When Melissa Clements’ obstetrician told her he was going to use forceps because her delivery wasn’t progressing properly, he failed to tell her that the procedure could result in a disabling birth injury. He also didn’t offer her or her husband alternatives such as vacuum delivery or a cesarean section or stop the procedure when he had difficulty in performing it. Instead, he continued, and the use of the instrument caused significant damage to the child’s eyes. Melissa and her husband William have filed a lawsuit against Dr. George F. Craft seeking $3 million in damages for their son.
The birth injury, which resulted in William Greyson Clements being partially blinded, took place at Winchester Medical Center in Winchester, Virginia on December 1st, 2015. According to the filing, “Had Melissa Clements been [promptly] and appropriately informed of the risks and benefits of the available delivery options, she would have opted to proceed with a cesarean section. As a direct and proximate result of Dr. Craft’s failure to obtain informed consent as described above, Greyson suffered severe injuries, including facial and skull fractures, shoulder dystocia — an injury in which the baby’s shoulders get stuck inside the mother’s pelvis — subdural hematoma — blood on the brain — and permanent injury to his left eye.”
Lack of Informed Consent Cited in Birth Injury Lawsuit
The use of forceps during an infant’s birth carries a significant risk of birth injuries, including potential injuries to the eye, face, and skull. As a result, a physician is required to provide their patient with comprehensive information on these risks. During birth, it is also appropriate for the physician to provide their patient with the other options that would be available and suitable for the circumstances of their birth process. Dr. Craft did neither, and proceed to attempt the forceps delivery for a full 30 minutes before the baby was successfully delivered. The child needed immediate medical attention and was taken to Inova Fairfax Women’s Hospital in Falls Church, Virginia a few hours after his birth. Doctors there indicated that the injuries that the child suffered were a result of the use of forceps. Experts say that William will never have full sight in his left eye and has chronic trouble with his right eye. He is required to wear an eye patch.