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Brooklyn Improper Use of Delivery Instruments Injury

There are two different ways that a baby can be delivered: cesarean section delivery or vaginal delivery. A vaginal delivery is also referred to as a “natural” delivery as it involves the baby being pushed by the mother through the birth canal. However, there are occasion when the baby must be helped through the birth canal by using medical instruments. Instruments used in an assisted delivery include forceps or a vacuum extractor. Such instruments are used when despite the mother’s pushing, the baby is not progressing through the birth canal. While forceps or a vacuum extractor can be essential to ensuring a safe delivery, if these devices are not used correctly, they can cause the baby to suffer a serious birth injury. Such injuries include a brain injury, respiratory problems, injury to the shoulders or limbs, cerebral palsy, blindness, a spinal cord injury, developmental delays, or another other serious injuries. Furthermore, the mother could also suffer a serious personal injury by the use of delivery instruments if they are used negligently. In the same way that a victim of a car accident or other serious accident can seek damages from the person who caused the accident, New York law allows victims of negligent obstetricians and other negligent medical professionals to seek damages as well. If you were seriously injured or your baby suffered a serious birth injury as a result of the negligent use of a delivery instrument, it is important that you immediately contact an experienced Brooklyn Improper Use of Delivery Instruments Injury Lawyer who will help you pursue compensation for your injuries and your child’s injuries through a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Injuries Associated With Delivery Instruments

Forceps are a medical instrument shaped like tongs. During a forceps delivery the forceps are placed on the baby’s head to help gently guide the baby out of the birth canal. With a forceps delivery, the mother is at risk of suffering tears and lacerations in her genital area, perinueum pain, anemia, urethra injuries and bladder injuries. The baby is at risk of suffering facial injuries, bruising on the head, seizures, and brain damage.

A vacuum extractor is a medical instrument that includes a cup that is attached to a vacuum pump. The cup is placed on the baby’s head and, like forceps, is used to help the baby through the birth canal. Injuries that are commonly associated with vacuum extractors are brain injuries, seizures, skull fractures, retinal hemorrhages, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), and cerebral palsy.

Because of the risks associated with both the use of forceps and vacuum extraction, there are guidelines that doctors should follow when considering the use of such delivery instruments. For example, a vacuum extractor should not be used for delivery of a baby that is less than 34 weeks gestation, where the mother’s pelvis is too small, or where the mother is not fully dilated. Similarly, a doctor should use caution when using forceps if the baby may not fit through the mother’s pelvis, the position of the baby’s head is not known, or the baby’s shoulders or arms are leading the way through the birth canal.


In Greene v. Martas, 2005 NY Slip Op 30479 (N.Y. Sup. Ct., 2011), plaintiff Alice Greene’s son, Thomas, was delivered via vacuum extraction and the use of forceps. It was later discovered that both Greene and her baby had herpes. Greene filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctors and hospital involved in her care, claiming among other things that they failed to perform a cesarean section once the vacuum extraction failed, improperly performed a forceps delivery, and failed to use the forceps in a proper manner. Greene asserted that as a result of the use of forceps, the doctor negligently cut Thomas with the forceps, creating a portal of entry of herpes. As a result, Thomas contracted herpes simplex virus, Type II.

Pursuing Compensation for a Birth Injury

Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional such as an obstetrician, nurse, or other health care professional fails to take reasonable care and as a result the patient suffers an injury. Thus, if a doctor is negligent in the use of a delivery instrument and as a result you or your baby is injured, New York law allows you to hold that doctor and other medical professionals legally and financially liable.

The negligent party may be required to compensate you for your medical bills related to the injuries suffered because of the medical mistake. Examples of compensable medical expenses include emergency room treatment, hospital stays, visits to the doctor, rehabilitation, developmental and physical therapy, medical equipment and prescriptions.

The court may also award damages based on the physical and mental anguish you experienced from your injuries and recovery.

Brooklyn Improper Use of Delivery Instruments Injury Lawyer

If you suspect that you or your baby was injured because your doctor, nurse, or other health care professional improperly used a delivery instrument, do not hesitate to immediately contact someone with experience. The staff at Stephen Bilkis and Associates is experienced in successfully representing clients and families of clients who have suffered injuries due to mistakes made by medical professionals, as well as those injured in car accidents, truck accidents, construction accidents, and other types of accidents. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case.