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Parents file wrongful death suit after doc crushes baby's skull

The use of forceps during delivery is a common source of controversy for obstetricians. Those devices are often used to guide babies from the birth canal during Maryland births, but they can also lead to devastating consequences. That is what one Texas family is alleging after the brain death of their newborn child; the couple, ages 24 and 25, plan to file a wrongful death suit against their obstetrician after he reportedly crushed their daughter's skull during delivery. The baby died just days after she was removed from life support in early January.

News reports indicate that the couple had requested a Cesarean procedure instead of a vaginal birth, based on the size of both mother and baby. The mom weighs just 95 pounds and is 4 feet, 11 inches tall; her child was a full 7 pounds, 14.9 ounces at birth. Instead of pursuing this more conservative medical option, the obstetrician reportedly insisted that the woman did not want to have a scar because of the Cesarean. As a consequence, the woman was forced to endure an extended labor that left her with a 103-degree fever and total exhaustion before the baby even reached the birth canal. The baby was also found to be face up, further complicating the birth process.

Instead of pursuing emergency surgery, the physician used forceps to forcibly grab the child from the woman's body. He was allegedly twisting and turning the baby in such a violent fashion that he ultimately crushed the little girl's skull; the father's mother described hearing the sickening noise, which resembled a clay pot being cracked. An emergency surgery was eventually pursued, but the child was too injured, and she died after suffering brain death.

Physicians say they understand the parents' concern, but they disagree that forceps should be outlawed entirely; in the proper hands, they can be useful tools for saving a baby's life. In this situation, however, the doctor clearly acted irresponsibly by inflicting such serious birth injury on the baby. Victims of medical malpractice, such as this family, may benefit from pursuing legal action against the doctors that caused them so much physical and emotional pain.

Source: ABC News, "Funeral Held for Baby Allegedly Killed in Forceps Delivery" Susan Donaldson James and Gillian Mohney, Jan. 05, 2014

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