Giving birth is a wonderful experience bringing happiness to the mother and their family. In the majority of birth deliveries there are no problems, with mother and baby leaving the hospital within a few days. That is the experience of many although in a few number of cases, a birth delivery, using forceps, may result in harm, sometimes serious harm to the baby. If your baby has suffered injury as a consequence of forceps being used in the delivery, they may be entitled to very substantial compensation for the harm caused.
If you would like advice, to know whether you and your baby are entitled to compensation, contact our experienced medical negligence lawyers and brain injury specialists: phone us on 0333 123 9099, or email us at email@example.com, or fill in our contact form. We specialise in brain injury and brain injury rehabilitation.
What is a forceps delivery?
Where assistance is required to help deliver the baby, forceps may be used. This will be known as an instrumental delivery or an assisted birth delivery. Forceps are a large pair of tongs, used to guide the baby’s head down the birth canal. Forceps may be used to speed up labour, particularly if the baby, or the mother, is showing signs of some distress, particularly, in the case of the baby, fetal distress. This may be due to a lack of oxygen.
Forceps may also be used if the baby is not lying in a good position. The forceps can be used to rotate the child’s head. Forceps may also be used if the mother is finding it difficult to push.
To make the task easier the mother may be given an incision to the tissue between the vagina and anus, called an episiotomy, to enlarge the vagina opening, for the use of the forceps. This is all designed to make delivery of the baby easier.
What are the forceps birth complications?
The use of forceps in the delivery of a baby is common practice and does not result in complications, except in a few cases. Where there are complications or a forceps birth injury, these are likely to be minor and have no lasting effect. However, some are more serious, the mother, and to the baby.
Forceps birth injury to the mother
- vagina tearing, which will be repaired by stitches and take a little time to heal
- discomfort in the perineum (between the vagina and anus)
- blood clots
- the bladder or urethra
- pelvic organ prolapse
- anal or urinary incontinence
Forceps birth injury to the baby
- bruising to the baby’s scalp (cephalohaematoma), which will heal within a matter of days of birth
- swelling of the baby’s head, so that it appears cone shaped. However, this is only temporary and settles within a few days of the birth
- although rare, the possibility of brain injury to the baby, such as cerebral palsy
- injury to the baby’s facial nerves
- birth injury to the eyes
- yellowing of the baby’s eyes and skin, also known as jaundice, which will often resolve within a matter of days.
it is important to emphasise that the risk of complications and injury, to mother and baby, are rare but in the few cases where serious injury does occur, they are likely to have a long-term impact on the health of the child and, possibly, the mother.
Do I need to consent to the use of forceps?
Health professionals are required to work in partnership with patients, to listen to them and be given the opportunity to express their preference. You need to be told about the risks associated with the use of forceps, although doctors are excused from discussing the matter where the use of forceps is required urgently.
Can I make a claim forceps compensation?
If you or your child has suffered a birth brain injury or a forceps birth injury, compensation may be available to the mother and baby. In most cases of the baby being delivered, forceps will not cause any harm and even where there is some injury, perhaps a tear to the mother or bruising to the baby, this will hopefully clear up within a matter of days. However, in a relatively few number of cases, this will not be the case and there may be long-term harm to the mother and or the baby.
Compensation is available to those who have suffered injury as a result of poor care, or the poor use of forceps in the delivery room, on the part of the midwives or team of health professionals in the delivery room.
When to make a claim for forceps birth complications
There are time limits for bringing a claim for forceps delivery compensation. In the case of the mother, she has three years from the date of the birth of the child, or when the injury occurred, if not on the same day as the birth.
The child has a much longer period of time, as time does not begin to run until they become an adult, at the age of 18. Once 18 they have three years to begin a claim for compensation, i.e. by their 21st birthday.
However, in either case it is important to make a claim for compensation as soon as possible to improve the prospects of success.
First, the earlier a claim is made, the mother’s recollection of events, in the delivery room will be clearer. Her recall as to exactly what occurred may be critical in determining whether she and her baby are entitled to compensation. Secondly, even with medical records being held on computer, there is always a risk that those records may be lost in the system and therefore to avoid the risk, the claim should be made as soon as possible, to ensure that the midwife, hospital and Trust are put on notice to ensure that all relevant records are carefully preserved.
Thirdly, there is a very practical reason for making a forceps brain injury or other forceps birth injury claim as soon as possible. The earlier a claim is made, the sooner compensation can be obtained.
Although in the case of a child it may not be possible to determine exactly what level of compensation the child deserves and needs, in the first few years of life, it is possible, where responsibility for the injury is established against the hospital, that payments of some compensation can be obtained, on an instalment basis, to meet the ongoing needs of the child and their parents (to support the child).
There is more information is available on the time limits for bringing a medical negligence claim.
How much compensation will I receive?
