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Family says vacuum procedure caused birth injury

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The family of an eleven-year-old boy has filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital and doctors involved in his birth. The boy continues to suffer from seizures, developmental delays and chronic headaches.

The family claims that the boy’s medical problems were caused by the unnecessary and negligent use of a vacuum extraction procedure to remove the infant from the birth canal. The complaint says that the pediatric nurses involved in the boy’s rehabilitative therapy agree that the injury and bleeding in the boy’s brain was caused by the vacuum extraction procedure performed by the doctors during the delivery.

When the mother went to the hospital in February of 2000 she was near-term and it appeared that she would have a routine delivery. There did not appear to be any complications as the birth began that might require the use of the vacuum procedure. However the supervising doctor told the doctor performing the birth that he should use the vacuum extraction procedure.

According to the complaint the doctor performing the procedure then told the supervising doctor that he was uncomfortable performing this procedure and had never done it before. The complaint also alleges that the doctors were not familiar with the proper use of the vacuum device and had not been properly trained.

The allegedly did not know how to properly position the suction cup on the infant’s head, how long it should be placed there and the amount of suction that should be used.

Anytime there is an intervention there is a risk that negligence by the hospital or doctor involved in the birth will cause an injury. In some cases an emergency or fetal distress requires that the delivery be expedited, but when this is done it is of vital importance that doctors are properly trained prior to attempting these high risk procedures.

Source: North Virginia Daily “Hospital sued over birthing procedure” Alex Bridges, July 1, 2011

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