Forceps Injury

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Reliable South Carolina Attorneys Fight for Your Forceps Injury Claim


Trustworthy representation for injured babies and their families in Anderson, Rock Hill, Columbia, Sumter, and Georgetown

With the modernization of medicine, medical professionals have created new inventions and procedures to ease the process of giving birth for both the mother and child. While many of these innovations are extremely useful for reducing the risk of harm, others have proven to be quite dangerous. This is especially true when the attending physician does not use the devices properly. One of the most common misused medical devices during pregnancy is forceps, which are meant to help the doctor guide the baby through the birth canal. However, if a physician does not use forceps correctly, serious injury to the baby can occur.

When the actions of a medical professional result in injury to your baby, rely on the experienced South Carolina birth injury attorneys of McGowan, Hood, Felder & Phillips, LLC, to take your concerns seriously and fight for the compensation your child deserves.

Free Case Evaluation

Call 803-327-7800 now or fill out the form above to schedule your free case evaluation.

Why do doctors sometimes use forceps?


Doctors will sometimes choose to use forceps in a delivery when the physician feels that the baby needs assistance in moving through the birth canal. These instruments are used during vaginal deliveries and involve an instrument that looks similar to large salad tongs. The doctor is supposed to apply the forceps to the baby’s head and guide it out as the mother pushes. There are numerous reasons why a physician may decide to utilize forceps, including:

  • A slowed fetal heartbeat. This indicates distress, and the doctor may want to use the forceps to facilitate a faster delivery.
  • The baby is in the posterior position. If the baby is facing the back of the mother, the doctor may use the forceps to turn the baby’s body around before delivery.
  • Health concerns for the mother. If the mother has a medical condition that prevents her from pushing for a long period of time, forceps may be appropriate to reduce the need for pushing.

It is important to note that all of these conditions are also appropriately handled by Cesarean section births. The decision to use forceps is generally at the discretion of the physician.

Potential injuries caused by forceps deliveries


Though they are generally seen as an acceptable tool for delivery, forceps are increasingly becoming less popular due to the high risk of injury to the baby. Forceps are inappropriate in the following situations:

  • The baby’s head has not yet progressed midway through the birth canal.
  • The physician cannot accurately assess where the baby’s head is positioned.
  • The baby is too large to fit through the mother’s pelvis.
  • The baby is coming through the birth canal with his or her arms and shoulders leading the rest of the body.

When a physician does make the decision to use forceps, there are several injuries that often affect the mother, but most of them are common to any vaginal delivery. For example, the mother may experience pain in the perineum area, or small tears in the genital tract. Bladder injuries and pelvic organ prolapse are also possible side effects of forceps deliveries.

The risk to baby is more substantial and potentially life threatening. If the physician places the forceps on the head too tightly, the force of the instrument can cause significant damage to the facial area of the infant, to include:

  • Facial injuries, such as bruising, scratches, or cuts
  • Facial palsy, which is weakness in the muscles of the face and may appear as drooping on one or both sides of the face and result in permanent disfigurement
  • Pressure on the baby’s eyes, possibly causing trauma that can last a lifetime
  • Skull fractures
  • Broken blood vessel, leading to internal bleeding within the skull
  • Traumatic brain injury that may lead to seizures, developmental delays, and cerebral palsy

A knowledgeable South Carolina forceps injury lawyer assists you in determining whether the delivering physician acted in a negligent manner.

After a forceps injury, turn to our South Carolina obstetrical malpractice lawyers

The dedicated South Carolina birth injury attorneys of McGowan, Hood, Felder & Phillips, LLC, have spent decades litigating the most challenging of cases. If you or a loved one has suffered because of misuse of forceps during labor, we can help. Call 803-327-7800 or fill out our contact form to make an appointment for a free case evaluation at one of our offices located in Rock Hill, Anderson, Sumter, Georgetown, and Columbia.