The amount of compensation is determined by the nature of the injury, how long an individual suffers with injury, plus the financial losses and expenses that arise from the injury. Each and every single claim for compensation is determined on the particular harm caused and the impact upon the individual. Therefore, in some cases, where the injury is relatively minor, the compensation may be no more than £25,000, whereas where the forceps injury has a lifelong impact, most likely on the child, compensation runs to millions of pounds. We specialise in ensuring that you recover the maximum amount of compensation you and your deserve. Our Malcolm Underhill trains other lawyers across the country on how to maximise compensation for their client.
in addition to obtaining the maximum amount of compensation you and your baby are entitled to, we give equal attention to rehabilitation. Receiving a large sum of money always helps an individual, on a practical basis and enables them to feel that they have received some justice. However, money alone is not what we seek to achieve, but also to maximise recovery from the injury. We regularly bring on board medical and other experts to identify all the steps that can be taken, particularly in the case of brain injury to a child, to maximise their recovery. We will take steps to enable them to reach their full potential and, for example, in the case of cerebral palsy, to enable the child to be as fully independent as possible.
Our aim is to recover the maximum amount of compensation possible for your injury and that of your child. It is also our aim to maximise recovery, by giving equal emphasis to rehabilitation. Health is just as important as money.
We aim to remove the stress and worry. We will use our expertise to achieve the best outcome for you, so that you may concentrate on your and your baby’s health and welfare.
Will I have to pay legal costs?
We appreciate the worry and anxiety that you may have, when you think about the possibility of pursuing a claim for compensation. We aim to reduce your anxiety as much as possible, particularly on the issue of legal costs. That is why we carry the burden. We frequently offer a “no win, no fee agreement”, so that you can start a claim without having to worry about legal costs. You will not be required to pay any legal costs as the claim progresses.
Even at the end of the case, when we are successful, we will only ask you to make a contribution to those legal costs. Furthermore, in the small number of cases where we are not able to succeed, in recovering compensation, you do not pay us for our work, not one penny. It is a “no win, no fee agreement” and therefore if we do not win, you do not pay. Additionally, you will not need to worry about having to pay the other side’s legal costs if you lose.
‘To find out more about how "no win, no fee fee agreements" work, please get In touch.
What do people say about us and our work?
Our team at IBB Law is recognised by Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500, the two leading client guidelines to the legal profession, for our exceptional skill in handling clinical negligence claims.
Legal 500 describes IBB as having a “good” clinical negligence department and “puts the client’s interests at the forefront of every decision.” Simon Pimlott has “a real eye for detail and works incredibly hard to get the best result for each client.” Simon is identified as a “Rising Star”.
Legal 500 (PI) – “Simon Pimlott is a very passionate lawyer and is dedicated to his clients. He has a particular aptitude for working with challenging and vulnerable clients, especially with mental health problems. He is not afraid to take on difficult cases.”
Legal 500 (Clin Neg) - Simon Pimlott is an outstanding claimant solicitor. He is thorough, intelligent, and empathetic.
Simon Pimlott is a thorough and intellectual solicitor with an empathetic manner with clients. Exceptionally good
with clients with mental health problems.’
‘Simon Pimlott is pragmatic. He is exceptional in his level of empathy for clients, and is able to navigate thorny
cases with aplomb.’
‘Simon Pimlott is simply outstanding.‘
We are accredited by the Law Society for Personal Injury Law reflecting our expertise in this area. IBB Claims’ partner Malcolm Underhill has particular expertise with all types of brain injuries, also being accredited as a Brain Injury Specialist by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).
Chambers describes Malcolm as being a highly experienced personal injury practitioner with a strong focus on cases that involve brain injury. A client notes: "He is a very personable, sympathetic professional that has helped us as a family…" It is also said that Malcolm “was very good at keeping in touch and explaining everything to me”.
A market source praises Malcolm’s "clear and empathetic understanding of the individual client and family situation." One impressed client adds: "Malcolm Underhill has been superb from the outset. He has in-depth knowledge gained from extensive experience, which is certainly advantageous."
Chambers and Partners undertook research of clients and other professionals, leading to the following feedback:
“I found them great at leading me through the minefield of personal injury claims.”
“He [Malcolm Underhill] was very good at keeping in touch and explaining everything to me.”
“He [Simon Pimlott] has an empathetic manner which clients find it reassuring.”
One client wrote, “Simon Pimlott was outstanding, and he was my single point of contact throughout this complex process. He took time to explain every step and ensured all my questions were answered. Simon showed patience and understanding when it was required, while still being assertive to ensure we may progress, and everything was done correctly”.
We are members of Headway, the brain injury charity. Malcolm Underhill is also a trustee of a brain tumour and brain injury charity.
We have been fortunate to receive many kind words and thanks vulnerable model for helping our clients.
Contact our forceps injury claim solicitors
If you have had an unhappy forceps birth delivery or a traumatic forceps birth experience, where the forceps birth has gone wrong, please do contact us to speak with an experienced and specialist solicitor who can advise you on the prospects of making a successful claim for forceps delivery compensation, for you and your baby.
Call us for FREE advice on the possibility of making a successful claim.
Get in touch with our forceps birth injury claims solicitors to talk about how we can to help. Please phone us on 0333 123 9099, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill in our contact form.
We are able to support you, in making a claim to achieve the best possible outcome and will support you throughout your claim.