Cesarean Section Errors and Failure to Perform: Know Your Legal Options

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, Cesarean Section Errors and Failure to Perform: Know Your Legal Options

What is a Cesarean Section?

A Cesarean section, or “C-section,” is a major surgical procedure where a physician makes a surgical incision through the mother’s abdomen and uterine wall in order to deliver a baby. These operations do not come without risk. As with any other major surgery, there is a risk of bleeding, internal organ damage and infection.

In addition to medical complications that could affect the mother, there are possible complications for the baby as well, including: lacerated bowels, nerve damage, blood clots or lung and heart complications. Some of these complications can result in a lifetime of medical issues — or even death.

Some C-sections can be difficult to perform, and mistakes can be made; but some mistakes are preventable. How do you know if the complications you or your baby received after a C-Section delivery amount to medical negligence? How do you know if you can sue for damages?

When it comes to C-section malpractice claims, there are three main types: failure to perform a C-section, performing a C-section too late, and performing a C-section improperly.

Failure to Perform a C-Section

There are certain times when a C-section is the preferred medical procedure over natural delivery.

  • One of those times is when the baby is under distress. Some common reasons for fetal distress is when the fetus has an irregular heartbeat, fluctuating blood pressure or is entangled in the umbilical cord.
  • As OB/GNY physicians monitor the course of your pregnancy, they should be looking for certain situations that would require a C-section. Conditions such as pre-eclampsia/eclampsia, placenta previa and placenta abruptio are all conditions that require a C-section.
  • Any number of other issues — multiples, a prior C-section, breech or transverse presentation (meaning the fetus is not in the normal position) — can make a C-section the appropriate method of delivery.
  • Active herpes or other STDs in the mother makes a C-section the appropriate method of delivery.

If an OB/GYN has missed these complications and proceeds with natural childbirth, he or she has likely violated the standard of care and committed medical malpractice.

Untimely C-Section

When the unborn child is experiencing fetal distress, and a C-section is not performed in a timely manner, the consequences can be serious. If the mother and child have unnecessarily suffered from extended labor or long periods of fetal distress before the doctor performed a C-section, and the mother or child is injured, this can result in medical malpractice claims.

C- Section Surgery Medical Mistakes

Even if an OB/GYN determines a C-section is necessary and does so in a timely manner, the doctor has a legal and medical duty to perform the procedure in a non-negligent fashion. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Some common types of botched C-section surgery include lacerated internal organs for the mother or child, broken bones, oxygen deprivation and improper wound closure resulting in infection or sepsis. These conditions, in most situations, do not happen without some type of error made by the OB/GYN performing the procedure.

Do You Need a Medical Malpractice Attorney?

C-section surgery comprises nearly 20% of births in the United States, and that number is growing. The more the procedure is performed, the more chance of medical mistakes being made that can cause injuries to mothers and children. If you or your child were injured during a C-section delivery, contact a medical malpractice attorney at Wolf & Pravato to discuss the situation and preserve any legal rights you may have.

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