Medical malpractice birth injury cases often arise out of the failure to give the mother a C-section when the health of the mother or the child demand this path to delivery. This failure to take the safest path to delivery results preventable, tragic, severe, and permanent neurological injuries to newborns.
Miller & Zois has page on failure to perform Caesarean section lawsuits. There are more detailed questions many parents have that are not covered on that page. Many of these questions are about the deeper nuts and bolts of how these cases work. We try to answer many of your possible questions
In what kind of cases are C-sections necessary?
There is a wide spectrum of reasons why a C-section might be necessary. The baby may get into trouble or the labor may stop. The baby cannot be too large. The baby may be in what be in a malpresentation which is not coming down head first. There are also infection and bleeding issues that would warrant a C-section.
So when there are indications of dystocia, disproportion of the child and the mother’s pelvis, uterine tumor obstructions, or breech or transverse presentation of the baby, cesarean sections will often be performed, because a vaginal delivery may be dangerous and difficult, or even impossible.
It is important to always keep in mind that the biggest issue in childbirth is making sure the baby has the oxygen it needs. Many birth injury cases involve health care providers that should have seen signs of a concern with the child getting oxygen and doing little or nothing about it.
How does a judge or jury decide whether there should have been a C-section?
The question in every failure to give a C-section case is whether the the standard of care required a call for a cesarean section when the plaintiff argues the doctor should have performed one. This question is answered by expert testimony during the trial. The experts give a retrospective analysis of the fetal monitor strips and other medical records to draw their conclusions. Usually, the experts disagree with the other side’s experts on the critical issues. A judge or jury decides which version of the evidence is the most likely correct in each childbirth case.
What do medical experts look at when reviewing these cases?
After we have collected all of the records, we send them to an expert. The critical question is whether the doctor or nurse has breached the applicable standard of care. Said different, the issue is whether the health care provider did something or failed to do what a reasonable doctor should. In considering this issue, the doctors will consider the standards of for obstetrics set by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Nurses Association of the ACOG. These standards are good but sometimes misleading because legal liability is clearly an issue to the authors who sometimes massage the language to help healthcare providers who are being sued for medical malpractice. It is also clear that ACOG is setting minimum standards that are below what some doctors and even hospital protocols believe is required.
Should the mother have a say in whether a Cesarean is performed?
Absolutely. Many birth injury malpractice cases are premised on this issue. Doctors should give patients and choice where there are choices to be made as to which direction the care should go. So if a reasonable mother would have considered a C-section, it is incumbent upon the doctor to give her that option. Failure to do so can lead to an informed consent case against the doctor.
Are plaintiffs’ lawyers arguing that C-sections should always be performed for childbirth in this day and age?
We cannot speak for all plaintiffs’ birth injury lawyers. At Miller & Zois, our attorneys are not advocating Cesarean sections supplant vaginal delivery as the primary means of delivery. Vaginal birth is preferred in most cases because there are risks — mostly for the mother — with C-sections. It is a significant surgery that requires a longer hospital stay an elevated risk of infections. But there is no doubt that some deliveries demand a c-section and the failure to give one is medical malpractice.
While vaginal birth is preferred, the first of all, the risk of a cesarean section, are also overblown by defense lawyers who act as though it is not the routine surgery that it is.
How are hospitals liable and why does it matter if the hospital is liable of the doctor is found to have committed malpractice?
If the doctor is not an employee of the hospital, the insurance policy might be limited. So a finding that the hospital was also responsible can be a game changer. Often hospital liability is Cesarean cases involve either a negligent nurse or a hospital that made systemic errors that a hospital should not make. One example is not having the facility for an emergency. The OCOG standards we talked about above require “cesarean delivery should be performed in the obstetrical unit. Each delivery room should be maintained as a separate unit that has the equipment and supplies necessary for normal delivery, even for the management of complications.” If the mother is being taken to the OR for a C-section, that is a real problem.
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, Rod Gaston or Laura Zois today. We can talk about your legal options and tell you what you can do. We have a track record of success in wrongful death and catastrophic injury medical malpractice cases. We may be able to help you and you’re your child the financial help you need and deserve to deal with the preposterous costs of raising your child and the costs associated with his care for the rest of his or her life. Call Miller & Zois today and speak to our Maryland birth injury medical malpractice attorneys at 800-553-8082 or get an online case evaluation.