Over the past few years, horror stories related to forceps delivery floated around the news. It comes as no surprise then that women in New York may fear ever needing one to deliver their baby. According to Mayo Clinic, as a type of assisted vaginal delivery, it sometimes becomes necessary if the labor does not progress smoothly. Doctors may also recommend forceps delivery if the baby’s safety requires an immediate delivery.
The process involves using an instrument resembling salad tongs to help guide the baby through the birth canal. Even though there are instances where forceps delivery may seem like the safest available option to protect a newborn, it does involve risks. In the event that a forceps delivery fails, then doctors may recommend a caesarian section instead.
ABC News shares the story of one family in Texas where forceps delivery may have gone horribly wrong. The parents alleged that the hospital’s use of forceps crushed the skull of their baby and led to brain death. The couple say they heard the popping sound of their daughter’s skull fracturing beneath the force of the forceps. The baby died five days later.
Prior to the delivery, the couple reportedly made repeated attempts to convince their obstetrician to perform a caesarian section. He allegedly refused, citing possible scarring as his reason. On the day of delivery, the couple says the doctor used the forceps to try to urge the baby down the canal, but that he did so aggressively and ultimately failed. He then performed a caesarian section. The couple has since called for an end to the use of forceps in the delivery room.
One obstetrician in the article pointed out that forceps deliveries occur less compared to vacuum extraction, but that sometimes doctors may not have a choice. Even so, the doctor acknowledged that skull fracture was a well-known risk of using forceps in assisted births.