Vacuum Extraction Injury Lawyer

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This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by Founding Partner, Terry Crouppen who has more than 40 years of legal experience as a personal injury attorney. Our last modified date shows when this page was last reviewed.

This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by Founding Partner, Terry Crouppen who has more than 40 years of legal experience as a personal injury attorney. Our last modified date shows when this page was last reviewed.

Vacuum extraction is sometimes necessary to assist in a difficult birth, but it also can cause serious injuries to both the mother and baby. If you or your child suffered harm from a medical error during a vacuum-assisted birth in St. Louis, Kansas City, or the surrounding areas, Brown & Crouppen’s birth injury attorneys can guide you through your legal options.

Our vacuum extraction injury lawyers have recovered over $1 billion in life-changing settlements and verdicts for our injured clients in Missouri and beyond. When you turn to our award-winning personal injury law firm, you’ll get more than just representation—you’ll get a team of lawyers dedicated to fighting for your family’s future.

What Is a Vacuum-Assisted Birth?

Vacuum extraction, or vacuum-assisted birth, is a procedure that can be used during the second stage of labor to help deliver the baby. This technique involves the use of a vacuum device consisting of a suction cup attached to a mechanical or electric pump. The cup attaches to the baby’s head, and the pump creates traction to help guide the baby through the birth canal.

Vacuum extraction accounts for more than 80 percent of operative vaginal deliveries—a classification that also includes forceps deliveries—in the United States. However, it is a relatively rare procedure, accounting for about 2.5 percent of all U.S. vaginal births. 

Only certain circumstances call for vacuum extraction. The procedure may be an option if labor is stalled or prolonged and one of the following is true:

  • The baby’s heart rate is “non-reassuring.”
  • Exhaustion or a health condition prevents the mother from pushing any longer.

A C-section is also an option in most situations where vacuum extraction is deemed necessary. However, vacuum extraction is a less invasive option with a lower risk of maternal complications.

Potential Vacuum Extraction Complications

Vacuum extraction is a delicate procedure that requires careful consideration and proper technique. While most vacuum extractions are successful, complications can occur when medical staff do not follow proper protocol.

Certain warning signs suggest that the procedure should stop immediately, such as the following:

  • The medical staff has attempted the vacuum extraction for 20 minutes without success.
  • The cup has detached from the baby’s head multiple times.
  • There are signs of trauma to the baby’s scalp.

If the vacuum extraction attempt continues despite these signs, the risk of complications increases.

Issues can also arise if the medical staff uses the vacuum extractor incorrectly. Misuse can occur from twisting the extractor, applying excessive pulling force, using the wrong cup type or size, placing the cup incorrectly on the baby’s head, or pulling the baby’s head in the wrong direction.

Using a vacuum extractor in inappropriate conditions also causes complications, such as when the baby is premature, is positioned too high in the birth canal, has a bleeding disorder, is too large to safely fit through the birth canal, or is not positioned head-first. 

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Most Common Vacuum Extraction Birth Injuries

Birth injuries resulting from complications of vacuum-assisted birth vary widely in severity and long-term outcomes. Both the mother and baby can suffer problems from a vacuum extraction procedure, but those affecting the infant are typically more serious.

Neonatal Injuries

Babies who suffer birth injuries from vacuum extraction may face lifelong challenges, including brain damage or developmental delays. Other times, the injuries heal quickly and are nothing more than a temporary inconvenience.

The most common neonatal vacuum extraction birth injuries include the following:

  • Intracranial hemorrhage, or bleeding within the skull
  • Cephalohematoma, which is a collection of blood under the scalp resulting in a raised lump on the newborn’s head
  • Subgaleal hemorrhage, which is a type of potentially life-threatening bleeding between the scalp and skull
  • Retinal hemorrhage, or bleeding in the eye
  • Facial nerve palsy, or weakness or paralysis of facial muscles
  • Skull fracture
  • Abrasion or laceration on the baby’s scalp
  • Scalp bruising

Maternal Injuries

Assisted vaginal deliveries, including vacuum extraction, can pose a higher risk of severe perineal tearing. Additionally, the mother’s medical provider may perform an episiotomy along with a vacuum extraction to make more room for the baby to pass through. Performing an episiotomy with a vacuum extraction may increase the risk of trauma to the perineum, injuries to the rectum, and postpartum hemorrhage.

Recoverable Damages for Vacuum Extraction Injuries in St. Louis

Vacuum extraction injuries can take a heavy physical, emotional, and financial toll on the baby and mother. A successful medical malpractice lawsuit in St. Louis can help compensate for the damages caused by these injuries, such as:

  • Economic damages: This refers to past and future financial losses incurred from the injury, such as medical bills, lost wages, and home modifications necessary for accommodating the child’s injuries. They also may include lost earning potential if the child’s injuries affect their ability to work in the future.
  • Non-economic damages: These damages cover intangible losses that are more difficult to quantify, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. They also may include compensation for any permanent disability or disfigurement from the vacuum extraction injury.

Criteria To Seek Damages for a Vacuum Extraction Injury

To seek damages for medical malpractice, you must prove that the medical provider was negligent. This means they owed you a duty of care, breached that duty, and caused resulting harm.

The duty is the standard of care a reasonable medical provider would have provided under the same circumstances. The breach of duty refers to the medical provider’s failure to meet this standard. In the case of vacuum extraction, this breach could include failing to stop the procedure if it is not progressing properly, using excessive force during the extraction, or failing to properly monitor and respond to complications after delivery.

Our Vacuum Extraction Injury Attorneys Are Ready to Help

Your family deserves compassionate, experienced legal representation during this challenging time. Brown & Crouppen’s vacuum extraction injury attorneys in Missouri are ready to put 40+ years of experience to work in your favor. 

Everyone deserves access to the best representation possible. Brown & Crouppen is a community-centered law firm committed to providing top-tier legal representation. We level the playing field against powerful health care providers and big insurance companies.

If your family has suffered harm from vacuum extraction medical malpractice in St. Louis, Kansas City, or the surrounding communities, contact us at (314) 501-9394 to schedule a free consultation and speak with one of our vacuum trauma lawyers today.


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