The medical malpractice attorneys at the Brannon Law Firm handle birth injury cases, including those involving Caesarean Section Injuries. If you or your child was harmed during childbirth and you underwent a Caesarean Section, there is a good possibility that it was caused by medical negligence or medical malpractice. It is in your best interests to seek out more information about Caesarean Sections if you suspect that medical malpractice or medical negligence may have been involved in the delivery process resulting in injury to you or your child. Information on what Caesarean Sections are and what it might mean for you and your child can be found below. Additionally, the medical malpractice attorneys at the Brannon Law Firm invite you to contact us, either at 937-228-2306 or 1-800-VERDICT or by contacting us online.
What is a Caesarean Section?
A Caesarean Section is a surgery performed to deliver an infant as an alternative to having a vaginal birth. A Caesarean Section may be performed for a variety of reasons. It may be recommended by a doctor due to potential foreseen issues with vaginal birth. It may be performed in an emergency when something goes wrong during childbirth. Or it may be elective, chosen by the mother for personal reasons.
Because Caesarean Section is a surgery, it follows many of normal surgery procedures. It does require anesthesia, though this may be achieved through general anesthesia or regional anesthesia such as spinal, epidural, or a combination of the two. An incision typically six inches in length is made through the lower abdomen of the mother. A second incision is then made in the uterus. The infant is delivered through these incisions. Then both are stitched close with sutures. The entire procedure typically takes about 45 minutes, thought more time may be necessary for preparation and post-surgery cleanup.
Caesarean Sections require extra precautions in both the performing of the surgery and in the recovery. The Caesarean surgery takes longer to recover from than vaginal births, though typically by six months, there is no difference between the two.
Reasons for a Caesarean Section
As mentioned above, there may be a number of reasons a Caesarean Section is performed in place of vaginal birth, often categorized as ‘Elective Caesareans’, ‘Scheduled Caesareans’, or ‘Emergency Caesareans’.
An Elective Caesarean Section is performed despite a lack of medical reasons. A mother may choose to have a Caesarean Section simply through preference. Generally speaking, this is discouraged by many health organizations. While Caesarean Sections have become safer throughout the years, they still pose a risk to both the mother and the child. Many health organizations seek to lower the number of elective Caesarean Sections performed, calling the practice unnecessary. Without a medical reason, it is generally agreed that a Caesarean Section poses no significant advantages over a vaginal birth.
A Scheduled Caesarean Section may be performed due to a recognized potential risk to a vaginal birth. In routine monitoring of the fetus and the mother, a doctor may recognize a situation that may make vaginal birth difficult, risky, or even potentially fatal. A Caesarean Section is then recommended and performed as a less risky alternative, avoiding those difficulties, and potentially preventing a threat to the lives of the mother or child.
Some potential complications that may cause a doctor to recommend a Caesarean Section include the following.
- Abnormal Presentation – Such as breech birth
- Large Size of Infant – Either in terms of weight or in terms of head, often being too large to fit through pelvis
- Excessive Weight of the Mother
- Umbilical Cord Abnormalities
- Risky Umbilical Cord Placement – Often around the infant’s neck
- Pre-Eclampsia – Disorder characterized by high blood pressure and excessive protein in urine
- Previous High Risk Delivery
- Complications in Previous Deliveries
- Previous Caesarean Sections
- Prior Issues of Healing After Childbirth – Particularly of the perineum
- Bicornuate Uterus – Abnormally shaped uterus
- HIV Infection of Mother
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases – Especially those able to be transferred to an infant during vaginal birth
Finally an Emergency Caesarean Sections may be performed due to an emergency which occurs during childbirth. During childbirth, complications may arise which cannot be resolved naturally or through other medical means. Thus, a Caesarean Section may be the only means to alleviate the complications. As some complications can be dangerous or have the potential for serious consequences, a timely and properly administered Caesarean Section can be lifesaving.
Some of the potential complications which may create the need for an Emergency Caesarian Section include the following.
- Prolonged Labor – Or failure to progress in labor
- Fetal Distress
- Umbilical Cord Prolapse
- Uterine Rupture
- Hypertension in Mother or Child
- High Heart Rate of Mother or Child
- Placental Issues
- Failure to Induce labor
- Failure of Assisted Delivery – Such as Forceps or Vacuum Extractor
Consequences of Caesarean Sections
Caesarean Section is a major abdominal surgery. Major surgery carries serious risk and has potentially serious consequences. These consequences can result in immediate problems to the mother, to the infant, or potentially to long term health issues of both that may affect them for the rest of their lives. Caesareans Sections also carry the risk of death.
