim?
To make a successful forceps delivery negligence claims in the UK, you will need to prove that you were owed a duty of care; that the medical professional acted incompetently thus breaching the duty of care; that the breach of duty caused you or your child a direct harm.
You may not be entitled to a compensation just because the medical professional acted negligently. It must be proven that the negligent action caused you harm.
Making Ventouse or Forceps Delivery Negligence Claims
The process of proving a medical negligence claim can be very sensitive and needs to be handled expertly. Our specialists’ forceps delivery negligence claims solicitors will do their best to understand you, help you gather the evidence you need if your claims are valid, expertly present your case before a jury and get you deserved compensation.
Several documents are needed to do this. They include:
- Detailed statements from the claimant
- Medical records including X-rays, CT scans, and other necessary results
- Evidence of impact of the injury suffered on the claimant’s finances
- Witness statements
- Reports from an independent medical expert after performing tests and/or examination on the claimant and/or the baby which can be used as evidence
After gathering the needed documents, we will notify the defendant’s party of your decision to make a claim. They will have to make their findings and either accept or deny liability. If they accept liability, then we can proceed to place a compensation value for your claim. However, if they deny any wrongdoing, it may be difficult to reach an agreement and in some cases the case may go all the way to a trial.
What Value Compensation Will I Receive?
There are various considered before calculating and subsequently placing a compensation value. These include:
- The severity of damage done. In event where you or your baby suffers some form of disability, you may be entitled to forceps delivery injuries claim disability allowance.
- Prognosis for a full recovery
- Effect of damage on quality of life and daily activities
- Loss of inheritance
- Loss of earnings including estimated future earnings
No two medical negligence cases are the same. Our medical negligence claims lawyers will examine your claim and use the medical negligence claim calculator to give you a range of compensation value you can expect.
No Win No Fee Forceps Delivery Negligence Claims
At Medical Negligence Direct, we handle our cases on a No Win No Fee basis. This means that you don’t have to worry about upfront legal fees. If the case is not successful, you don’t owe us a penny.
Legal Time Limit for Making Forceps Delivery Negligence Claims
A legal time limit of 3years is given to make forceps delivery negligence claims. This period of time begins from the date the negligent care was received or the date it was first discovered, any one that is later.
This rule however does not apply in cases involving children. The three-year time limit begins to count from the child’s 18th birthday. This means the child has up to his 21st birthday to make a claim. Claims will usually take between 1year and 3years to settle. However, if the case goes to a trial, it may likely go beyond 3years.
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Frequently Asked Question Forceps Delivery Negligence Claims
Is A Forceps Delivery Traumatic?
A forceps delivery is considered generally safe but can be traumatic if the delivery is not handled properly causing harm or severe damages to the mother and child. It may also be traumatic for mothers who did not originally plan for forceps assisted delivery even if no physical harm was suffered.
Is Forceps Delivery Better Than Caesarean?
A C-Section provides less risk as against the forceps delivery and is considered a safer option to forceps delivery when spontaneous vaginal delivery is not feasible.
Which Is Better Vacuum Or Forceps?
In the past decade, the use of a vacuum cap during delivery has become more common than forceps. It poses less risk to the mother as there is less chance of vaginal tear. It also requires less anesthesia administration than forceps. However, all criteria for vacuum delivery must be met most especially the number of pregnancy weeks and the position of the baby in the birth canal before it is employed otherwise it can lead to devastating complications.
How Long Do Forceps Marks Last?
It is very common to have minor forceps marks on the baby’s face. They usually disappear within 24–48 hours.
Can Forceps Cause Prolapse?
Increased risk of muscle damage, pelvic floor injury and subsequently pelvic organ prolapse has been associated with forceps assisted delivery.