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Newborn's death blamed on vacuum extraction procedure

Labor and childbirth contain many risks for both the mother and the newborn infant. Doctors are trained to help mitigate these risks to the greatest degree possible. They have an ever expanding wealth of tools and techniques designed to ensure a healthy result. Unfortunately, when these techniques are misused or not used when they should be there can be devastating consequences.

In some cases labor does not move forward in the way that it should and an intervention may be necessary. Obstetricians may be forced to use forceps or vacuum extraction to deliver the baby. These procedures must be performed carefully and under the proper circumstances. A recent case highlights the dangers that can occur due the improper use of vacuum extraction. In this case the family alleged that the vacuum extraction technique caused bleeding in the brain which eventually resulted in the infant's death.

A couple entered the hospital to have their first child. The family contends that at some point during the birth problems arose but that the doctors and hospital staff failed to take the appropriate action in a timely manner. Eventually the family's doctors decided to attempt a vacuum extraction. The procedure involved connecting a suction cup to the baby's head to facilitate delivery. A wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family claims that this lead to bleeding in the infant's brain. The baby died three days later.

Last week a judge in the case approved a settlement between the parents and the doctor and hospital. The hospital had attempted to seal the $1.5 million settlement in order to keep it confidential but the judge refused that request.

Source: The Morning Call "LVH settles wrongful death of baby case for $1.5 million" Kevin Amerman, Aug. 15, 2011

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