Vacuum extraction describes the use of a vacuum-powered suction cup during birth to aid the movement of an infant through the vagina during delivery. Women in Texas might be asked to consent to this procedure when their physicians deem the labor to be prolonged or if continued labor could jeopardize the health of the mother or infant. This procedure must be done in a birthing center or hospital capable of providing cesarean sections if the emergency surgery becomes necessary. Although uncommon, injuries to the mother or infant can result from vacuum extraction.
During the procedure, women might suffer damage to their genital tract and perineum tissues, including tears. In the near term, injuries could interfere with urination. Some women experience urinary and fecal incontinence, which may resolve or persist depending on the extent of damage.
The vacuum cup attached to the infant's head could cause scalp wounds. The active pulling action during vacuum extraction also increases the risk of shoulder dystocia. In extreme cases, infants have their skulls fractured or suffer from bleeding inside the skull.
Most injuries to women and infants heal within a few weeks and do not produce long-term consequences. However, a person left with ongoing medical problems after a difficult birth might want legal representation if medical negligence played a role in what happened. An attorney could arrange for an independent examination of medical records to gain insights into the viability of a medical malpractice lawsuit. Evidence that medical providers failed to meet accepted standards could justify a financial claim for damages that resulted from birth injuries. An attorney could manage discussions with the medical provider's insurer and organize evidence to support a claim.