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If an assisted forceps delivery has caused injury to mother or baby, you will need legal advice from a specialist medical negligence solicitor to make a successful forceps delivery claim.
Forceps or ventouse deliveries are forms of assisted delivery commonly used where mothers may or are struggling to give birth via the conventional means, known as “spontaneous delivery”. Whilst they are both considered to be largely safe, they are only utilised where it is considered absolutely necessary because of the elevated risks to mother and baby relative to spontaneous delivery.
Although delivery by forceps or by Ventouse may increase certain risks to you and your child, these risks remain relatively low as long as proper procedure is followed and precautions taken. Unfortunately this is not always the case, and there are a number of instances where failures on the part of medical staff could mean you are entitled to make a birth injury compensation claim:
Any failure that leads to the improper use of medical instruments during an assisted delivery could entitle you to make a birth injury compensation claim, and you should seek expert legal advice to determine whether you are able to make a claim.
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Before either the forceps or Ventouse method is utilised you should have the associated risks explained to you by a qualified obstetrician, who will make a decision on which is most appropriate for your circumstances. If improper care is taken before, during or after delivery via either of these methods you may be entitled to make a claim for any delivery injuries you or your child sustain.
Contacting Blackwater Law medical negligence solicitors means you will get free initial advice and support from a legal team that is independently recognised by the Legal 500 as one of the best in the country. Our expert team can offer you the experience and the knowledge necessary to determine quickly whether or not you have grounds to make a forceps / ventouse delivery compensation claim, and to support you at every stage thereafter. It’s important to get in touch quickly however, as time restrictions may apply to your case.
Blackwater Law are experienced in dealing with a range of medical negligence claims relating to poor care provided during a forceps or Ventouse assisted delivery. Such is the teams reputation in the field of medical negligence that they advise clients across England and Wales.
The effects of mother or baby sustaining an injury during the course of delivery by forceps or Ventouse can be devastating, and understandably few families wish to be exposed to further risk and / or stress during the course of putting things right. That’s why at Blackwater Law we undertake all accepted medical negligence claims – including those for assisted delivery – on a no win, no fee basis. None of your money is at risk at any point during the claims process, and if we don’t win your case you won’t pay us a penny.
Where your assisted delivery is not carried out to acceptable standards a number of potential injuries can be incurred, for which you may be entitled to claim medical negligence compensation:
Blackwater Law solicitors provide free initial advice to parents worried about the care they received during their assisted birth. You will speak directly with a medical negligence solicitor who will give you advice and in many cases will quickly be able to tell you whether you may be entitled to claim compensation. The solicitor you speak with will also answer questions you may have.
Forceps are simply large, metal spoon or tong-shaped instruments that are curved to allow them to fit around a baby’s head and provide purchase for an assisted delivery. During the birthing process they are positioned around the baby’s head and joined together at the handles. When the mother experiences a contraction the obstetrician or midwife responsible gently pulls in order to help extract the baby. Many different designs are produced, with some performing more specialist functions such as rotating the baby to a more suitable position for birth.
Generally speaking, forceps are more successful than ventouses in performing assisted deliveries, but they do carry a greater risk of vaginal tearing.
Ventouses are slightly more complex suction devices, again used to help an obstetrician or midwife provide extra pulling power during a mother’s contractions in order to extract the baby. They are comprised of a soft or hard plastic cup at the end of a long tube attached to a vacuum suction device, and during birth the cup is attached firmly to your baby’s head.
Ventouses commonly leave behind a small swelling on your baby’s head, which is normally nothing to be worried about and will disappear quickly. They may also leave behind a small bruise, known as a cephalhaematoma. Ventouse delivery is less likely to cause vaginal tearing, but should never be used when the mother is less than 34 weeks pregnant as your baby’s head may be too fragile and soft.
Before an assisted delivery by Ventouse or forceps is undertaken, you doctor should examine your bump and make an internal assessment of you and your baby’s position to ensure this is the right course of action. Where this is deemed to be the case but difficulties might reasonably be expected, you should be moved to an operating theatre in case you subsequently require a caesarean.
There are a number of instances where your doctor should anticipate that an assisted delivery by forceps or by Ventouse may be difficult:
Regardless of where your assisted delivery eventually takes place; your legs should be placed in stirrups at the side of your bed, the end of which will subsequently be removed. An empty bladder is essential for assisted delivery, so a catheter may be inserted in order to drain it. You should be given pain relief, which can come in the form of a vaginal injection (known as a “pudendal block”), an epidural, or a spinal anaesthetic.
Your baby’s heartbeat should be monitored throughout the process of a forceps or ventouse delivery, and it is commonplace for a paediatrician to attend.
Where any or all of the aforementioned precautions or steps is not properly observed and you subsequently suffer injury either to yourself or to your baby, you may be entitled to make a compensation claim.
When you call Blackwater Law for free initial advice and to find out whether you may be entitled to compensation, you will be told whether or not you can make a claim. Your case will be accepted on a no win, no fee basis.
Your claim will be directed towards the NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA), this is the part of the NHS that deals with medical negligence claims. Only around 2% of cases ever reach the courts, as the vast majority are resolved via settlement after negotiations between your Blackwater Law medical negligence solicitor and the NHSLA.
Following your decision to make a claim, the experts at Blackwater Law will begin compiling a body of evidence in support of your case, and eventually submit a legal argument to the NHSLA. They will ultimately seek to obtain an admission of responsibility from the NHS, and subsequently a settlement designed to help you face the hardships forced upon you. Every case is different, but our solicitors’ wealth of experience and knowledge means they are uniquely well-positioned to secure you the maximum possible compensation award.
In building the strongest possible claim for compensation on your behalf, your clinical negligence lawyer will obtain expert medical opinion from specialist medical practitioners such as an obstetrician or midwife. This evidence will provide support to the legal arguments put to the NHSLA by your solicitor.
Cases are not conducted according to a set timeframe, but once your solicitor has submitted a “Letter of Claim” to the NHSLA they will have 4 months to respond, either with an admission of guilt or with intent to dispute the case. This response, in conjunction with the legal expertise possessed by your claims handler will determine the next steps, but your case will always be progressed in line with your best interests and you will always be kept up to date and informed at every stage.
Blackwater Law medical negligence solicitors acted for Mr L in a medical negligence claim in the High Court after he was misdiagnosed. The misdiagnosis meant he went on to suffer a serious stroke causing life-limiting disability.