A cesarean section (or c-section) is the surgical delivery of a baby through an incision in the mother's belly and uterus. A c-section is a necessary option when the risk of natural birth is significant to either the baby or the mother.
In many cases, the obstetrician will fail to schedule a c-section even though it is the best course. More commonly, medical malpractice cases result from the failure to order an emergency c-section when a complication arises during the birthing process. There are many situations where the baby is in fetal distress, and there is a short window to prevent a tragic, irreversible brain injury. The safest path is often a c-section.When is a C-Section Warranted?
- The mother has a history of prior c-section
- The mother had an active infection like HIV or herpes
- There is placental abruption, placenta previa or other complications with the baby getting food and oxygen from the placenta
Again, there are malpractice lawsuits for failing to schedule a c-section. But the more common lawsuits are when a baby is deprived of oxygen and needs to be delivered immediately. When there is evidence fetal distress, fetal compromise, non-reassuring heart tones or a rupture of membranes, often the only reasonable path is a c-section. An OB-GYN must be able to perform an emergency C-section as soon as fetal distress is apparent. There can also be material considerations for an emergency c-section.
Often, the answers are in the fetal monitoring strips. The OB and the labor and delivery nurses should be looking for late decelerations, variable decelerations with a slow return to baseline, atypical variable decelerations, prolonged bradycardia, prolonged tachycardia, and other signs of fetal distress to determine whether the baby is in trouble and needs to get out quickly.
One dispute we have with defense lawyers is on the question of whether a mother who has already begun labor is at greater risk for C-section complication than a scheduled C-section. Defense lawyers claim the risks asscoiated with a C-section increase if labor has already begun. But there is no good science to support this theory.Slow Assembly of C-Section Team
Sometimes, a c-section is ordered at the appropriate time, but the c-section is delayed by a negligent health care providers or poorly designed system to order and execute an immediate c-section. Time is of the essence so there must be a timely assembly of the team. The rest of the baby's life hinges on speed. You do wheel the patient slowly down the hallway or do a five or a ten-minute prep. To give you some idea of the steps you need to skip when a baby is not getting oxygen, health care providers sometimes use prophylactic antibiotics and skip washing their hands just to get that extra 30 seconds. If you are taking 30 minutes to assemble that team, you are taking too long. A good hospital can get an emergency c-section in under four minutes, particularly if the mother already has an epidural.
- A delayed C-section lawsuit filed in January 2018
- Another delayed Caesarean-section lawsuit in January 2018
- Example failure to give C-section case against Hopkins in 2017
- Another failure to give C-section at St. Agnes in 2016
Another issue in c-section lawsuits is informed consent. Sometimes, reasonable minds can differ on whether a c-section is appropriate. So even when the standard of care does not require the OB to order a cesarean, the standard of care may require the physician to discuss with the patient the potential risks to the baby or the mother.Injuries That Result From Failure to Perform a Caesarean Section
- Cerebral Palsy
- Brachial Plexus Injuries (often from shoulder dystocia)
- Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (brain damage from lack of oxygen)
- Vital Organ Damages
- Erb's Palsy
The common thread in all of these cases? A baby deprived of oxygen.Getting a Lawyer for Your Malpractice Claim
If your child has suffered a birth injury and you believe the failure to order a timely c-section was the case, call Ron Miller or Laura Zois today. We can talk about your options and what we can do for you. We have a track record of success in wrongful death and catastrophic injury medical malpractice cases.
We can help you and your child obtain the compensation you need and deserve. Call Miller & Zois today and speak to our Maryland birth injury medical malpractice attorneys at 800-553-8082 or get an online case evaluation.