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Indianapolis Medical Malpractice Law Blog

What risk does a vacuum extraction pose during childbirth?

Expecting mothers in Indiana have numerous tools at their disposal to aid in a difficult labor. Sometimes, natural births are not possible or healthy for you or your child. In these situations, an alternate method may be proposed. Vacuum extraction is one possibility.

The Mayo Clinic describes vacuum extraction as a medical procedure in which a vacuum pump is applied to the baby's head during contractions. It's used to aid the mother in pushing and will help pull the child from the birth canal. This is usually done if no progress is being made during natural delivery or if health and safety reasons demand an immediate delivery.

2 common surgical mistakes patients should know about

Many people in the Indianapolis area place their trust in surgeons and health care staff without realizing they are human too. Health care professionals are prone to mistakes, especially in the operating room. In the medical world, surgical mistakes are referred to as never events. According to, never events are medical errors that should never occur that often have catastrophic consequences for patients. 

There are ways patients can lower the chances of them becoming medical malpractice victims. One involves learning the types of surgical mistakes that are most likely to occur during their procedures. 

Examining common medical mistakes that any doctor could make

When people in Indiana recognize a need to visit their doctor, they place a significant amount of trust in their health care provider's ability to correctly diagnose their condition and recommend a treatment option that is effective and safe. However, all doctors are prone to make mistakes, especially if they are fatigued, careless or not communicating effectively with their patients and colleagues. 

In a stunning report released by ABC News, approximately 251,454 people die every year in the United States as the result of medical errors. Many of these mistakes are preventable when doctors follow protocols and patients are well educated. 

Is your surgeon hiding a checkered past...or present?

When you go in for surgery, you literally put your life in the hands of your surgeon. You understand that every procedure comes with certain risks, but you probably don't expect those risks to come from a surgeon who fails to adhere to ethical and medical standards.

With as much reverence as people tend to give surgeons due to their skill and expertise (often rightly so), it can be easy to forget that they are flawed human beings like everyone else. They make mistakes during procedures and engage in behaviors in their personal lives that put patients in jeopardy. Considering this, it would be nice to know if your surgeon has ever received any complaints or disciplinary issues before you allow that surgeon to take a scalpel to your body.

Hospital faces wrongful death charges after actor's death

For many people in Indiana, looking for a trustworthy surgeon is not something they take lightly. Surgery, regardless of its severity, puts patients at risk and leaves them vulnerable to the actions of hospital staff and the lead surgeon. Unfortunately, there are times when outcomes do not follow as predicted or a professional's precarious decision making can create confusion. When these types of things happen, mistakes can occur which may ultimately affect the well-being and quality of life for the patient being operated on. 

In a recent wrongful death case that has made national headlines, famed actor Bill Paxton passed away following heart surgery. Initial autopsy reports showed that his cause of death was the result of a stroke, however, his family alleges that the surgeon and hospital staff acted negligently. They attribute some of the dangerous post-surgery complications the actor experienced to poor execution of surgical processes. The family believes that the surgeon lacked the necessary experience to perform the method of surgery required which put the actor's life at risk. They also claim that full-disclosure was absent in educating the actor and his family on the potentially threatening risks of the specific method of surgery being performed. While the hospital claims that patient safety is a primary concern, they are currently facing a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the actor's family who allege that his death was preventable. He is survived by his wife and two children. 

When should my doctor anticipate birth injuries?

With all the technology your doctor has available at the Indiana hospital where you plan to give birth, you have every reason to believe that the risk of birth injuries and complications is very low. According to Medscape, there are approximately six to eight significant birth injuries out of every 1,000 live births. Nearly half of birth traumas are actually avoidable. 

There are often signs that a birth injury is likely. If it is your first pregnancy, you should be monitored carefully for issues. A doctor should also watch for potential problems when factors such as the following are present:

  • Your pelvis is malformed or too small for your baby's head to move through
  • Your baby's head is not in the downward position when labor begins
  • There is not enough amniotic fluid
  • You have been in labor for too long
  • Your baby weighs over nine pounds or less than three pounds

Asking your doctor questions can keep you safer

Whether you are visiting the doctor for a routine checkup, or are inquiring about a treatment plan for uncomfortable symptoms, it is imperative that you play an active role in facilitating your health care needs. One of the most effective ways you can do this is to communicate with your doctor and discuss your concerns, questions and feelings about your future and treatment options. At Garau Germano PC, we understand the risks that patients face when seeking medical treatment in Indiana. 

As you take proactive steps to be involved in maintaining your health, one of the most important things you can do is to ask questions. However, sometimes it can be difficult to decipher just what questions to ask. According to U.S. News, there are several important questions that can encourage an informative discussion between yourself and your healthcare provider. Some of these questions include the following:

  • Have you treated other patients in the past who have experienced the same medical conditions as me?
  • Should I schedule a follow-up appointment to discuss improvements and progress?
  • Why will this medication help me?
  • What should I be doing between now and my next visit to expedite my recovery?
  • What do you think of the symptoms I have disclosed to you?

Are vacuum extractors safe to use during the birthing process?

If you are anticipating the birth of your first child, you may have already begun to investigate your options when it comes to birthing methods. While you may be familiar with cesarean births and vaginal deliveries, there are also other tools and methods that doctors may use to facilitate the birth of your baby and reduce the risk of you or your child experiencing distress. Something you may have heard of called a vacuum extractor, is one of these tools that may be used by your doctor in Indiana. 

Vacuum extractors can play a critical role in easing your birthing process and expediting parts of having your baby that could turn dangerous if they are prolonged. According to Healthline, a vacuum may be used for a couple of different reasons such as to avoid a cesarean section or to prevent you or your baby from suffering unnecessary stress and strain. When used properly, their side effects are relatively minimal and pose practically no danger to the health of you or your baby. However, if your doctor is inexperienced or uses a vacuum incorrectly or carelessly, your baby could suffer a number of preventable injuries including the following:

  • Retinal hemorrhage
  • Hematoma
  • Skull fracture
  • Bruising 
  • Jaundice

Medical errors that are both dangerous and preventable

When people go to the doctor in Indiana because they are experiencing discomfort or strange symptoms, their primary belief is that they will return home with medication and a treatment plan. More often than not, doctors are able to successfully treat their patients and provide them with the resources they need to heal and return to full health. However, there are circumstances when doctors do make mistakes. Often, these missteps are the result of confusion, fatigue and even blatant ignorance. 

The Washington Post reports that medical malpractice is alarmingly, the third cause of death in the United States each year. Edging out serious illnesses like strokes and Alzheimer's, medical mistakes cost 251,000 people their lives every year. Some believe that there is too high of a degree of tolerance and that far more stringent guidelines should be in place to protect patients from potentially life-threatening errors. 

Did you leave your last surgery with a little something extra?

Unless you're the recipient of an organ transplant or a pacemaker, you likely left the operating room expecting to have something repaired or removed. You probably didn't anticipate leaving with something extra and unsuspected. Yet for thousands of patients every year, this is the reality. Surgeons and their assistants fail to follow basic established protocols and carelessly leave foreign objects inside a patient's body following an operation.

Perhaps worse yet, many individuals don't even find out that their health care provider left a tool or surgical item inside them until it's too late and they begin experiencing serious negative consequences to their health. So if you or a loved one have an upcoming surgery in Indiana – or recently underwent an operation -- just how concerned should you be?