Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu

Risks Involved with Improper Use of Forceps by Florida Physicians


During a vaginal delivery, there are many circumstances that may lead a physician to consider using delivery assistance tools, such as a forceps device. An article published by the experts at Mayo Clinic describes forceps usage, risks, what to expect, and many other details.

However, the article mainly provides helpful information on the circumstances surrounding proper use of a forceps; it doesn’t mention the adverse consequences of improper or erroneous applications. As with any medical procedure, there can be carelessness involved with a forceps-assisted delivery. If your experience as a patient led to harm for you or your baby, it may be time to consult with a Florida birth injury lawyer about your rights.

How the Forceps Works: The function of the forceps is to guide the infant down the birth canal during a difficult or stalled delivery. For this purpose, it’s shaped like a large salad tongs that gently grip the head, near the ears and cheeks. The device can maneuver the infant to a point where the physician is able take over. Timing is critical to proper usage, so the doctor will engage the forceps when the laboring mother has a contraction. 

Situations Where a Physician Should or Should Not Use a Forceps: Your doctor may consider using forceps to assist with delivery if:

  • Your uterus is producing insufficient contractors to push the baby;
  • The fetus is experiencing distress or not enough oxygen, so that delivery must be expedited;
  • The infant is lodged in the birth canal;
  • You suffer from a heart condition, high blood pressure, or other health concerns that present risks for pushing too hard; or,
  • After a long, non-productive delivery, you’re unable to continue pushing.

At the same time, there are multiple reasons that a physician should NOT use forceps. They include situations where the fetus is large or not in position for a vaginal delivery. One of the most unfortunate scenarios is where the doctor is inexperienced in this type of delivery method. 

Risks for Mother and Fetus: There are two patients involved in the delivery process, compounding the risks in the event that the doctor doesn’t properly apply the forceps. Complications for the baby include:

  • Potential brain damage, cerebral palsy, or skull fracture;
  • Facial injuries, such as eye trauma, lacerations, and bruising; and,
  • Damage to the spinal cord and neck injuries.

For the mother, mistakes in using the forceps could lead to incontinence, sexual problems, and weakening of the urogenital region. In some cases, surgery or other types of medical intervention are necessary. In extreme situations, improper use of the forceps could lead to death for both patients.

Talk to a Florida Birth Injury Attorney About Concerns with Forceps Use 

Improper usage of a forceps during delivery can lead to serious consequences for both mother and infant, but Florida law does provide you with rights. To learn more about them, please contact Freidin Brown, P.A. to set up a complimentary consultation with a Florida birth injury lawyer. We’re happy to meet with you at our offices in Miami or Fort Myers to discuss your legal options.


Facebook LinkedIn