Once you go into labour, you experience a whirlwind of emotion. The nine months of preparation and hopeful anticipation have led to this moment. You want everything to go smoothly. But sadly, even in the most routine of deliveries, a baby birth injury can happen.
Such was the case with Cecily Dantam, a mum from Tennessee, who says her baby was injured by an amniotic hook used by a midwife, who assisted during her delivery.
Baby birth injury: Midwife accidentally injures baby’s head trying to break mum’s water bag
Speaking to local news site WKRN Tennessee, Dantam recounts how “traumatizing” the birth was.
An artificial rupture of the amniotic sac, or amniotomy, is done to help induce labour. In Dantam’s case, the procedure was intended to “break her tough water bag.”
Breaking the water bag using a hook helps stimulate contractions, too. When done correctly, a small hole is made in the amniotic sac, causing water (amniotic fluid) to gush forth.
However, if a healthcare practitioner overestimates the toughness of the sac, they could injure the baby during labour.
“It was a nightmare,” she confides in an interview. “When I saw her head, my heart just dropped.”
Dantam’s baby girl suffered several cuts and scrapes on her scalp. | Screenshot: WKRN.com news video
The baby birth injury risks of an amniotomy
An amniotomy should be done carefully, using an amniotic hook. Two fingers must be placed inside the vagina to guide the hook. According to Medscape, a gloved index or middle finger is used to then guide the hook to pierce the sac gently.
The Dantams recall how the midwife in question was “scraping away with reckless abandon.” This makes it more likely that she did, in fact, injure their baby.
An amniotomy is done with care using a gloved finger and plastic or metal hook. |Image source: Medical Talks Facebook page
Fetal scalp trauma
In Dantam’s case, the midwife still kept scraping using the tool, thinking she was trying to pierce the amniotic sac. But it turned out to be the baby’s head.
“She spent five to 10 minutes digging with the hook and telling us it was the hardest water bag that she had ever felt,” Dantam’s husband Paul told WKRN.
Baby girl Lorelei’s dad Paul is still demanding answers two months later. | Screenshots: WKRN.com news video
When rupturing membranes or breaking a mum’s water bag, superficial abrasions have been known to happen. Is it malpractice? Some would say yes. But other healthcare practitioners would say it is a natural risk of the procedure.
Here are other possible complications of the procedure:
1. Cord prolapse
The most common complication is cord prolapse. This occurs when, during an amniotomy, the fluid escapes too quickly. When this happens, the umbilical cord exits the uterus before or at the same time as the baby.
2. Blood vessel rupture
During an amniotomy, fetal blood vessels that overlie the cervix (vasa previa) can be accidentally nicked or ruptured. This is a life-threatening complication that results in massive fetal blood loss. In both cord prolapse and blood vessel rupture, an emergency C-section is often required.
This complication is common in mums who had prolonged rupture of membranes. This is an infection caused by bacteria from the vagina entering the uterus. As a result, the amniotic fluid, placenta, or baby herself can suffer infection, like E. coli.
Two months after the baby birth injury, the family still seeks an apology
After delivery, baby Lorelei was rushed to the NICU due to low blood sugar, but the hospital didn’t address the cuts on her scalp.
As of this writing, two months after the incident, no apology has been made by the institution where Dantam delivered her second child.
“I just want an apology. I don’t want to have to pay for an injury that was done to my daughter by the hospital staff. That’s not right to me,” the mum of two explained to WKRN.
Dantam has two precious baby girls, both of whom are happy and healthy. | Screenshot: WKRN.com news video
Though Dantam has tried reaching out to the hospital, she has yet to get a response from them. Reports say she took to Facebook to warn other mums about how a baby birth injury can happen. The post appears to have been taken down.
Now, her baby girl Lorelei is happy and healthy. Thankfully, no lasting damage was caused by the birth injury.
We have reached out to Cecily Dantam to know more, so check back here for more updates.
Sources: WKRN.com, Stanford Children’s Health, ACOG, Medscape
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