A cesarean section, or c-section, is a method of child delivery that is performed by extracting the baby from the mother’s body through an incision in the abdomen. During c-section surgery, medical professionals must cut through the skin and layers of fat and into the womb to safely delivery the baby. Although c-sections are very common, the procedure poses injury risks for both the mother and the baby.
Why Are C-Sections Performed?
C-sections are performed when the risks of delivering the baby vaginally are thought to outweigh the risks of delivering the baby through cesarean delivery. C-sections are often scheduled in advance due to possible complications that are noticed during prenatal examinations. In some cases, however, emergency c-sections are performed after there are complications with vaginal delivery. Emergency c-sections tend to be riskier than planned c-sections.
Physicians may order c-section deliveries for a myriad of reasons, including:
- Umbilical cord is wrapped around the baby’s neck
- Signs of fetal distress are noticed
- Mother has medical conditions that prevent vaginal delivery
- Baby is too large to fit through the birth canal
- Birth canal is irregularly shaped or scarred
- Abnormal birth presentation cannot be corrected in time
- Placenta covers the opening to the birth canal
- Umbilical cord comes through birth canal before baby during vaginal delivery
- Multiple pregnancy
Increase in C-Section Injuries
In the United States, about one in three mothers give birth by c-section, which is about three times the rate that is recommended by the World Health Organization. The rate of c-section deliveries in the United States has risen relatively steadily since the 1965 rate of 4.5 percent, when the first measure of c-section deliveries was taken. This spike is attributed to greater numbers of mothers asking for the procedure, a higher rate of risk factors making the procedure necessary, and an increase in child birth injury litigation for not ordering timely c-sections. With the increasing number of c-section deliveries, the number of c-section injuries has increased substantially.
Unanticipated complications during c-sections may cause injury to the mother or child. If bleeding at the site of the incision is severe, the mother may be at risk of death or injury from excessive blood loss. If the surgeon makes a medical error or the baby unexpectedly moves when the surgeon is making the incision or delivering the baby, the fetus may sustain injuries such as lacerations, bruises, or other trauma.
Types of C-Section Injuries
During the procedure, the surgeon may cause c-section injuries such as punctures or damage to organs or the urinary tract. After the procedure, the mother may be at risk for infection of the bladder or uterus if proper procedures were not followed to prevent infections. The mother may also be at risk for adhesions, which occur when scarring causes organs to stick together.
Fetus C-Section injuries
The fetus is at risk for many different types of injuries during a c-section because of the intrusion of medical tools and equipment into the small area of the womb. If the incision is not properly placed, the fetus may sustain injuries to any part of the body that comes in contact with the instruments. This puts the infant at risk for brachial plexus injuries, facial disfigurements, eye injuries, and many other types of injuries ranging from mild and temporary to permanent and severe.
C-Section Injury Causes
Some c-section injuries are unavoidable, especially when the c-section is ordered in an emergency situation to save the mother or infant’s life. However, medical professionals are expected to be alert for complications during deliveries and to respond to situations quickly and correctly. If it is suspected that a physician could have prevented c-section injuries but failed to act in an appropriate manner, it may be considered malpractice.
C-Section Injury Lawsuit
When a mother or child’s life is altered by c-section injuries that could have been prevented, the family may be entitled to compensation. An experienced malpractice attorney can help families determine whether c-section injuries are the result of malpractice. An attorney can also help families take the steps necessary to recover due compensation for c-section injuries.
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