In 2010, 32.8% of all deliveries were performed by cesarean section (1,209,182 total cesarean deliveries). A cesarean section, the removal of a baby from the uterus through surgical means, is often required to protect the health of the baby. Labor can be difficult on a baby, and there are many reasons why a baby might not get the blood and oxygen she needs in the hours before birth. If the baby is in distress, doctors must be prepared to quickly perform a cesarean section.
Birth Injuries Caused by Negligent Cesarean Section
- Lacerations/Cuts: typically, any lacerations are superficial and do not cause scarring. In rare cases, however, lacerations may be severe enough to require stitches, cause disfigurement, or even finger amputations or organ damage.
- Oxygen-Related Injuries: the most common cesarean section injury occurs when a cesarean section is performed too late. A child who is in distress because she is not receiving adequate oxygenation must be delivered soon. Otherwise, the lack of oxygen can cause developmental delays or cerebral palsy.
- Premature Birth Injuries: if the child’s due date was miscalculated, the child may be born with immature lungs or other injuries associated with prematurity.
- Wrongful Death : injuries during a cesarean section, if severe, can cause the death of the child.
Maternal Injuries Caused by Negligent Cesarean Section
The child is not the only one at risk during a cesarean section. Because it is a surgery, the mother may also be injured.
- Hemorrhage (excessive bleeding): the uterus receives 20% to 30% of the body’s blood when a woman is pregnant. When the uterus is cut, some of that blood will be lost. If the bleeding is uncontrolled, the physician may need to use medication to promote uterine contractions, which will help to limit the bleeding. If the cesarean section is improperly performed, an artery might be cut. That is a medical emergency which requires quick intervention and possibly blood transfusion. In some cases, a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) may be required to save the mother’s life.
- Infection: infection can be a problem after any surgery. The area to be cut should be properly cleaned before surgery. Antibiotics and proper wound care are important in the post-surgery period.
- Blood Clots: blood clots can break off and travel to the lungs, heart or brain. These clots are more likely to occur with a cesarean delivery. Doctors should recommend precautionary measures, such as walking within 24 hours of surgery.
- Bladder/Bowel Injuries: the bladder and bowel, located close to the uterus, are particularly susceptible to damage. The bladder may also be damaged when a catheter in incorrectly inserted or removed.
- Anesthesia Injuries: during a cesarean section, the doctors will typically provide general anesthesia or spinal anesthesia. Both carry risks, including low blood pressure, placental abruption, umbilical cord prolapse and placenta previa.
- Wrongful Death: in any of these situations, the mother may die if not properly and quickly treated.
If you or your child suffered a cesarean section injury during delivery, contact our medical malpractice lawyers at (855) 712-7818 or get a free consultation by filling out our online contact form. We regularly represent children who have developmental delays, cerebral palsy and other medical malpractice injuries.
For More Information
- National Vital Statistics Reports: 2010 Birth Data
- American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists (ACOG)
- Birth Injuries Caused by Delivery Trauma
- Birth Injuries Caused by Fetal Distress
- Medical Provider Negligence
Photo by http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cesarian_the_moment_of_birth_2.jpg