Injuries Caused by the Obstetric Forceps

Two forms of assisted vaginal delivery are currently performed in Ireland, the obstetric forceps and ventouse (vacuum cup).  There are many varieties of obstetric forceps but they are of two general types, curved and straight.  The more modern forceps have two curves one to accommodate the baby’s head and the other to accommodate the birth canal.  Applied correctly the forceps does not compress the baby’s head to any significant degree.  If, however, the forceps are applied in an inaccurate manner locking them will inevitably produce a crushing force which will only increase as the baby’s delivery proceeds.

If applied in a negligent way the obstetric forceps are capable of injuring both mother and baby.  A misplacement of the forceps and a failure by the doctor to check that the forceps is positioned correctly may result in injury to the baby’s eye.  Other injuries can be produced on the baby’s face by the misapplication of the forceps.  Although less serious than injuries to the eye such injuries particularly when the skin is broken may leave permanent scars.

As regards to the mother if episiotomy which is a surgical incision between the mother’s vaginal opening and anal region (perineum) is performed during the use of forceps delivery it is essential that an incision is made between 45 and 60 degrees from the mid line so as to protect the anal sphincter.  Even a well place episiotomy may fail to protect the sphincter if the baby’s head is pulled through the undilated lower vagina in turn bursting or otherwise tearing the perineum when the baby’s head is pulled from the mid pelvis.

If you or a loved one have been affected by injuries caused by the obstetric forceps or related matters, our medical negligence solicitors can help you pursue a claim for compensation. We believe in putting you our client first and we are committed to achieving the best result possible while all the time remaining sensitive to your needs. Please feel free to reach out to us below and will be pleased to discuss your case and offer no obligation advice.

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