Some of these consequences may occur during a routine Caesarean Section. Others may occur due to an improperly performed Caesarean Section or an error on the part of the doctor. Some consequences may be a result of delaying a Caesarean Section, especially in instances of an emergency, where delay may cause harm or even prove fatal.
Risks to the mother include the following.
- Surgical Error – Such as a cut to the bladder or bowel, or other injury to the mother
- Postoperative Adhesions
- Incisional Hernias – Which may require surgery to correct
- Severe Blood Loss – Potentially requiring blood transfusion
- Postdural-puncture Spinal Headaches
- General Pain
- Problems with Subsequent Pregnancies – Including getting pregnant again and subsequent childbirth
- Postnatal Depression
- Significant Trauma – Including birth-related post-traumatic stress disorder
Risks to the infant include the following.
- Physical Injury – Such as broken bones or lacerations through error or subsequent handling
- Wet Lung – Retention of fluid in lungs, usually dispelled by contractions during labor
- Death – Especially:
- Procedure Performed Before 39 weeks – Ties to higher mortality rates, especially respiratory death
- Miscalculation of Due Date in Scheduled Caesareans – Resulting in premature birth
Potential long-term health issues include the following.
- Brain Damage
- Cerebral Palsy
- Brachial Plexus Injuries
- Erb’s Palsy
- Various Developmental Disabilities
- Hypoxia Ischemic Encephalopathy
- Injury to Other Organs – Such as heart, kidneys, or lungs
Medical and Legal Significance of Caesarean Sections
There are several ways a Caesarean Section may raise implications of legal significance.
The first may occur when a Caesarean Section is not ordered or performed, and should have been. As mentioned above, there are particular risk factors that may make vaginal birth complicated or dangerous for either the mother or the infant. Doctors and medical professionals are trained to look for, recognize, and monitor these risks. When those risks are discovered, the doctor should discuss those risks with the mother and other medical professionals in order to discuss potential solutions. A Caesarean Section is one of those potential solutions, and has been known to be a lifesaving procedure when a possible consequence of those risks is death to either the mother or the infant. Failure to order or perform a Caesarean Section when it is indicated as a beneficial or necessary procedure may cause harm or injury that could have been prevented.
Injuries may also occur when a Caesarean Section is not performed in a timely fashion or performance is delayed. During childbirth, complications may arise that create a need for additional assistance in the delivery. These complications can present severe risks, including injury, health issues, or even death if they are not addressed quickly enough. A Caesarean Section is a possible solution to these complications. However, if this is the case, it must be performed quickly in order to prevent injury or further problems. It is the obligation of doctors and medical professionals to be aware of these possibilities, and to respond to complications in a timely and correct manner. Failure to timely perform a Caesarean delivery may cause harm or injury that otherwise could have been avoided.
Finally, improperly performing a Caesarean Section procedure may give rise to legal significance. A Caesarean Section is a major surgery, and there are procedures that must be followed in order to ensure it is performed safely and in the correct fashion. Doctors and medical professionals have an obligation to perform surgery safely and in the correct fashion. Failure to do so may expose the recipient of the surgery to harm or injury that otherwise might have been avoided.
Seeking Legal Counsel and Guidance
If you have experienced a Caesarean Section during childbirth which resulted in health issue or injuries to you or your child, medical malpractice or medical negligence may be the cause. The medical malpractice attorneys at the Brannon Law Firm have the skill and experience to discover whether you or your child’s health issues are a result of an improperly performed Caesarean Section. Medical malpractice and medical negligence is preventable. It is caused by the error, improper action, or lack of action by medical professionals. It is important to hold those medical professionals to the proper standards of care and to hold them accountable for the harm and damage they may cause. The Brannon Law Firm can help hold those at fault accountable.
Additionally, treatment for you or your child may be difficult, both financially and emotionally. The consequences of an improperly performed Caesarean Section can be numerous in possibilities and can be severe and long lasting, requiring years of medical treatment, loss of quality of life, and costly medical bills. It is important to ensure you have the assistance and care that you and your child deserve to live the best life possible. The Brannon Law Firm can help with that process.
At the Brannon Law Firm, we have represented many families and infants who were unfortunate victims of improperly performed Caesarean Sections. With our experience in handling medical malpractice cases, we have obtained favorable verdicts and settlements on behalf of clients. We invite you to contact us, either at 937-228-2306 or 1-800-VERDICT for a free consultation. The Brannon Law Firm is proud to serve clients in Dayton and throughout the State of Ohio.