A baby may suffer a birth injury as a result of a doctor’s delay in performing a Cesarean section (C-section) or failing to perform a C-section when the well being of the mother and child are at stake. Many complications can be diagnosed during prenatal care and should lead a doctor to schedule a C-section. The doctor and obstetrical team should monitor the prenatal health of the mother and fetus to detect signs of distress or other potential complications. A doctor’s failure to perform a C-section in situations where it is medically necessary may constitute medical negligence if it results in harm to the mother or baby.
If you have questions about whether a doctor’s failure to perform a C-section caused a birth injury in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, turn to a compassionate birth injury attorney at The Colleran Firm. Our experienced legal team will analyze the medical records of your delivery to determine whether a doctor or other health care provider likely violated the recognized standard of care. If we believe that a doctor and obstetrical team member acted negligently, we will act on your behalf to hold the doctor accountable for the harm caused.
Doctors perform a Cesarean delivery when in their medical opinion a surgical procedure would be safer than a vaginal delivery for protecting the health of the mother and baby. A C-section is performed via an incision made in the mother’s abdomen.
Obstetricians often rely on a C-section delivery in higher risk deliveries such as when the labor is extended, when the fetus is in an abnormal position, when vaginal bleeding is excessive and if the mother has had more than one previous Cesarean delivery.
It is important for a prenatal doctor to monitor the fetus throughout pregnancy. Many C-section procedures are planned in advance based on risk factors that the doctor observes during the pregnancy and prenatal care. Doctors may plan a surgical delivery if a small mother is having a large baby or if the estimated fetus weight is 9 pounds or more. A doctor may determine that a C-section is needed if an ultrasound shows that the baby is in a breech position with feet first or rump first and attempts to re-position the baby are unsuccessful.
Women with high blood pressure have a higher risk of complications during delivery. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, may be an indicator that more serious complications are developing during a pregnancy. Pre-eclampsia is a complication characterized by high blood pressure and the presence of protein in the urine. Sudden weight gain and swelling in the hands and face may also be indicators of pre-eclampsia.
Pre-eclampsia, if not treated, may lead to serious and sometimes fatal complications for the mother and baby. The solution is to deliver the baby as soon as possible if the pregnancy is far enough advanced, according to the Mayo Clinic. Doctors often perform a C-section to deliver a baby after a diagnosis of pre-eclampsia.
Most women do not give birth on their due date. But if you are more than a week past your delivery date, the doctor may decide to use an electronic fetal monitor to track the baby’s heartbeat. If a fetus’s heart rate becomes slow or abnormal, it is an indicator of fetal stress. A C-section may be in order. An obstetrical team may confirm suspected fetal distress by using a fetal blood acid base study. An overdue baby that is more than two weeks late may complicate a vaginal delivery and prompt a C-section delivery.
The failure to perform a prompt C-section may cause injuries to the baby and in some cases cause fatal injuries to the mother and infant.
A baby may sustain a birth injury from being left in the birth canal too long if there are signs of fetal distress and a doctor fails to perform a C-section delivery .
A common birth complication is shoulder dystocia, which happens when the baby’s shoulders are too wide for the birth canal and become wedged behind the mother’s pubic bone. The baby must be removed quickly and force such as forceps may be used to extract the baby, increasing the risk of a birth injury.
After a difficult delivery, an infant may have Erb’s palsy, an injury caused by the use of forceps or vacuum devices to remove the infant from the birth canal. An Erb’s palsy birth injury can leave temporary or permanent weakness and loss of mobility in the hand, finger or arm.
The use of force during a vaginal delivery may cause Brachial plexus injuries. The brachial plexus is an array of nerve fibers that convey nerve signals to control movements in the hands, arms and shoulder. If a baby’s shoulders are too large for the birth canal and become trapped behind the pubic bone, the nerve fibers may be stretched or torn by the use of force during delivery.
A delay in performing a C-section during a difficult delivery may lead to excessive blood loss by the mother, causing potentially fatal complication. For example, problems with the placenta such as separation from the uterine wall before birth can cause dangerous bleeding and prevent the baby from getting enough oxygen without a timely c-section.
A woman who has a cesarean section may have the option if she has another baby of attempting to go through labor and have a natural childbirth. This is referred to as a vaginal birth after C-Section or VBAC. If you choose a VBAC, you will go through the same labor process as any woman, although your doctor and delivery team will monitor you and your baby more closely. Your doctor should be ready to perform a C-section if complications arise, such as an issue with the umbilical cord or placenta or the baby is in an abnormal position.
If you have questions about whether your baby sustained a preventable birth injury because of a doctor’s failure to perform a timely C-section, a conversation with a compassionate C-section birth injury lawyer is good first step to answering your questions. An analysis of your medical records by independent medical professionals may be the only way that you will find out the truth about what really happened.
If we find evidence that a doctor or health care provider in Pennsylvania or New Jersey caused a preventable birth injury, the medical malpractice attorneys at The Colleran Firm can help you seek the compensation you need for your baby’s medical care and your pain and suffering. Contact us for a free consultation with a Philadelphia C-section malpractice lawyer.