Knowing When Improper Fundal Pressure During Labor is Medical Malpractice
While many women are able to birth their babies unassisted, some women may take longer than others to deliver. There are some methods that may aid in the delivery, or are believed to expedite the second stage of labor, which is the delivery of the baby. Sometimes, assisted delivery is required with the use of extraction tools, such as forceps or a vacuum extractor. This aids in removal of the baby from the mother’s birth canal if there is difficulty delivering the baby. Another example of a method that is commonly used to aid in delivery is the use of fundal pressure during labor. All of these methods carry a degree of risk, and the use of each of these things is controversial. If a mother or her baby are harmed during the use of any of these things and it is due to physician error or inappropriate use of such method, it is considered to be medical malpractice.
It is true that improper use of fundal pressure during labor could be medical malpractice. This occurs when an improper use is below the standard of care, or a deviation from the standard of care. That deviation which causes harm to a baby could be found to be negligent. When that negligence harms a baby, it is very serious because it can bring a lifetime of serious personal injury. This includes disability that could require specialized attention and care, including around-the-clock care. This is all because of a healthcare provider’s mistakes and errors in treating an innocent baby. Improper use of fundal pressure during labor is very serious and potentially dangerous or deadly.
What is a Fundus and What is Fundal Pressure?
A fundus refers to the top of a woman’s uterus. The use of fundal pressure refers to physical pressure (typically with two hands) on the top of the fundus or pushing in a downward motion at the top of the uterus with the goal of expediting the second stage of labor. Other times, a belt may be used to maintain the fundal pressure that has been applied. Another name for fundal pressure is gentle assisted delivery (GAD). This method is very commonly used in the second phase of labor.
Is the Use of Fundal Pressure Beneficial?
This method has recently been deemed controversial, as it is unclear if it actually aids in the acceleration of the second stage of labor. Therefore, some physicians and other healthcare providers choose to use this method, while others do not.
Risks of Fundal Pressure
As mentioned above, the use of fundal pressure if controversial, and actually has been tied to a number of complications. Examples of these complications include the following:
- Uterine Rupture – Uterine rupture occurs when there is a tear in the wall of the uterus. This is an incredibly dangerous complication, and when it occurs, an emergency c-section must be immediately performed as the baby is at great risk for oxygen deprivation
- Uterine Inversion – This is a relatively uncommon delivery complication that can occur with the use of fundal pressure. Uterine inversion refers to the mother’s uterus being turned inside out after the baby has been delivered. While not necessarily a risk to the baby, uterine inversion can cause maternal death due to shock and internal bleeding
- Perineal Lacerations – This occurs when there is a tear in the skin between the mother’s vagina and uterus. Tears can be mild (1st degree), to severe (4th degree)
Fundal Pressure in Medical Malpractice
As mentioned above, the use of fundal pressure if quite controversial and some physicians no longer use this method due to its risks and lack of evidence about it’s efficacy. If a provider chooses to use this method, and complications occur as a result, it is considered to be medical malpractice. The use of fundal pressure is often unneeded, especially given it’s lack of evidence of efficacy. Therefore, any complications that occur due to the use of fundal pressure should be investigated thoroughly to determine if medical malpractice has occurred.
Compensation for Improper Use of Fundal Pressure During Labor
Victims who are seriously injured due to improper use of fundal pressure during labor could recover compensation for damages. Under Oregon and Minnesota law, damages include compensation for the following:
- conscious pain and suffering
- medical bills
- home modifications
- vehicle modifications
- medication costs
- nursing care, including at-home or home nursing
- wrongful death damages, and
- Other costs to the baby.
In addition, the parents may be entitled to compensation for the following:
- lost wages
- lost earnings if there is the inability to work after the medical malpractice harming the baby, or if the mother was also injured
- inability to have future children if the mother suffers serious personal injuries that require a hysterectomy
- medical bills
- loss of consortium
- pain and suffering, and
- Other serious damages related to the care of the baby or to the harm suffered by the parents.
Improper Use of Fundal Pressure During Labor Could be Medical Malpractice
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or killed as a result of medical malpractice contact the Oregon Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Kuhlman Law at our number below or fill out the intake form. We offer a free initial case evaluation and handle cases on a contingency fee which means that you pay no money unless we recover.
Our law firm handles cases throughout the state including Bend and Portland Oregon, Redmond, Central Oregon, Sisters, Madras, Multnomah County, Deschutes County, Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, Lane County, Medford, Gresham, La Grande, Albany, Medford, Beaverton, Umatilla, Pendleton, Cottage Grove, Florence, Oregon City, Springfield, Keizer, Grants Pass, McMinnville, Tualatin, West Linn, Forest Grove, Wilsonville, Newberg, Roseburg, Lake Oswego, Klamath Falls, Happy Valley, Tigard, Ashland, Milwakie, Coos Bay, The Dalles, St. Helens, Sherwood, Central Point, Canby, Troutdale, Hermiston, Silverton, Hood River, Newport, Prineville, Astoria, Tillamook, Lincoln City, Hillsboro, and Vancouver, Washington.
We also have an office in Minneapolis, Minnesota and take medical malpractice cases throughout the Twin Cities, including St. Paul, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Dakota County, Washington County, Anoka County, Scott County, Blaine, Stillwater, and Saint Paul Minnesota.