Nerve Injury from Forceps

Baltimore Nerve Injury Attorneys Serving Clients Nationwide

Warning Signs

Forceps are metal instruments that are periodically used during child birth to ease the baby out. Forceps have two round cups on each end, which fit around the baby’s head. A physician may use forceps during delivery if the baby is in fetal distress, is abnormally positioned, or the mother is having difficulty pushing.

Generally, the use of forceps during delivery is safe if the tools are used properly. The risk for injury increases if the doctor misuses the tool and causes injury to the skull and/or brain. If the proper standard of care is not used by the physician, the forceps can cause a birth injury, which may result in facial nerve damage, spinal injuries, bruising and lacerations, skull fractures, brain hemorrhaging, shoulder dislocation, bone fractures, brain damage, or cerebral palsy. Forceps can also cause the formation of blood clots inside blood vessels, which can lead to stroke in the baby or the mother.

Diagnosis & Care

Facial nerve palsy is the loss of voluntary muscle movement in an infant’s face due to trauma just before or at the time of delivery. Nerve damage may appear on the side of a baby’s face, particularly when the baby laughs or cries. If the baby’s face appears asymmetrical or uneven, there may be permanent nerve damage. Cerebral palsy develops when damage is done to the cerebrum of the brain, which generally results in motor control difficulties. There is currently no known cure for cerebral palsy. Baby’s are not the only patient’s at risk for complications during a birth in which forceps are used by the physician; mother’s are at an increased risk for lacerations, urinary tract infections, rectum injuries, as well as stroke.

Expenses

Depending on the extent of the injury, expenses families incur due to birth injuries caused by misuse of forceps vary. Cerebral palsy is the second most expensive developmental disability in terms of the cost of care over the course of a lifetime. The average lifetime cost is just under $1 million. For some injuries, including facial paralysis, surgery may be needed, as well as physical therapy. If you suspect your child’s birth injury is the result of improper use of forceps during delivery, our experienced medical malpractice lawyers may be able to recover compensation for you and your family.

Contact the Law Offices of Wais, Vogelstein, Forman & Offutt for a free consultation.

Treatment Centers

In most cases, an infant who has suffered a birth injury will be closely monitored to see if the injury or condition goes away on its own. Infants with permanent paralysis will need special therapy, sometimes for the rest of their lives.

Books & Resources

For more information on nerve injuries to newborns from the use of forceps during delivery, the following resources are available:

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