What You Should Know about C-Section Injuries
Helping families move forward after surgery has cause permanent injuries
In 1965, the cesarean section (C-section) birth rate was first recorded to be 4.5 percent. During the intervening decades since then, that rate has increased by seven times. The American Journal of Public Health reports that C-section births now account for close to one third of all live births.
The substantial increase in the number of C-sections in the U.S. is attributed to the reduction of various types of birth injuries – specifically those involving assisted delivery (vacuums and forceps). However, controversy still exists about how often the procedure is performed, and if it is performed more than necessary, putting the health of babies and mothers at unnecessary risk.
The C-section explained
Over 1.3 million babies come into the world every year through a C-section procedure. A C-section involves surgical incisions of the abdominal wall and uterus in order to deliver the baby. The purpose of the procedure is to protect the health and safety of the mother or baby when either of their lives is at risk. Doctors will also perform the procedure at times when a patient makes the request, regardless of whether or not it is medically necessary.
Although C-sections are generally considered safe, they also carry elevated risks not associated with vaginal birth.
When C-sections are commonly used
Some of the reasons why a doctor may decide that a C-section is the best course of action to deliver the baby include:
- The mother has had previous C-sections
- Labor progress has stalled
- The mother’s weight may put at risk the baby’s safety during delivery
- The infant is in distress inside the womb
- Uterine ruptures
- The baby is too large to move safely through the birth canal
- The mother is delivering twins or multiples
- Umbilical cord prolapse
- The baby is in the breech position
- The fetus has a diagnosed birth defect
- The age of the mother inhibits delivery of the baby through the birth canal
- Gestational diabetes
- Problems with the placenta which block the cervical opening
- Active genital herpes
Potential C-section birth complications
A C-section procedure, as with any other type of surgery, carries with it certain complications. Some of the most common types of C-section complications include:
Lacerations of the fetus
These involve cuts, scrapes, or other similar types of injuries occurring during the procedure. They are often attributed to the failure of healthcare professionals to properly perform the procedure. The results of these lacerations can be relatively minor and heal up quickly, or they may prove more severe, resulting in permanent scars, or serious conditions such as bone fractures, cervical cord injuries, Klumpke’s palsy, or Erb’s palsy.
It is extremely important for doctors to properly clean and disinfect the area of the C-section surgery after delivery. The mother is susceptible to contracting various infections if the surgical area is not properly disinfected – these include endometritis, streptococcus, and intra-amniotic infection.
Infant breathing problems
Babies delivered through C-section have a greater likelihood of experiencing breathing difficulties. Without proper monitoring, the child may suffer from long-term respiratory distress, among other health issues.
C-sections are similar to other types of surgeries in that the mother is provided with medication to relieve her of the pain associated with the incision. Often this medication is delivered in the form of general anesthesia or through injection into the spine. Health problems can occur when the anesthesiologist fails to review the medical history of the mother for allergies or administer an incorrect dosage of the medication. Other potential problems include internal bleeding, blood clotting, placental abruption, and dangerously low blood pressure.
The mother can suffer from a dangerous loss of blood during a C-section in the form of hemorrhaging if maternal bleeding is not kept under control. If the bleeding becomes excessive, a blood transfusion may become necessary to save the mother’s life
The mother faces an elevated risk of blood clots after undergoing a C-section. It is vital that medical professionals monitor the mother and allow her to exercise by walking within 24 hours of the surgery. This can help prevent blood clots from developing and moving toward critical organs such as the lungs, heart, and brain.
Surgical damage to the mother
Although cases of doctors performing C-sections without proper caution or in a reckless manner are rare, they do occur. The results can be life-threatening to the mother and baby. The mother may suffer damage to one or more of her nearby organs. Incurring one of these types of injuries may be cause for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Delaying a necessary C-section
Although potential dangers do exist when an unnecessary C-section is performed, failure to perform the procedure in a timely manner when obvious warning signs are present can result in serious injuries to the mother and baby.
A delayed C-section may be due to the failure of healthcare providers to properly monitor mother and her baby for signs of fetal distress.
The consequences of a delayed C-section can include:
- Physical injuries
- Lack of oxygen to the infant resulting in potential brain damage, autism, or cerebral palsy
- Long-term delays in the baby’s development
During the weeks and days that proceed the mother’s due date, doctors have a responsibility to closely monitor both the mother and the baby to determine whether a C-section may be required. Failure to properly plan for this eventuality may result in serious injury to the mother or child and be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Learn more about pre-natal risks to you, the mother of your child, or your baby
|Cephalopelvic Disproportion||Placental Abruption|
|Diabetes and Pregnancy||Rh Incompatibility|
|Maternal Infections||Post-Partum Hemorrhage|
|Group B Strep||Pulmonary Embolism|
|High Blood Pressure||Uterine Rupture|
Contact an experienced C-section birth injury lawyer
Our attorneys at Crandall & Pera Law understand the devastation a mother and her entire family can experience when a birth injury occurs. If your baby was injured through a C-section or because of a delayed C-section, we are here to be your strong advocate to help you obtain the compensation you and your family deserve for your losses – both financial and emotional. To set up a free consultation at one of our convenient office locations in Kentucky or Ohio, call us today at 877.955.0020 or complete our contact form.