Birth Injury Caused by Vacuum Extraction

Vacuum extraction is an alternative technique used by medical professionals during childbirth when complications arise during a vaginal delivery. In cases where medical professionals utilize vacuum extraction, it is crucially important that the medical equipment used are handled by a trained professional in order to avoid serious complications to both the baby and the mother.

If a healthcare provider improperly performs a vacuum extraction it can result in serious birth injuries that have the potential to impact a child’s health throughout their entire life. If you suspect that your child was injured as a result of negligence during vacuum extraction, you may be able to seek compensation for their injuries. Contact us today so that we can help.

The Process

During a vacuum extraction procedure, the attending doctor places a plastic cup on the newborn’s head, which is then attached to a vacuum pump. The vacuum created by this equipment creates suction that assists the mother pushing the baby through the birth canal. In addition the attending medical staff will typically use forceps to assist in guiding the baby’s head during the process.


If used incorrectly any of the instruments utilized in a vacuum extraction procedure have the potential to inflict extensive and possibly critical harm to the newborn. Because of this, vacuum extraction procedures are highly regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, which has even gone as far as to issue several health advisories regarding the use of this technique because of the severe injuries that can be caused by inexperienced or improperly trained medical staff. The skulls of newborns are soft and malleable, which under normal circumstances aid in passing the baby through the pelvis. However, this also creates the possibility of severe head and brain trauma if medical staff do not act with the necessary amount of care during a birth. Some of the complications that can result from vacuum extraction procedures include:

  • Scalp and/or brain swelling/damage;
  • Bruising, subgaleal hematoma (bleeding between the skull and scalp);
  • Skull fractures and/or bone distortions;
  • Intracranial hemorrhage (bleeding around or in the brain);
  • Neonatal jaundice;
  • Seizures;
  • Strokes;
  • Cerebral palsy;
  • A variety of other injuries, all of which can lead to permanent medical issues, disabilities, or even death.

These injuries can be the result of incorrectly using the forceps and/or the suction cup of the vacuum extraction equipment in a variety of different ways. Commonly encountered examples often arise from the doctor twisting the forceps or pulling excessively hard, or the vacuum extraction procedure being ineffective but the doctor continuing with further attempts to utilize it. In these cases it is often far safer for both the mother and the baby for the doctor to instead deliver the baby through a caesarean section delivery.

Birth Injury Attorneys in Chicago, Illinois

If you or a loved one has been injured by the use of this technique, please call our Illinois birth injury lawyers at 312-332-2872 or 877-374-1417 to discuss your potential case with an experienced attorney, or complete our birth injury case intake form and someone from Levin & Perconti will follow-up with you shortly.