New Research Suggests Forceps Use Could Cause Less Brain Damage

When an Illinois brain injury at birth occurs and results in a brain accident lawsuit, in many more cases than not the problem is rooted in misconduct that occurs in a few crucial moments before the new addition is officially born. These cases always seem painfully tragic, because they represent cases where a child developed normally for nine months only to have a lifetime problem develop just before entering the world. Families dealing with these situations often rightfully feel heartbroken that their loved one will be forced to deal with a wide range of problems.

Fortunately, more and more information is being learned each and every day by medical researchers which shed light on the specific actions that do and do not cause these injuries to develop. For example, Reuters discussed this week new evidence that suggest forceps use may be crucial in helping keep babies safe. When a mother is undergoing a difficult childbirth, the doctor often has a few options on the table when deciding how to handle the problem. One of those choices is between use of old-fashioned forceps to help in extraction versus vacuum deliveries. In addition, C-sections are also an option when significant emergencies arise that require the baby be extracted immediately.

Over the past few years forceps use has fallen out of favor, and vacuum and C-section deliveries have increased. These trends may be misguided, ultimately leading to more newborn seizures and brain injuries than necessary. A researcher at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine explained that the increased use of vacuum deliveries and C-sections is surprising, considering that there is little to no evidence that these methods of birth are safer in most circumstances. In fact, for some births, the opposite might be true. The researcher and his team studied more than 400,000 births and found that those with deliveries using forceps were forty five percent less likely to have an infant brain injury result when compared with vacuum pump and C-section births. These injuries are often caused by seizures. However, there was one caveat: C-sections seemed to minimize the risk of certain bleeding around the brain-known as subdural hemorrhages.

The doctor explained that birth seizures are usually caused by oxygen deprivation. In many situations, the child can be born quicker using forceps that with a vacuum pump or via C-section. The quicker that the child is born, the sooner that medical professionals can take emergency action to restore proper oxygen flow to the young brain. In this way, the injuries may more often be prevented. At the end of the day, the doctors involved believe that patients should discuss all options with their doctor and that a plan be in place ahead of time. That way, if an emergency situation arises, there will be less confusion on the steps that need to be taken. Unfortunately, the situations that result in significant (and preventable) harm to children are those where no plan was in place ahead of time. Many doctors then fail to act properly (or quickly) leading to brain damage and lifetime harm to the child.

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